Avatar 2 is finally, officially, completely finished ahead of its release in cinemas very, VERY soon, so we'll soon know what The Way of Water means.
Producer Jon Landau confirmed the exciting news in late November, less than a month ahead of its release. It's been a 13-year wait for fans, but the time has almost come to return to Pandora.
Cameron's plan has been for the sequel to kickstart a run of movies every other year until Avatar 5 in December 2028. However, he's revealed that if The Way of Water underperforms, there is a plan to end it with Avatar 3.
But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves just yet, here's everything you need to know about Avatar: The Way of Water.
Avatar 2 release date: When will Avatar The Way of Water be out in cinemas?
To cut a long story short, Avatar 2 is finally going to be released on December 16, 2022, having been pushed back from December 2021 due to the ongoing global health crisis.
The sequel started filming in 2017, but given the movie is a mix of live-action and motion capture elements, it's not a surprise it's taken a while.
We also know that the movie will be an epic with a runtime of 190 minutes, that's three hours and ten minutes. Cameron has defended the runtime by saying that it's necessary as there's "more characters to service".
Given that we've potentially got three other movies to come, Cameron has been working on all of them in recent years. In December 2021, he revealed he'd already filmed some of Avatar 4 due to the young cast.
"Anything that had to be done with a specific actor, we did all the scenes for 2 and 3 together – and a little bit of 4," he told Variety.
"I had to shoot the kids out. They're allowed to age six years in the middle of the story on page 25 of movie four. So I needed everything before then, and then everything after, we'll do later."
Cameron has also said that he might not actually direct Avatar 4 and 5, but teased that the fourth movie is a "corker". "I actually hope I get to make it. But it depends on market forces. Three is in the can so it's coming out regardless," he told Empire.
"I really hope that we get to make four and five because it's one big story, ultimately."
It certainly seems like the excitement is there for Avatar 2 as the sequel is set to double the US opening of the first movie, potentially with a debut around $150 million to $175 million in the US alone.
Avatar 2 trailer: Watch the Avatar The Way of Water trailer here!
The teaser trailer for Avatar: The Way of Water was premiered at CinemaCon and was released exclusively in cinemas with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness before being released online in May.
You can check it out again below:
At the Digiday event, more footage was shown to lucky guests, one of whom was filmmaker Liam O'Donnell who said the movie "appears to be the most insanely complicated movie ever made. Holy shit. James Cameron's Digital Day keynote just broke [my] brain".
We had to wait until November for the main trailer to arrive, revealing more of the sequel's plot and a potential war brewing in Pandora.
Check it out below:
Avatar 2 title: Say hello to Avatar The Way of Water
As mentioned above, Avatar 2 is now officially called Avatar: The Way of Water.
Interestingly, way back in November 2018, BBC News reported that the four planned Avatar sequels will be called Avatar: The Way of Water, Avatar: The Seed Bearer, Avatar: The Tulkun Rider and Avatar: The Quest for Eywa.
Cameron later confirmed these are potential titles and since the first one proved to be true, perhaps these will be the titles of the following three movies too.
Avatar 2 cast: Who's back in Avatar The Way of Water?
Zoe Saldaña will reprise the role of the Na'vi princess Neytiri, with Sam Worthington also returning as the human-turned-Na'vi, Jake Sully.
Stephen Lang is back as the dead Colonel Miles Quaritch and he's going to be the main villain of the four movies. Lang confirmed a fan theory as to his return in July 2022, saying that Quaritch is now "bigger, he's bluer, he's pissed off".
Sigourney Weaver will also be back as Na'vi teenager Kiri, the adoptive daughter of Neytiri and Jake in the sequel.
Kate Winslet is playing the role of Ronal in all the Avatar sequels, marking hers and James Cameron's first collaboration since the 1997 blockbuster Titanic. Ronal is the "deeply loyal and fearless" co-leader of the Metkayina clan.
CCH Pounder will also reprise her role Neytiri's mum Mo'at and Matt Gerald is back as Corporal Lyle Wainfleet, while Edie Falco (The Sopranos, Nurse Jackie) is playing the new character General Ardmore.
The sequel will introduce a new Na'vi clan called the Metkayina, led by Fear the Walking Dead's Cliff Curtis as Tonowari and also featuring the likes of Bailey Bass's Reya and Duane Evans Jr's Rotxo.
Jake and Neytiri have Na'vi children in the sequel too, including Jamie Flatters's Neteyam, Britain Dalton's Lo'ak and Trinity Bliss's Tuktirey. They have also adopted a human child Miles Socorro, aka Spider, who is played by Jack Champion.
It looked like Fast & Furious star Vin Diesel would appear in the sequel too, but it seems he might be one for the third movie instead.
Jemaine Clement definitely is in the sequel as marine biologist Dr Ian Garvin though, described by Cameron as "one of my favourite characters".
There was some initial confusion about the inclusion of Harry Potter's David Thewlis to the sequel. It turns out he'll be in Avatar 3 (and 4 and 5) but not the second film. Phew!
Avatar 2 plot: What will Avatar The Way of Water be about?
Along with the title announcement, we got the first official synopsis which confirmed much of what we already suspected.
It reads: "Jake Sully lives with his newfound family formed on the planet of Pandora. Once a familiar threat returns to finish what was previously started, Jake must work with Neytiri and the army of the Na'vi race to protect their planet."
We also know that even though there are set to be three sequels after this one, each movie will be a stand-alone story with Landau saying that "the journey across all four movies will create a connected saga".
Into the mix will be the return of the RDA mining operation to Pandora, forcing Jake to take his family to the "perceived safe harbour" at the reef where they meet the Metkayina. To really capture the importance of water, Avatar 2 filmed its motion-capture scenes underwater.
We also know there's been a bespoke sign language created for the movie by Baby Driver's CJ Jones, a deaf actor who's been hired to create a "new Na'vi sign language".
Avatar 2 delays: Why has it taken so long?
If you want the full story of the sequel's long and drawn-out journey to the screen, here goes.
Filming was meant to start on Avatar 2 in April 2016, but April came and went, and filming never began. In January the following year, it was announced that work on the motion-capture element of the film would start by August 2017, but it actually began in September.
The announcement of a fourth Avatar movie pushed the whole lot back, and then they were all pushed back again, with Avatar 2 planned for December 2017 (and the rest set for 2018 and 2019 presumably). Cameron blamed the "very involved" writing process for the delays.
The sequel was then set for a December 2020 release before Disney shifted it again to December 2021 post-Fox takeover, which brings us up to present and the COVID-related delays that impacted the industry as a whole.
Cameron told The New York Times: "I was a little concerned that I had stretched the tether too far, in our fast-paced, modern world, with Avatar 2 coming in 12 years later. Right until we dropped the teaser trailer, and we got 148 million views in 24 hours."
Whether this translates to butts in seats, however, is the eternal question.
Avatar: The Way of Water is out in cinemas on December 16. You can watch Avatar right now on Disney+.
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