Watch: Jon Landau digs into the environmental message of Avatar: The Way of Water
Director James Cameron's first Avatar movie, in 2009, had eco issues at its heart — and sequel The Way of Water foregrounds the relationship between humanity and nature even further.
"I think initially, when we were making the first Avatar, it was something the studio had to be convinced wasn't a negative," Landau told Yahoo UK of talking about climate change on screen.
He added: "What we tried to say to them is that we have a responsibility to tell stories that have societal themes.
"If you look back at classical literature, whether it's Uncle Tom's Cabin or To Kill a Mockingbird, they are stories that influenced societal views on things. We can do that too in movies, but we have to entertain first.
"I think that Avatar illustrated that we can entertain but we can still inspire. Avatar: The Way of Water is a continuation of that."
Landau said he believes the prominence of environmental issues in Avatar may have had a real impact on how people perceive the effects of climate change.
He added: "We want to play a continued role in awakening people to the issues that face our world. Those issues are environment, those issues are societal and I think Avatar: The Way of Water touches on both of those things."
The Way of Water follows Na'vi couple Jake (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) as they make the difficult decision to flee their village with their young family in order to escape the threat of Quaritch (Stephen Lang) and "the sky people".
They attempt to find refuge with the Metkayina — a clan of Na'vi who live in and around water, having a unique bond with the ocean — despite that group's misgivings.
Landau said: "The Sullys in these movies are refugees, who seek safe haven with a clan of people who don't want to accept them.
"We have a force with machines and weapons invading a society, for what reason? For greed? These are all things that are important topics to discuss today."
As for the future, Landau said there's a clear "roadmap" for three more Avatar sequels — not that they will necessarily be able to top the epic scale of The Way of Water.
He said: "I don't know that we can go much greater than this story. This story has it all. It has character growth. It has character sacrifice. It has character loss and journey and emotion.
"We want to do that in all of our films, whether it be Titanic or Avatar or Avatar: The Way of Water. We hope to continue that in all of the sequels."
Avatar: The Way of Water is in cinemas and IMAX from 16 December.
Watch: Trailer for Avatar: The Way of Water