It’s been 13 years, but in 2022 we’ll finally return to the world of Pandora. That’s right, James Cameron’s long-promised Avatar sequel, The Way of Water is finally hitting screens this year.
Seeing as it’s been over a decade since the first film, you might be in need of a refresher before heading into what is sure to be another cinematic experience with Avatar: The Way of Water. Let’s dive in.
Remind me what Avatar is all about?
Avatar takes place over 100 years into the future where Earth’s depleted natural resources have led to an energy crisis and humans have begun seeking life on other planets.
One such planet is the rich rainforest world of Pandora where humans have been mining an incredibly rare and valuable mineral known as unobtanium. In the process of doing that, they’ve stirred up trouble with the natives, a species of tall blue-skinned humanoids known as the Na’vi.
Oh, and the air on Pandora is also toxic to humans so in order to further explore humans developed physical avatars of the Na’vi that human consciousness can be transferred into.
Got all that? Now we introduce our straight white male protagonist, Jake Sully, a paraplegic ex-Marine who is recruited to take the place of his deceased brother on a research mission to Pandora. Once there he’s given his own Na’vi avatar and the ability to walk again.
On Pandora, Jake becomes torn between his growing connection with the Na’vi, particularly a woman named Neytiri, and his duties to the company, who are using him as a spy to get intel on the land.
Eventually, Jake is given an ultimatum, ask the Na’vi to leave their homes otherwise they will be forcibly removed. He chooses the Na’vi and they go to war with the humans, eventually evicting them from Pandora.
Jake chooses to stay however and downloads his consciousness into his Na’vi avatar permanently.
What’s happening in Avatar 2?
Now, over a decade later, we’ll find out what happened to Pandora after the humans left.
According to the official synopsis from Disney, here’s what we can expect:
Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, Avatar: The Way of Water begins to tell the story of the Sully family (Jake, Neytiri, and their kids), the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive, and the tragedies they endure.
At CinemaCon 2022, the title of the Avatar sequel was revealed to be The Way of Water.
It should come as no surprise that a lot of Avatar 2 is focused on water, in particular the underwater environments of Pandora. This is also apparently why the film has taken so long as the technology to blend performance capture and underwater filming wasn’t developed yet.
According to Entertainment Weekly, a new reef-dwelling clan on Pandora named the Metkayina will be introduced, with the landscape being described as “Bora Bora on steroids”.
The film will once again be shown in 3D, heralding a return to the bygone era of 3D glasses. Here’s hoping you still have a few lying around at home.
This is also just the first of four sequels James Cameron has planned in the Avatar franchise, with both Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 believed to focus on the ocean environments.
Who has been cast in Avatar 2?
Returning cast members to the franchise include Sam Worthington as Jake Sully and Zoe Saldana as Neytiri.
Stephen Lang, Sigourney Weaver, Joel David Moore, CCH Pounder, and Giovanni Ribisi are also set to return, presumably as their same characters.
There are also a fair few newcomers to the series including Cliff Curtis, Edi Falco, Jemaine Clement and Oscar-winner Kate Winslet.
Winslet will reportedly play Ronal, a member of the Sea People.
Also new to the film will be a new generation of actors playing the children of Jake and Neytiri. Entertainment Weekly revealed the young actors in an exclusive to be Britain Dalton, Filip Geljo, Jamie Flatters, Bailey Bass, Trinity Bliss, Jack Champion, and Duane Evans Jr.
The film is directed by James Cameron and produced by Jon Landau.
Feast upon these visuals
Similar to the original, Avatar: The Way of Water will be a visual feast for the eyes — and in 3D.
The first trailer for the film will be screened ahead of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness sessions in cinemas. It’s also since made its way online so you can gaze upon it below.
If you were just pulled back into 2009 you’re not alone. The music, the visuals, the blue people, it’s all so very Avatar. Now we just have to wait and see whether the sequel can live up to the original.
If this trailer is anything to go by, Avatar: The Way of Water will definitely be another visual spectacle.
The trailer doesn’t give much away in terms of story, but we get hints of a new underwater tribe, see humans and the Na’vi working together (??) and glimpse some incredible new creatures on Pandora Disney will no doubt make toys from.
In the meantime, here are some concept art pieces that give us an idea of the new worlds we’ll be exploring in Way of Water.
In the #Avatar sequels, you won’t just return to Pandora — you’ll explore new parts of the world.— Avatar (@officialavatar) January 7, 2020
Check out these brand new concept art pieces for a sneak peek at what’s to come. pic.twitter.com/bfZPWVa7XZ
When can you see Avatar: The Way of Water in Australia?
The film has seen many, many, many delays but now we have an official release date for Avatar 2 that looks like it might stick.
Avatar: Way of the Water will open in Australian cinemas on December 15, 2022, and will likely claim the Christmas box office yet again.
The original movie will be re-released in cinemas again on September 22 for those wanting to see it on the big screen. If not, you can also stream it on Disney+.
The subsequent Avatar sequels are set to release in December 2024, December 2026 and December 2028.
Wondering what else is hitting cinemas this year? Check out our guide to all the upcoming 2022 movies.