Everything we know about the Avatar sequels
Thirteen years have passed since the release of the first ‘Avatar’, a film that since then (except for a small hiatus in 2019 when it momentarily ceded its place to ‘Avengers: Endgame’) has crowned the list of highest-grossing films in history, with a gross of $2,847,246,203. Several years after its release, in 2015, it was announced that not one but several sequels to the adventures on the planet Pandora would arrive.
We’ve compiled everything we know to date about ‘Avatar 2’, which will hit theaters in late 2022, to make the wait until the return to Pandora more bearable.
When is the release date?
The release date for ‘Avatar 2’, if nothing changes again, is December 16, 2022. ‘Avatar 3’ will arrive on December 20, 2024, ‘Avatar 4’ on December 18, 2026 and ‘Avatar 5’ on December 22, 2028.
What do we know about the synopsis?
James Cameron hasn’t said too much about the plot, but he did advance in an interview with Entertainment Weekly that “the story of the sequels will follow Jake, Neytiri and their children. It’s a family saga about their problems with humans” Producer Jon Landau specified that “this is the story of the Sully family and what someone has to do to keep their family together. Jake and Neytiri are forced to leave their home, so they go outside and explore different regions of Pandora, spending a lot of time in the water.” Part of the setting comes from Cameron’s contact with the cultures of Polynesia, which he encountered when he went down to the Mariana Trench in 2013.
The plot will also deal, eight years after what was seen in the original film, with the family’s encounter with a new clan, the Metkayina, which will bring conflicts and problems of adaptation. The second and third films in the series will form a story arc, although they can be seen independently. Humans will also return, it is not known on what terms, and a group of evil Na’vi (who could be those Metkayina). What is clear is that Sully’s family will be the focus of the four planned films.
What information do we have about the cast?
Many of the performers from the first film return in ‘Avatar 2’: Sam Worthington as Jake Sully, Zoe Saldana as Neytiri, Stephen Lang as General Miles Quaritch and Sigourney Weaver as Dr. Grace Augustine. Weaver, however, has stated that she would play a new character that would change over the sequels. The most notable additions to the cast are Kate Winslet and David Thewlis, and they are joined by Jake and Neytiri’s three children: Jamie Flatters (Neteyam), Britain Dalton (Lo’ak) and Trinity Bliss (Tuktirey).
All of the actors whose characters are part of Sully and Neytiri’s family went through a lengthy six-month preparation process, as we will see how they move underwater with ease, holding up to five minutes without oxygen. They were trained to last longer underwater and communicate with a sign language designed for the occasion. The goal: to make the underwater images as realistic as possible.
In what order were the sequels filmed?
Avatar 2′ and ‘Avatar 3’ have been shot sequentially, and the same will be done with ‘Avatar 4’ and ‘Avatar 5’, as they form independent narrative cores.
Has the Fox buyout or the pandemic affected filming?
As for the purchase of Disney by Fox, in principle it has not affected the development of the film, beyond the fact that Disney’s financial muscle will allow the spin-offs of the films to be much larger. The sale was made public when Cameron was two months into filming. As for COVID, filming was halted in early 2020 and resumed in May, as New Zealand came to eradicate the virus completely. This made ‘Avatar 2’ and ‘Avatar 3’ the first films to resume shooting after the outbreak of the pandemic. By September, filming had been completed.
How many times has the release date been delayed?
A total of seven times. Already in pre-production, the original date of October 2010 jumped to December 2014 and at that stage of filming it was delayed up to five times. Cameron always justified it by development needs of the technology needed to shoot or the time needed to write several sequels simultaneously, although there were also changes that were rumored to be due to coincidence with rival releases, such as ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’.
In May 2019 Disney, already with Fox in its portfolio, redid its entire release schedule and delayed ‘Avatar’ and all its sequels. The original plan was to alternate ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Avatar’ movies until 2027, and Cameron had the 2021, 2023, 2025 and 2027 slots. The pandemic forced a rethink on that idea, as digital effects shooting in Los Angeles precluded a 2021 release. In July 2020 virtually all Disney films (including ‘Avatar’) were delayed by one year.