These eyes have seen a sight I never thought I’d see: a trailer for Avatar 2. After over a decade of development and production, writer-director James Cameron finally debuted the teaser trailer for his long-awaited, highly anticipated sequel at CinemaCon in Las Vegas. And while you can’t see it just yet, you’ll see it soon. Here’s what you need to know.
First of all, the film is no longer called “Avatar 2.” The official title is Avatar: The Way of Water and it’ll be in theaters on December 16. Before that though, Disney will re-release the original Avatar, with remastered picture and sound, in theaters on September 23. Plenty of time for fans and audiences to get reacquainted with Pandora, the Na’vi, and the highest-grossing film in history. (It’s also on Disney+ too.)
Also, the film’s producer Jon Landau said that each of the upcoming four sequels will center on the family of Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) but will also stand alone. “Each story will come to its own conclusion and each movie will deliver audiences fulfilling, emotional resolutions,” Landau said. “However, when looked at as a whole, the journey across all four movies will create an even larger, connected, epic saga.”
As for the trailer, it’ll debut in theaters exclusively with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which is out May 6. That’ll be the only place audiences can officially check it out. It’s expected to debut online a week later.
So, what’s in it? Well, it begins with those big, familiar clusters of vines high above the ground and a family of Na’vi, some big, some small, running and jumping around them. There’s a close up on the face of Neytiri, as she watches something with care, followed by a shot from high overhead of four Na’vi flying on the backs of what look like Pandoran Banshees over a vast ocean of water. They fly over big, almost coral structures in the sea with lots of Na’vi standing on them. There’s no talking over any of this. Just sweet, quiet music with hints of James Horner’s themes.
We then see an industrial area with humans and fully dressed Na’vi walking and talking together. A few helicopters taking off. Then shots of Na’vi swimming underwater. This is the big thing with this sequel, hence the title, and honestly... it didn’t even look like there was water. You know it’s water, it’s all blue and there are fish and a creature swimming, but it looked almost like they were swimming through the air. To be fair though, the footage is barely a few seconds and I was further back in the theater. It looks beautiful but not 100% convincing as water.
The trailer then ramps up into a bit of a montage. Some of the shots include Jake and Neytiri trapped in what looks like a flooded submarine. Them spying on a group of humans. Shots of Na’vi swimming alongside whales, holding their fins with a single hand. And even Jake in a shot that looks like he’s floating on water but then you realize he’s riding a creature that can both fly in water and in the air. Oh, and Jake now has a haircut. It looks very military. Dark, short, tightly cropped to his head.
“I know one thing,” Jake says in the trailer’s only dialogue. “Wherever we go, this family is our fortress.” The whole thing runs about 90 seconds.
After 12 years of waiting, will this trailer be enough to get people excited for Avatar again? We’ll see. What it will do it let people know that Avatar is coming back and this lyrical trailer will absolutely get everyone’s attention once it drops in theaters and online later.
Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.