When will Avatar 3 be released? Everything we know

Ready to return to Pandora… again?

A scene from Avatar: The Way of Water
Avatar 3 will be released in December 2025. (20th Century Studios)

We may have only just emerged from our last visit to James Cameron’s vibrant alien world of Pandora but he’s already booked us in for a return trip, with Avatar 3 on the horizon.

Actually, we’d be lying if we told you it was just the one excursion. In reality, Cameron has pencilled in three more trips to Pandora in total, making his blue-hued franchise a quintuple adventure that’ll take us all the way up to 2031.

Read more: How much does Avatar: The Way of Water need to make to break even?

First things first though (or should that be third film first?), with Avatar 3 next up, here’s everything we know about where Cameron’s next Na’vi quest will take us, including plot details, cast information and more.

Jake Sully and Neteyam in Avatar: The Way of Water
Avatar: The Way of Water was a huge box-office success for James Cameron. (20th Century Studios)

Originally, we didn’t have that long to wait to explore Avatar 3, especially considering the mammoth wait we all had to endure between 2009’s Avatar and 2022’s follow-up The Way of Water.

The film was initially slated to hit cinemas on 20 December 2024. But in following a release-date shuffle unveiled in June 2023, Cameron’s threequel was pushed by a year to 19 December 2025.

Explaining the reason for the delay, producer Jon Landau tweeted: “Each Avatar film is an exciting but epic undertaking that takes time to bring to the quality level we as filmmakers strive for and audiences have come to expect.”

Avatar 3 entered production in September 2017 alongside Avatar: The Way of Water, with sequences shot in California and in New Zealand, the same location used by Peter Jackson’s epic Lord of the Rings trilogy.

In January 2024, star Sam Worthington revealed that filming was not finished yet and would resume in February. “We go back to work on it in a month and it’s big. It’s bigger than you can imagine,” he told People magazine.

As per a story published by the BBC in 2018, the blockbuster had the working title of Avatar: The Seed Bearer. However, this title has not been confirmed by either Cameron or Landau. As of writing, the film is still currently known as simply Avatar 3.

Jake Sully, Ronal, and Tonowari in Avatar: The Way of Water
Jake Sully, Ronal, and Tonowari in Avatar: The Way of Water. (20th Century Studios)

We don’t currently know too much about the plot of Avatar 3. Considering the events of The Way of Water, we can assume it will once more follow Sully and his family as they battle the now-Na’vi-shaped humans who are hellbent on mining and destroying their lush home of Pandora.

Another given is that Cameron will most likely continue to raise the bar in terms of visual effects whilst exploring a new area — or biome — of his colourful made-up planet. While part two took us deep under the waves to explore the watery depths of Pandora, part three promises to introduce us to a new volcanic tribe of Na’avi who are more aggressive than those we’ve seen previously.

Cameron shed more light on this new addition during a chat with French outlet 20 Minutes: “Fire will be represented by the Ash People. I want to show the Na’vi from another angle because, so far, I have only shown their good sides,” he explained.

“In the early films, there are very negative human examples and very positive Na’vi examples. In Avatar 3, we will do the opposite. We will also explore new worlds, while continuing the story of the main characters. I can say that the last parts will be the best.

“The others were an introduction, a way to set the table before serving the meal.”

Sigourney Weaver in Avatar: The Way of Water
Cameron has said Avatar 3 will explore new worlds. (20th Century Studios)

In a separate interview with GQ, Cameron explained the big creative advance in Avatar 3 “is just going to be greater character depth,” explained the director.

“We’re seeing new cultures, new creatures — all the same stuff you’d expect from an ‘Avatar’ movie, but the whole idea of this cycle of films is to live with these people and go on this epic journey with them. So I think it’s not about, ‘We’re going to show you the best water [VFX] ever done’ — but you get more into the heart and soul of the characters. And there’s some very interesting new characters that come in as well.

“This is a journey over time. It will play out through movie three, into movie four and movie five. There’s an epic cycle to the whole thing.”

Quaritch in Avatar: The Way of Water
Many familiar faces are expected to return for Avatar 3. (20th Century Studios)

According to official cast listings, many of the same faces that appeared in The Way of Water will return for Avatar 3. That means Worthington’s Jake Sully, Zoe Saldaña’s Neytiri, Sigourney Weaver’s new character Kiri, Jack Champion’s Spider and Sully and Neytiri’s kids, Lo’ak played by Britain Dalton and Tuk played by Trinity Jo-Li Bliss will all be back.

Also returning is Stephen Lang’s baddie Colonel Miles Quaritch and Matt Geralt’s Corporal Lyle Wainfleet. Giovani Ribisi’s Parker Selfridge is back after a brief appearance in part two, alongside Kate Winslet’s Ronal, Jemaine Clement’s Dr. Ian Garvin and Edie Falco’s General Frances Ardmore.

Joel David Moore’s Dr. Norm Spellman and Dileep Rao’s Dr. Max Patel will be back too, with a host of newcomers who will be entering Pandora for the first time.

Among these new entries is Harry Potter star David Thewlis who will play Na’vi Peylak in parts three, four and five, Everything Everywhere All at Once star Michelle Yeoh as scientist Dr. Karina Mogue and Game of Thrones’ actor Oona Chaplin as ‘Ash People’ Na’vi clan leader and Avatar 3 villain, Varang.

Currently, there is no trailer available for Avatar 3. However, with production wrapped and its release date slowly creeping closer, it’s surely only a matter of time before Cameron teases some sure-to-be eye-popping new footage.

Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington as Neytiri and Jake Sully in Avatar: The Way of Water
According to Cameron, Avatar 4 will have a time-jump. (20th Century Studios)

In an interview in December 2022, producer Landau announced sections Avatar 4 had already been filmed. “We went out and we shot all of movie 2. We shot 95% of movie 3,” he told Collider. “We have a little bit that we have to still pick up. And we shot the first act of movie 4.”

This slightly contradicts reports that Avatar 4 and 5 were yet to be green-lit and would only go into production if The Way of Water and Avatar 3 were sure-fire hits. This thinking matched up with comments made by Avatar 3 newcomer David Thewlis, who explained “they’re making 2 and 3, they're gonna see if people go and see them, and then they’ll make 4 and 5”.

Following the immense box-office returns of part two, we can safely assume that Avatar 4 and 5 have indeed received the green light. At at 2022’s D23 Expo, Cameron said that principal photography for part four had begun.

Speaking to People in December 2023, Cameron revealed that Avatar 4 will include a time jump for its characters.

“We did the [motion capture] capture on three and the live-action photography on three as an intermingled production with [Avatar: The Way of Water], and we even did part of movie four because our young characters are all going to have a big time jump in movie four.”

He added: “We see them and then we go away for six years and we come back…And so the part where we come back is the part we haven’t shot yet. So we’ll start on that after three is released.”

In an interview with Gizmodo, franchise producer Landau revealed that Avatar 5 will bring its characters to Earth for the first time, saying: “We go to it to open people’s eyes, open Neytiri’s eyes, to what exists on Earth.”

Avatar 3 will be released on Friday, 19 December 2025.