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Avatar returns to theaters in 4K HDR in September, pulled from Disney Plus

Pandora returns to the big screen ahead of Avatar: The Way of Water’s release

Toussaint Egan is an associate curation editor, out to highlight the best movies, TV, anime, comics, and games. He has been writing professionally for over 8 years.

Good news, Na’vi nation: James Cameron’s Avatar is returning to movie theaters on Sept. 23 with a new 4K High Dynamic Range presentation, just in time for the release of the film’s long-awaited sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water. Here’s the kicker though: In order to drum up anticipation for the rerelease, the original Avatar has been removed from Disney Plus temporarily.

The move is neither surprising nor an uncommon turn of events. After all, it was just earlier this year that Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather trilogy was removed from Paramount Plus prior to the 50th anniversary theatrical run of the 4K restoration of the films before being re-added to the streaming service. Likewise, Variety reports that Avatar will return to Disney Plus at an “unspecified time” before Avatar: The Way of Water’s release on Dec. 16.

Avatar — not to be confused with Avatar: The Last Airbender — stars Sam Worthington as Jake Sully, a disabled marine from 22nd century Earth who journeys to the fictional moon of Pandora as part of a military operation. Melding his mind with a genetically engineered body patterned after the moon’s native Na’vi species, Jake meets and falls in love with Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña), a member of the Na’vi before rebelling against the human forces to protect his adopted home.

Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, Avatar: The Way of Water will tell the story of Jake and Neytiri’s family as they fight to survive following the return of the humans to Pandora. The sequel, which features both returning cast members such as Sigourney Weaver and Giovanni Ribisi along with new characters played by Kate Winslet and Michelle Yeoh, will prominently feature several scenes set underwater, of which Cameron has gone to extraordinary lengths to film via motion capture technology.

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