It’s a big day for fans of Avatar, the James Cameron film about humans attempting to mine the alien planet of Pandora for its rich resources. The long-delayed sequel, scheduled to come out on Dec. 16, will be titled Avatar: The Way of Water. A new trailer for the movie will launch exclusively in theaters, playing before Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness when it debuts next week.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen occasional behind-the-scenes looks at the filming of Avatar: The Way of Water, but Disney has been light on concrete details about the film or the latest release plan. The film has been delayed and rescheduled many times since its original projected 2014 release.
For those who don’t quite remember what happened in the original 2009 Avatar, Disney is remastering the film and plans to release it in theaters globally on Sept. 23. The sequel will still star Sam Worthington as Jake Sully, a former Marine who takes the role of the titular Avatar, which puts him in the body of one of the native Na’vi of Pandora. While Sully starts out as a spy among the Na’vi, he falls in love with one of them, Neytiri (Zoë Saldana), and eventually fights back against his own Earth military, which is willing to raze the planet in its obsessive, ruthless search for a rare metal known as unobtanium.
Sully and Neytiri both return for the next installation of the franchise, and their family is a core narrative unit not just in The Way of Water, but in the projected plan for four sequels. From the CinemaCon description: “Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, Avatar: The Way of Water begins to tell the story of the Sully family (Jake, Neytiri, and their kids), the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive, and the tragedies they endure.” We’ll have to see how The Way of Water shakes out, and whether it makes the same splash as the first film in the series.