Avatar 2 is just months away – and considering how long it’s been in the works for, that’s not something to be taken lightly. It’s been over a decade since Avatar first arrived and wowed us all with its incredible visual effects: so here’s hoping the long-awaited sequel lives up to its predecessor. Especially since Avatar 5 won’t be here until 2028…
We’ve rounded up all there is to know about Avatar 2 right here, from who’s who in the cast to all that’s known about the plot. James Cameron is back in the director’s chair, and from the first trailer, he’s clearly brought that stunning CGI spectacle back for round two. This month brings new details on who Signourney Weaver and Stephen Lang are playing, and the updates are fairly surprising, to say the least. So, to get up to speed on the sequel, scroll on and discover all there is to know about our return to Pandora.
Avatar 2 release date
The much-delayed Avatar 2 will finally hit theaters this December 16, 2022. That’s 13 years after Avatar, and eight years after the sequel was originally slated to release way back in 2014. Here’s hoping it’s worth the wait.
Avatar 2 trailer
The first trailer for Avatar 2 originally debuted at CinemaCon, then released publicly attached to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. It was a theatrical exclusive before eventually landing online.
As you would expect, the footage showcases stunning landscapes both underwater and on dry land, with CGI wizardry bringing the Na’avi and Pandora to life. There’s a hint of threat lurking in the footage – we see the villainous RDA (that’s Resources Development Administration), too, and they’re bound to cause problems for all. Sully and the family are here, but little is revealed about the plot.
Avatar 2 cast: returning and newcomers
The Avatar 2 cast is made up of newcomers and returning actors alike.
Sam Worthington returns as Jake Sully, a former human soldier who permanently became a member of the Na’avi. He’s joined by Zoe Saldaña, who is back as Neytiri. The duo fell in love in the first movie. CCH Pounder plays Mo’at, Neytiri’s mother.
Jake and Neytiri will have children this time round, too. Jamie Flatters is their firstborn son Neteyam, Britain Dalton is their second son Lo’ak, and Trinity Bliss is Tuktirey, their youngest child. Jack Champion is Javier “Spider” Socorro, a human born on Pandora who is adopted by Jake and Neytiri.
Sigourney Weaver is also back, and she’s playing none other than Kiri, the daughter of Jake and Neytiri. Her previous character, Dr. Grace Augustine, died in the first film. Her role in the sequel will also involve delving underwater, with a behind the scenes picture showing the actor fully submerged.
From the set of the Avatar sequels: Sigourney Weaver never shies away from a stunt, not even when it’s underwater! pic.twitter.com/MnZ0cgGGjPSeptember 10, 2020
Stephen Lang returns as Colonel Miles Quaritch, who also died back in the first film. He’ll still be a villain… and he’s Na’avi now. That’s definitely surprising, considering the character hates the blue aliens. “I’m not gonna say, ‘No, he’s absolutely the same,'” Lang has said of his character. “I think he’s an incredibly fascinating character and he wouldn’t be back if [director] Jim Cameron wasn’t fascinated in him as well and kind of bent on seeing where he goes. Where does that character lead him as a writer, as a director? And where does it lead me as an actor?”
Kate Winslet joins the cast as Ronal, a free-diving member of the underwater Metkayina clan. “I had to learn how to free-dive to play that role in Avatar, and that was just incredible,” Winslet told The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab). “My longest breath hold was seven minutes and 14 seconds, like crazy, crazy stuff.” A set picture of Winslet underwater has also been unveiled, with the actor wearing weights around her waist to keep her submerged.
From Kate Winslet’s recent interview in @THR: “I had to learn how to free-dive to play that role in Avatar, and that was just incredible. My longest breath hold was seven minutes and 14 seconds, like crazy, crazy stuff.” pic.twitter.com/ZYAmZdNgHSOctober 26, 2020
Edie Falco joins as General Ardmore, who is part of the sinister RDA.
Michelle Yeoh is another newcomer. She’ll play a human named Dr. Karina Mogue. Thanks to an Instagram post from producer Jon Landau, we know Yeoh will be in Avatar 3 as well.
Jemaine Clement will play Dr. Ian Garvin, who is a marine biologist. “I’ve loved Jemaine’s work for years and I’m really pumped that he’s joining our cast as Ian Garvin, one of my favorite characters,” James Cameron has said of the casting (H/T Variety).
A photo posted by on
Vin Diesel, and CJ Jones have also joined the cast in mystery roles, while Oona Chaplin will be playing Varang, who will be in all the upcoming movies (H/T The Hollywood Reporter (opens in new tab)).
Rounding out the cast is Cliff Curtis as Tonowari, Bailey Bass as Tsireya, Filip Geljo as Aonung, and Duane Evans Jr. as Rotxo – all are of the Metkayina clan.
Among the rest of the cast playing humans is Joel David Moore as Dr. Norm Spellman, Dileep Rao as Dr. Max Patel, Giovanni Ribisi as Parker Selfridge, Brendan Cowell as Captain Mick Scoresby, and Matt Gerald as Corporal Lyle Wainfleet.
Avatar 2 plot: what is The Way of Water about?
Avatar 2 has an official synopsis: “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.” (H/T ComicBook.com (opens in new tab))
The family is very much the heart of the movie. “I think the story of Avatar 2, and the strength of the story, is what Jim [Cameron] always does in any of his movies: he writes in universal themes that are bigger than any one genre,” Landau told Total Film. “And if you think about this, there’s really no more universal theme than family. At the center of each of our sequels is the Sully family. What are the dynamics that parents go through to protect their family?”
As for that trouble promised by the synopsis, it will arrive in the form of the RDA mining operation returning to Pandora. That sends Jake, Neytiri, and their children to “what is perceived as a safe harbor” – the underwater reef. “And when you get to the reef, there’s a clan we call the Metkayina,” Landau added. “The Sullys are no longer in the environment that they know, the rainforest. They become the fish out of water. They become the fish out of water both culturally and just environmentally.”
From all the set photos and that stunning trailer, it’s clear that the underwater lands will be a major focal point of the sequel. What’s less clear, though, is the fate of some of the key characters. While we know Signourney Weaver will be back, we don’t know how or why, considering her character died in the first movie. It’s possible she could be playing a different person entirely, though, but it’s a mystery for now.
She’s also not the only character potentially returning from the dead. There’s also Stephen Lang back as Colonel Miles Quaritch, and Matt Gerald’s character Corporal Lyle Wainfleet. Their return is another mystery, but it can’t mean anything good for Sully and his family, considering both are part of the RDA.
Avatar sequels: how many Avatar movies will there be?
Avatar 2 is the first of four sequels planned, which means the Avatar franchise will span five films in total. The last film is slated for release in 2028 – 19 years after the first Avatar debuted. They might be a long way off, but work has already begun on the other movies. In fact, Avatar 2 and 3 were filmed simultaneously, and some of Avatar 4 has been filmed, too.
“We mixed the schedules for 2 and 3 together, based on the types of scenes and the environments,” Cameron told Variety (opens in new tab). “I said, let’s just treat it like it’s a six-hour miniseries and we’re only going to go to Frankfurt once. We’re going to shoot all the scenes from 2 and 3 at the same time. That was more or less the motif. Actor availability was an issue as well. 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. Because once again, 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 4. So I needed everything before then, and then everything after, we’ll do later.”
Avatar 3 arrives on December 20, 2024, Avatar 4 releases on December 18, 2026, and Avatar 5 lands on December 22, 2028.
BBC News reported back in 2017 that four projects were planned, with the first called Avatar: The Way of Water. That title proved to be true. The other three projects were called Avatar: The Seed Bearer, Avatar: The Tulkun Rider, and Avatar: The Quest for Eywa. Seeing as Way of the Water panned out, it’s possible the other titles will prove to be the ultimate names for the forthcoming sequels, too.
And that’s a wrap on everything you need to know about Avatar 2. For everything else coming your way this year, check out our guide to all of 2022’s major movie release dates.