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Everything We Know About James Cameron's Avatar Sequels

With four sequels planned in the mega-hit action sci-fi adventure series, here's everything we know so far.

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Gif: 20th Century Studios

At a Glance:

  • Avatar, written and directed by James Cameron, was released in 2009 and became the highest-grossing film ever—which it still is to this day.
  • It took over a decade for the first sequel to be released, but Avatar: The Way of Water was released on December 16, 2022. It grossed over $2 billion becoming one of the highest-grossing films in history, just like its predecessor.
  • The Way of Water is the first of four additional sequels, the rest of which are scheduled to come out every two years: 2024, 2026, and 2028. Those are almost certain to happen now thanks to The Way of Water’s success.
  • The epic story will follow Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), two Na’vi warriors who fell in love in the first film, and their family, which has expanded with several kids.
  • Cast members from the Avatar are set to return, as well as many new cast members.
  • The original film was re-released in theaters late 2022 and grossed an additional $76 million worldwide.

This article was originally published on 8/11/2022; it was last updated on 1/24/23.

What *Is* Avatar, Exactly?

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Screenshot: 20th Century Studios
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Not to be confused with the hit animated show Avatar: The Last Airbender, Avatar was a 2009 sci-fi film written and directed by James Cameron that grossed almost $3 billion worldwide. It’s still the highest grossing film of all-time internationally.

It told the story of Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a disabled war veteran who goes to the alien planet of Pandora on a research trip. There, his consciousness is transferred into an avatar of Pandora’s alien race, the Na’vi, who are very tall, very skinny, and very blue. Jake’s avatar befriends many of the Na’vi including one in particular, Neytiri (Zoe Saldana). Jake’s mission is the make the Na’vi leave sections of their planet so humans can use the natural resources but Jake ends up falling for Neytiri, siding with the Na’vi, and fighting against the humans. In the end, the Na’vi win, and Jake decides to permanently transfer his mind into his avatar body, becoming an official Na’vi.

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The film is best known not just for its incredible financial success, but pioneering the process of performance capture to create many of the main characters and its use of 3D imagery.

What Happens In Avatar 2?

Several years after the events of the first film, Jake and Neytiri now have five kids: three biological—Neteyam (Jamie Flatters), who is the oldest; Lo’ak (Britain Dalton), second oldest; and Tuk (Trinity Jo-Li Bliss) the youngest—as well as the adopted Kiri (Sigourney Weaver) and a kind of de facto child, Spider (Jack Champion).

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When the evil Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang) returns, this time as a Na’vi, he’s tasked to find and kill Sully so the humans can take over Pandora. And so the Sullys hide with the Metkayina, a tribe who worships water. Together, the Sullys assimilate into the Metkayina tribe and defeat Quaritch and his soldiers. Quaritch survives, however, and the oldest child, Neteyam, dies.

Does io9 Have an Avatar: The Way of Water Review?

Yes! Read it here.

Did Avatar 2 Make A Lot of Money?

Yes, it did. The film has grossed $2 billion and counting worldwide and all but assured that not only will we see Avatar 3, but parts 4 and 5 as well.

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What’s the Next Avatar About?

We don’t know exactly what Avatar 3 will be about yet, but director James Cameron has revealed that it will be narrated by one of Jake and Neytiri’s kid, Lo’ak, and will include a new tribe of Na’vi, this one that worships and works with fire. Everyone else is back too, including the whale, Pakayan.

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Will There Be More Avatar Sequels?

Yes, As it stands now, the rest of the films are scheduled as follows:

  • Avatar: The Way of Water - December 16, 2022
  • Avatar 3 - December 20, 2024
  • Avatar 4 - December 18, 2026
  • Avatar 5 - December 22, 2028

Do We Know Anything About Avatar 4 or 5?

Kind of. Producer Jon Landau told io9 that part five will, in some way, shape, or form, bring the story back to Earth. Cameron also said, of the events of the fourth film, a studio executive who read the script just said “Holy fuck.”

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Why Did Avatar 2 Take So Long to Come Out?

A lot of reasons. Mainly because James Cameron is a perfectionist. While the plans originally had the first sequel out in 2014, the story kept getting bigger and bigger to the point where Cameron went from two sequels to three, then four; in 2014, he hired a whole team of writers to help him with them.

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Then, of course, the films are huge technical achievements—so though filming was reported back in 2017, we are still waiting for the first sequel.

Is There an Avatar 3 Trailer?

Not yet, as it’s still a few years away. But here’s the trailer for the second one.

Avatar: The Way of Water | Official Trailer

Who’s Making the New Avatar Movies?

Cameron himself is directing parts two and three, and was originally going to do four and five too, but in recent weeks, he’s said he might pass that honor off to someone else. The scripts, however, are written by Cameron as well as the writers he hired in 2014: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Josh Friedman, and Shane Salerno.

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What Cast Members Are Back for Avatar 2?

Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington return as Neytiri and Jake, the stars of the series. Joel David Moore is back as the scientist Norm. CCH Pounder is back as Neytiri’s mom and Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang return too. But here’s where it gets weird.

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Those last two actors played characters that die in the first film. Now, in this film, Weaver is playing a new character, one of Neytiri and Jake’s daughters, while Lang will return as the same character... kind of. He’s a Recombinant, an Avatar clone that holds the memories of a human soldier.

What New Cast Members Are in Avatar 2?

So many. The biggest are Cliff Curtis and Kate Winslet as two members of a new Na’vi tribe, the Metkayina, who are a water-based tribe. Edie Falco plays a human leader, and Jemaine Clement is another scientist.

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Is Anyone New Coming For Avatar 3?

Yes! It’s rumored that Oscar-nominee Michelle Yeoh will join the cast in an upcoming sequel. But rumors that Vin Diesel will be in them are, apparently, not accurate. Everyone else still alive from the previous film is expected to return: Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington return as Neytiri and Jake, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Cliff Curtis, Kate Winslet, etc.

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Image for article titled Everything We Know About James Cameron's Avatar Sequels
Screenshot: 20th Century Studios

Will They Actually Make All of the Avatar Movies?

There was a point like five or six years after the release of Avatar that maybe it wasn’t sure. But, as of right now, Avatars 2 and 3 are 100% happening. Cameron also said parts four and five might not happen if part two wasn’t a hit but, it was, so lots of Avatars on the way.

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Where Can I Watch the Original Avatar?

You can of course pick up a Blu-ray or DVD; it is also streaming on Disney+.

Is Avatar 2 Streaming?

Avatar: The Way of Water is only in theaters. A streaming date has not yet been determined.

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Will Avatar Have a Happy Ending?

That seems like a weird question, right? But, it turns out, we know the answer. Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park in Orlando, Florida, has an Avatar land. And, in the canon of that story, any wars between humans and Na’vis are over and now humans and Na’vi exist in peace. So, yes, this story will have a happy ending, whenever it does actually end.

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Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, and what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV.