In about one year's time, the long-awaited sequel to "Avatar" will be released after a total of 13 years. With box-office takings of around 2.85 billion dollars, the movie beat its competitor "Avengers: Endgame" again by a hair's breadth and, in addition to its story about the Na'vi people, is especially known for the beautiful world of the moon Pandora. In today's Original, we present everything we know about the upcoming "Avatar 2", from the story to the cast and the potential titles of the planned four sequels.
Story Recap Part 1
But before we get to Part 2, let's rewind to the beginning, after all, what was the first part of "Avatar" all about? Of course, you will encounter some spoilers in this synopsis since we want to focus on the plot of "Avatar 2" afterwards.
Basically, the plot revolves around Jake Sully, born in 2126, who joined the Marines at a young age and was injured so severely that he is now paralyzed from the waist down. This is not really a good starting point for exploring an alien planet, but a tragic incident results in him traveling to Pandora instead of his twin brother.
After several years in cryostatic sleep aboard a spaceship, he finally arrives on the beautiful and pristine planet with a few other humans and is initiated into the details of his mission, which is to mingle with the native people, the Na'vi, and find out their vulnerabilities. Behind the whole operation is the Resources Development Administration, or RDA for short. They, in turn, are very keen on the raw material Unobtainium, which is available in large quantities on Pandora. Since the human organism on the alien planet is anything but capable of living, the RDA has come up with something special:
The talk is of a scientific project that has created a genetically modified hybrid of human DNA and Na'vi DNA. These so-called avatars can be controlled by humans because the human brain and all nerve endings are connected to the avatar. For Jake in particular, this is a most extraordinary experience, because in his avatar body he does not feel the impact of his paraplegia and can thus move freely.
Already during his first scouting mission things go wrong and he is separated from his group. Soon he is confronted with a pack of viperwolves and defends himself in an actually hopeless fight. Luckily for him, a native Na'vi comes to his aid and drives the dangerous animals away. Jake is directly fascinated by the beautiful Na'vi, who bears the name Neytiri. He quickly learns about the customs and culture of the Na'vi people and finds himself in a fateful dilemma. For the more he learns about Neytiri and her way of life, the more indecisive he becomes about his mission. Jake must therefore decide whose side he is on, because no matter what, he has the fate of the peace-loving people in his hands.
Now you should have refreshed your knowledge about the first part. Back then, Avatar set off a real 3D hype, which is why the film often has to put up with the allegation that visitors only went to the movies because of the 3D and not for the story. However, it is clear that star director James Cameron has a lot more up his sleeve when you realize that the 67-year-old has planned a total of 4 sequels for the franchise.
Potential Plot Part 2
Let's now turn our attention to the possible plot of "Avatar 2". After the brilliant end of the first part, the humans were successfully expelled from Pandora. Slowly but surely, peace returns to the almost colonized Na'vi and Jake has now fully become one of them. Almost 13 years after the story of the first part, he has even brought offspring into the world, namely his children Neteyam, Lo'ak and Tuktirey.
Most recently, producer Jon Landau announced news about the story in early December. In an interview with Total Film Magazine, he announced that the Sullys will meet the Metkayina people and have to hide from the RDA's exploitation missions. The human occupiers of Pandora just do not surrender to the inhabitants and are preparing for another attack on Pandora's resources and population.
Landau further revealed that Cameron has managed to incorporate many different themes that will appeal to every viewer. Nonetheless, the story of the young Sully family with all its ups and downs will be the main focus. In addition, the producer confirmed that the scripts for all the sequels had already been completed before the first shooting even began. With such an extensive series of movies planned, this comes as no surprise.
By the way, Landau assured that you can watch "Avatar 2" without any previous knowledge from the first "Avatar" movie, meaning it is not absolutely necessary to watch the whole movie again. Our summary of Part 1 is therefore completely sufficient.
Interestingly, director Cameron announced even before the release of the first part that he wanted at least two sequels to follow. Success proved him right for what was then one of the most expensive productions in film history. After the blockbuster quickly climbed the ladder of the most successful movies of all time, it was also clear that sooner or later it would be resumed. The plan was to shoot back-to-back in New Zealand. Cameron hired different screenwriters for the respective scripts of "Avatar 2 to 4" and assigned them each their own film. As a result, Josh Friedman wrote Part 2, Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver Part 3, and Shane Salerno Part 4. Solely for Part 5 there is currently no scriptwriter. James Cameron, who is certainly not a man of few words, also revealed that he would like to use footage from the Mariana Trench, the deepest point on Earth, as a model for the underwater world of Pandora. Regarding 3D technology, Cameron likewise announced nothing less than a revolution. One innovation is to shoot the film at 60 frames per second to achieve better and, above all, smoother 3D. In addition, there are persistent rumors that "Avatar 2" could be seen in 3D in theaters without the need for glasses, and THAT would indeed be another revolution. The problem with this is that movie theaters would have to upgrade to the new technology and invest a lot of money, which is a pretty unlikely scenario, especially given the pandemic and the lack of revenue.
Cameron is and remains one of the great visionaries in the movie business, which leaves us to hope that "Avatar 2" will not only feature great 3D technology, but above all a gripping story.
Next, let's look at the cast of "Avatar 2". Needless to say, some familiar faces are making a comeback, including Sam Worthington as Jake and Zoe Saldana as Neytiri. Also joining the cast are Sigourney Weaver as Dr. Grace Augustine, Stephen Lang as Colonel Miles Quaritch, Matt Gerald as Corporal Lyle Wainfleet and Giovanni Ribisi as Parker Selfridge. For some of them, it is certainly worth asking what exactly their appearance will be like in Part 2, since not all of them made it through the big battle in the first part alive.
Much more exciting, however, are the new additions, which, as you would expect from a big Hollywood blockbuster, are quite impressive. So far, "Titanic" actress Kate Winslet is set to join the cast as the water person Ronal, while Michelle Yeoh has been cast as Dr. Karina Mogue. Edie Falco has been signed on for the villainous role of General Admore, Cliff Curtis will play the leader of the Matkayina clan, Jemaine Clement will become scientist Dr. Ian Garvin and David Thewlis a new character named Peylak. All in all, a respectable cast, with possibly a few more names to be added. For instance, it seems pretty certain that Vin Diesel will be involved in the Avatar sequels. Whether this already concerns Part 2 is currently unknown.
Various sequel titles have been circulating among the "Avatar" fan community for several years now, as it is considered highly unlikely that it will remain with a lackluster "Avatar 2". Back in 2018, the BBC brought up four possible titles, which Cameron himself even confirmed as possible, but not final, titles. There are thus four titles for four sequels, though it is not known which one is intended for which sequel.
The first one is called "Avatar - The Way of Water" and based on the water theme it could perfectly complement Part 2, yet also Part 3, since both sequels are supposed to focus on the underwater world.
Another potential title is "Avatar - The Seed Bearer". This could be a reference to the seeds of the Tree of Souls, which is considered to be the most sacred place in Pandora and was largely responsible for the complete transformation of Jake's soul into his Avatar body.
The next title is "Avatar - The Tulkun Rider". So far, nothing is known about a so-called Tulkun in the "Avatar" franchise, but the term "Tulku" can be found in Buddhism, where it means something like a reincarnated person who passes on his knowledge to new generations. In connection with the word "Rider" it could of course also simply be a new living being on Pandora.
The last title is called "Avatar - The Quest for Eywa". Eywa is the deity of the Na'vi, who connects all beings of the planet and generally stands for the life energy of Pandora. Hence, one could possibly go on a quest for Eywa in the sequel, since in the parts before, life has gone extinct in an alarming way and the decay of the planet is imminent. Another possibility would be that one must solve a certain task for Eywa.
Behind the Scenes & Production
Fortunately for many fans, producer Jon Landau regularly posts updates and behind-the-scenes footage on his Instagram account. There you can see all kinds of technically sophisticated shooting work, which shows various underwater creatures, some concept art and snapshots with actors in front of the camera. To discuss every single picture would surely go beyond the scope here, since by now there are several dozens of images that are all worth a look. In January, for example, we were allowed to see a beautiful Metkayina village on the water, although this is sadly concept art and not an actual scene from the film. A different example from last October shows a fully equipped high-tech RDA laboratory. And one example from August 2020 illustrates quite well the immense amount of work involved in shooting the mammoth project, as here you can see part of the movie set in a large hall in New Zealand - all custom-made to James Cameron's liking, of course.
Just in time for World Oceans Day in June 2021, producer Jon Landau published a new image via Twitter in the form of concept art. It hardly could have been more appropriate, given that the focus of "Avatar 2" is on the beautiful underwater world of Pandora of course. The fluorescent blue image proves that the seas of the moon located in the Alpha Centauri solar system do not need to hide from the already known plant world. You cannot only see the diversity of species, but also a new creature that looks like a Plesiosaurus. Next to all the corals and underwater plants, it is a truly atmospheric image. What a pity that it is not real footage from the movie.
Many fans are now waiting all the more eagerly for a first trailer for "Avatar 2". Unfortunately, there are no clues as to when exactly a trailer or at least a teaser might appear. However, in view of the theatrical release on December 16, 2022, a bit of video material should be expected at the beginning of this year.