After months, nay years, of suspense, Disney on Wednesday unveiled the first trailer for James Cameron’s Avatar sequel, also giving the movie an official title. Now known as Avatar: The Way of Water, the 20th Century Studios sci-fi adventure releases overseas starting December 14 and heads to North America on December 16.
Producer Jon Landau came in from New Zealand to make the Disney presentation at CinemaCon in Las Vegas.
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“One of the strengths of Jim Cameron’s scripts is they are always universal and relatable themes that he weaves into them,” the Oscar-winning producer said.
“At the center of each of the four sequels will be the Sully family. Each story will be a stand-alone and each will come to its own conclusion,” he added. There will be a “fulfilling resolution to each film, but when looked at as a whole the journey across all four will create a larger epic saga.”
“The journey across all four movies will create a connected saga,” said Landau. “To achieve our goals, we need a strong partnership with you and the studio … an end-to-end community.”
Cameron beamed in from Wellington, NZ where he’s shooting, expressing sympathy for exhibition about the industry’s hardships during the pandemic.
He told exhibition, “I just want you to hear it from me: Jon and I are here to work with you,” he said. “The best way is by delivering content that is a must-see experience at the cinema.”
The Oscar-winning filmmaker said he was “hard at work putting the final touches on the film.” He added that the new films are “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.”
The trailer will run exclusively in cinemas with Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse pf Madness, which rolls out next week — beginning May 4 internationally and May 6 domestically. That drew applause in the room. The Avatar 2 trailer will then go online a week later.
The logline on the movie: Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) 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 (Zoe Saldana) and the army of the Na’vi race to protect their planet.
What’s in the trailer?
As Cameron always promised, Avatar 2 takes place in and around the ocean. Sully and Neytiri have children. “Wherever we go,” says Sully, “I know one thing: this family is our fortress.” The sequel looks even more jaw-dropping in its deep-blue visuals than the 2009 film. All new creatures: We see the Na’vi on flying fish bird creatures, communing with a whale, and yet somehow divided despite their affinity with nature. The alien people are split, battling against each other in a guns vs. arrows fight. It’s truly a whole new world, upping the stakes of the previous three-time Oscar-winning 2009 original.
It was also revealed that Disney will rerelease the original Avatar on September 23 around the globe with remastered audio and sound. That film is the highest-grossing movie of all time worldwide at $2.8 billion, regaining that title after overtaking Avengers: Endgame during the pandemic.
The sequel stars Sigourney Weaver, Kate Winslet, Michelle Yeoh, Edie Falco, Stephen Lang, Giovanni Ribisi, Oona Chaplin, Jermaine Clement and more.