Avatar: The Way of Water is finally about to hit cinemas – so, here’s everything we know about Avatar 2, from its release date, runtime, and trailer to cast and plot details.
Pre-2010 was a different time at the movies. The Marvel Cinematic Universe had only just begun with Iron Man a year prior, and an R-rated comedy was one of the highest-grossing movies of the year, alongside 2012, Angels and Demons (yes, really), and Ice Age 3.
To trot the cliché, Avatar took us to a whole new world; namely, Pandora, with its Hallelujah Mountains and strange creatures, all through the renewed oomph of 3D. It dominated the box office with a 234-day run in theatres, and became the biggest movie of all time still to this day, with a haul of $2.847 billion.
That was then, this is now. The cinematic landscape has evolved; now more than ever, blockbusters are driven by IP and nostalgia, whether it’s Marvel and DC’s superhero output or Tom Cruise returning to Top Gun. But fear not, because Avatar 2 is going to be absolutely massive for one reason: you never bet against James Cameron – so, here’s what we know about the sequel, from its release date to trailer, cast, and plot details.
Avatar 2 release date: When will Avatar The Way of Water be released, and where can I watch it?
Fortunately, we do have an Avatar 2 release date: The Way of Water is finally due to hit cinemas on December 16, 2022, marking nearly 13 years since the wide release of the first film.
It will only be available to watch on the big screen (preferably an IMAX, if you can), so you’re out of luck if you wanted to watch it at home. However, if you’re unable to go to the cinema, it’s likely the film will be added to Disney+ after its theatrical run.
You can learn more about the best way to watch Avatar 2 here, with breakdowns on IMAX, 3D, HFR, 4K, and more.
The 2020s is set to be the decade of Avatar. As earlier reported by BBC News, there’s three more movies to come after The Way of Water, which have been titled Avatar: The Seed Bearer, Avatar: The Tulkun Rider, and Avatar: The Quest for Eywa.
In addition to the Avatar 2 release date, we know the third film is set for release on December 20, 2024, followed by the fourth on December 18, 2026, and Avatar 5 on December 22, 2028.
Avatar 2 runtime: How long is Avatar The Way of Water?
Avatar 2 is confirmed to have a runtime of three hours and 12 minutes (192 minutes), making it 30 minutes longer than the original shy and just two minutes short of Cameron’s longest movie ever, Titanic.
Cameron promised the sequel will have an epic length – and he doesn’t care if you need to pee. Speaking to Empire Magazine, he said: “I don’t want anybody whining about length when they sit and binge-watch [television] for eight hours.
“I can almost write this part of the review. ‘The agonizingly long three-hour movie…’ It’s like, give me a f**king break. I’ve watched my kids sit and do five one-hour episodes in a row.
“Here’s the big social paradigm shift that has to happen: it’s okay to get up and go pee.”
In another interview with Total Film, Cameron further discussed why the movie has such a long runtime – nearly 30 minutes longer than the original film.
“The goal is to tell an extremely compelling story on an emotional basis. I would say the emphasis in the new film is more on character, more on story, more on relationships, more on emotion.
“We didn’t spend as much time on relationship and emotion in the first film as we do in the second film, and it’s a longer film, because there’s more characters to service. There’s more story to service.”
Avatar 2 cast: Who’s returning for Avatar The Way of Water, and are there new characters?
Several members of the original film’s cast are returning for Avatar 2, including Sam Worthington as Jake Sully, and Zoe Saldaña as Neytiri.
Stephen Lang is also back as Colonel Miles Quaritch, who’s set to be the main villain of the forthcoming films. Given his death in the first movie, it was unclear how he’d return – however, the first trailer shows a rather buff Na’vi character with the same tattoo as Lang on his arm, and his transformation has since been confirmed.
He told Empire Magazine: “He’s bigger, he’s bluer, he’s pissed off. But there may possibly be an aspect of humility. When you take two Na’vi arrows in the chest, that’s gonna have some kind of effect on you.”
Cameron earlier told Deadline: “I’m not going to say exactly how we’re bringing him back, but it’s a science fiction story, after all. His character will evolve into really unexpected places across the arc of our new three-film saga.”
Sigourney Weaver is also returning, but instead of reprising her role as Dr Grace Augustine, she’s playing a completely new character: Kiri, the adopted Na’vi teen daughter of Jake and Neytiri.
In an interview with Empire Magazine, the Alien legend said: “I think we all pretty much remember what we were feeling as adolescents. I certainly do. I was 5’10” or 5’11” when I was 11. I felt strongly that Kiri would feel awkward a lot of the time. She’s searching for who she is. I was thrilled to be given that challenge by Jim.”
Kate Winslet has reunited with Cameron and will star as Ronal, a free-diving Na’vi part of a reef tribe known as the Metkayina, led by The Meg star Cliff Curtis, while Vin Diesel has also joined the film in an unknown role.
Other returning characters include Giovanni Ribisi as Parker Selfridge, Matt Gerald as Lyle Wainfleet, CCH Pounder as Neytiri’s mother Mo’at, as well as Joel David Moore and Dileep Rao Jake’s human allies Dr Norm Spellman and Dr Max Patel.
Edie Falco, of The Sopranos fame, will play General Ardmore, while Michelle Yeoh and Jemaine Clement will star as scientists Dr Karina Mogue and Dr Ian Garvin respectively.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Yeoh said: “I was so impressed with the work that [Cameron’s] done, the work that he’s doing, the energy. He’s a genius, he’s a walking genius. And I really really enjoyed the experience and I can’t wait to go back soon, I hope.”
Game of Thrones’ Oona Chaplin will also star as Varang, a character who’s expected to span across all four sequels.
Avatar 2 trailer: Is there a trailer for Avatar The Way of Water?
The first teaser trailer for Avatar: The Way of Water got an exclusive theatrical release with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness earlier this year. It has since been released online, and you can watch it below:
The breathtaking trailer doesn’t give much away in terms of plot; if anything, it’s meant as a reminder of Cameron’s prowess, and why we should all be very excited to return to Pandora. The visual effects are of a calibre we’ve never seen before – yes, that shot of the hands in the water is entirely CGI – and the music is spellbinding. Simply put, movie water has never looked this good.
A second trailer has also been released, showing off the sequel’s underwater visuals, breathtaking action, and possibly teasing a major death. Check it out below:
A third trailer was released on November 21, showcasing the enormous scope of the sequel’s conflict. Watch it below:
Speaking from New Zealand, as per Deadline, Cameron said the Avatar team is “pushing the limits even further… every shot is designed for the biggest screen and highest resolution possible… I believe the audience wants this. We as an industry are not going away.”
Avatar 2: What is the plot of Avatar The Way of Water?
The official Avatar 2 plot synopsis reads: “Jake Sully lives with his newfound family formed on the planet of Pandora. Once a familiar threat returns to finish what was previously started, Jake must work with Neytiri and the army of the Na’vi race to protect their planet.”
The trailer shows glimpses of Jake Sully and Neytiri’s children: Jamie Flatters’s Neteyam, Britain Dalton’s Lo’ak and Trinity Bliss’s Tuktirey, as well as their adopted human child Miles Socorro, also known as Spider, played by Jack Champion.
Speaking to Collider, producer Jon Landau said each film would be a standalone movie, rather than the sort of serialized storytelling seen in the MCU, but each movie will create a “connected saga.”
“Each movie is a standalone movie that we would want to go see. You don’t need to have seen the first Avatar to see Avatar 2. It sits there and we’re gonna take people on a visual and an emotional journey that comes to its own conclusion,” he said.
“This is the story of the Sully family and what one does to keep their family together. Jake and Neytiri have a family in this movie, they are forced to leave their home, they go out and explore the different regions of Pandora, including spending quite a bit of time on the water, around the water, in the water.”
Why has Avatar 2 taken so long?
Given the titanic success (sorry) of Avatar, most moviegoers would have expected a follow-up by now. Well, in true Cameron fashion, the movie was originally planned for a 2014 release date, but the technological advancements required to make The Way of Water a reality have made the project endure several delays; eight, to be exact.
As the title suggests, Avatar 2 will be largely set in and around water. This has proven to be a huge factor in the film’s lengthy production, as Cameron had to develop technology to nail motion-capture underwater. “It sounds kind of nuts, the process. I mean, if Avatar hadn’t made so much damn money, we’d never do this – because it’s kind of crazy,” he said.
There’s also the 3D element, a major selling point of the first film. Up until 2016, Cameron was talking about theoretically filming using a non-glasses form of 3D, but later admitted the technology wasn’t quite there yet.
After showing off the teaser trailer at CinemaCon, Cameron said: “[We’re] pushing limits even farther with high frame rate, higher resolution 3D and greater reality in our visual effects.
“I wanted our return to Pandora to be something really special. Every shot is designed for the biggest screen, highest resolution and most immersive 3D available. I think we pulled it off.”
In addition to the complications of global restrictions in recent years, Cameron hasn’t just been working on Avatar: The Way of Water – he’s been working on them all at the same time.
He told Vanity Fair in 2017: “It was highly optimistic that we could start quickly until scripts are written. If there’s no scripts, there’s nothing, right?
“The scripts took four years. You can call that a delay, but it’s not really a delay because from the time we pushed the button to really go make the movies [until now], we’re clicking along perfectly.”
Also speaking to Empire in 2014, Cameron made a big claim for Avatar 2: “You will s**t yourself with your mouth wide open.”
You can find out more about how much Avatar 2 cost to make here.
Avatar 2 is set for release on December 16, 2022.
This article will be updated upon further announcements.