If James Cameron is lucky enough to make a fifth Avatar film, not all of it will take place on Pandora. At a recent press day for Avatar: The Way of Water, io9 asked Cameron’s producer Jon Landau if the Earthlings who were defeated and left Pandora at the end of the original film will return to bring war to the Na’vi. He wouldn’t say but he did say that Avatar 5 will go to Earth.
“Well, it’s funny,” Landau said over video chat. “I wasn’t going to talk about it, but I’ve now subsequently heard that Jim has talked about it a little bit. In movie five there is a section of the story where we go to Earth. And we go to it to open people’s eyes, open Neytiri’s eyes, to what exists on Earth.” (And while that seems like a huge spoiler to reveal Neytiri is still alive going into the fifth and final Avatar, Landau is smarter than that. He wouldn’t casually drop that information unless it was incredibly obvious or unimportant to the overall story.)
Landau continued to explain why Neytiri will eventually need to be clued into what’s happening on Earth. It’s because she doesn’t understand that Earth isn’t just filled with evil people who want to pillage Pandora. “Earth is not just represented by the RDA [the evil organization in the film; the abbreviation stands for Resources Development Administration],” he said. “Just like you’re defined by the choices you make in life, not all humans are bad. Not all Na’vi are good. And that’s the case here on Earth. And we want to expose Neytiri to that.”
But will audiences even get to see 2028's Avatar 5? It’s the one film of the series that has not been at least partially filmed yet (2024's part three has been completed, as has the first act of 2026's part four, according to Landau); to invest hundreds of millions more to complete the saga would only happen if audiences keep turning out for all the other movies, the first of which opens next week. If by chance it doesn’t happen though, Landau says he, Cameron, and the team have prepared for that. All the films link, but are also very specifically designed to be standalone stories.
“I think right now we want each movie to do exactly what the first movie did,” Landau said. “We want [audiences] to go, ‘Wow. Where else could they go? They just showed us everything on Pandora.’ Then you go, ‘Holy cow. They’re going to the oceans. Wow. The oceans are amazing.’ Okay, that’s over. Where can it go? Same thing from an emotional story. We end the [first] movie with Jake and this transformation. But we’ve suffered the loss of [Sigourney Weaver’s character] Grace, and we’ve suffered other things. We want people to come out of this movie with an emotional resolution that both calls for a yearning to go back to those characters and to the world.”
And while a few years ago several titles for the Avatar sequels reportedly leaked, which included the accurate title “The Way of Water,” Landau says not to expect Avatar 5, or any of the rest, to line up. “We have decided on titles, but I would not go by those other three titles that were out there,” he said. “You know, if you roll the dice one in six times, you’ll pick the right number.”
For Jon Landau, James Cameron, and everyone involved with Avatar: The Way of Water, they hope it hits the right numbers too. It opens December 16.
Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water.