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Avatar 2 Gets Mega-Hyped As Studio Says It’s Not ‘Just A Sequel’

Zoe Saldana in Avatar.
(Image credit: 20th Century Fox)

Are we sleeping on Avatar 2? If we are, there are definite reasons. For starters, James Cameron’s sequel to his box-office busting Avatar feels like it has been delayed for far too long, so the concept of it actually opening in theaters one day strikes us as alien (no pun intended). Also, as financially successful as Avatar was (and still is), the movie’s not beloved in the way that an MCU or Star Wars movie might be, and so enthusiasm for a sequel is mid. And finally, because Avatar 2 is being sold as the first of FOUR planned Avatar movies on the horizon, the fandom is definitely meeting this one with healthy skepticism and an air of “show me” while we wait for footage of it to arrive. 

As if betting against James Cameron has even been a good idea.

20th Century Studios President Steve Asbell wants to let fans know that Avatar 2 is going to exceed expectations. Acknowledging that there will have to be a bit of a learning curve to re-educate audiences on the ins and outs of a 12-year-old movie, Asbell spoke with The Hollywood Reporter and said:

It’s going to blow people away. You’re not ready for what Jim is doing. … I can tell you that there is no better marketing apparatus in the business than the one at Disney. They will do an incredible job reigniting that passion for the original film. This is not just a sequel, it’s a saga. And it’s a family saga. It will be compelling on its own, but it will also be extremely compelling to return to those characters and to see how they’ve evolved. It’s less about Avatar being a really big movie and more about how Avatar was a really important cultural moment for audiences. I don’t think it will be hard to convince people to come back.

The significant hook to the original Avatar wasn’t necessarily the imagination of James Cameron, or the invention of the alien planet of Pandora. It was Cameron’s revolutionary improvements to 3D technology that kept audience members returning to theaters to plunge back into that immersive world. The jury is out on whether or not Avatar 2 will continue to push the technical boundaries of visual presentation, or if Cameron is going to have to win audiences over with his original story of Jake (Sam Worthington) and his soul mate, Neytiri (Zoe Saldana). 

At the very least, Cameron will be reteaming with his Titanic lead Kate Winslet for Avatar 2, relying on the underwater training the Oscar winner no doubt learned on Titanic to explore some new water settings that the sequel will utilize. Cameron has talked about the amount of Avatar 3 and 4 he already has filmed, so expect this sequel to feed right into the next chapters, as Cameron keeps the Avatar train running. 

Right now, Avatar 2 is opening in December on the same date as Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. Those two movies will be going after the same audiences (and will no doubt want access to IMAX screens), so I wonder if one of the blinks and moves. Keep an eye on our listing of upcoming 2022 movies to see if anything shifts.

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.