New Avatar Content Is Coming Ahead Of James Cameron’s Sequel, But Not How You’d Think

Jake Sully and Neytiri in Avatar

It’s not exaggerating to say we’ve been waiting a long time for the Avatar franchise to continue. Normally a sequel follows its predecessor just a few years later, but we’re coming up on the 11th anniversary of Avatar’s release, and it’ll be another two years before Avatar 2 finally arrives. However, for those of you who are craving new Avatar content in the meantime, get ready to go comic book shopping.

Dark Horse Comics has announced that it’s launching a comic book series titled Avatar: The Next Shadow, which will be set directly after the first Avatar movie. Take a look:

It had previously been revealed that Avatar 2 will pick up approximately 13 years after the events of Avatar, with Jake Sully and Neytiri having had three children during that period. So it makes to chronicle what went down shortly after Avatar rather than tell a story set too close to Avatar 2, especially if Disney, James Cameron and all other parties in charge of the franchise are looking to keep the sequel’s plot details as closely guarded as possible. Jeremy Barlow is writing Avatar: The Next Shadow, Josh Hood is handling the interior art and Gui Balbi is illustrating the covers.

This marks Dark Horse Comics’ third Avatar-related project, following 2017’s Avatar: Brothers and 2019’s Avatar: Tsu’tey’s Path. However, the former Free Comic Book Day issue and latter limited series were both set during the events of the first movie, whereas Avatar: The Next Shadow marks our first time exploring what happened after the movie that pulled in nearly $2.8 billion worldwide.

Of course, even with more than a decade having passed without a new Avatar movie, comic books aren’t the only way this mythology’s been expanded. In 2017, Pandora — The World of Avatar opened in Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom and features two major attractions: Avatar Flight of Passage and Na'vi River Journey. There was also the video game James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game and the Ciruqe du Soleil production Toruk — The First Flight, both of which were set before the first Avatar movie.

As for what Avatar 2 holds in store, the sequel will see Jake, Neytiri and their children leaving their home and traveling to new regions of Pandora when a familiar threat returns. Along Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana reprising their respective roles, other folks returning include CCH Pounder, Giovanni Ribisi, Matt Gerald, Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang, while the new faces include Kate Winslet, Vin Diesel, Edie Falco, Michelle Yeoh and Oona Chaplain.

You can pick up Avatar: The Next Shadow #1 digitally or at your local comic book store starting January 6, 2021. Avatar 2 is currently expected to hit theaters on December 16, 2022, with the following three Avatar sequels arriving in 2024, 2026 and 2028. Stay tuned to CinemaBlend for more updates on how this franchise is progressing, and learn what movies are intended to play on the big screen next year in our 2021 release schedule.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.