Set more than 10 years after the events of 2009’s Avatar, James Cameron’s long-awaited sequel, Avatar: The Way of the Water finds a fully Navi-ified Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña), and their since-born kids sticking it out on Pandora. Little is known about the plot of the film, other than that it will follow “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.” Plus lots of water!
Thankfully, a new trailer, which premiered during Good Morning America on Wednesday, sheds a bit more radiant light on the December release. Visually, it’s giving us the fully sparkly and extremely blue David-Attenborough-on-mushrooms vibes that we expect, plenty of space-whale action, some fiery humans-are-bad tableaux, and a surprising Titanic callback as characters navigate some kind of sinking structure.
Besides reintroducing viewers to Jake and Neytiri, the trailer has a particular focus on Kiri, their adoptive teenage daughter, brought to life by 72-year-old Sigourney Weaver through the power of performance capture — a startling casting choice that only Cameron would attempt, and that seems from this trailer to have come off, against the odds. Weaver played a human scientist in the first film, but returns for the sequel as one of the aliens. Movie magic rules.
We also hear from Cliff Curtis’ Tonowari, the not particularly welcoming leader of a different Na’vi clan, and it looks like there’s a classic Romeo-and-Juliet romance brewing between Jake and Neytiri’s son Lo’ak (Britain Dalton) and Tonowari’s daughter Tsireya (Bailey Bass) in another potential echo of Titanic.
Avatar: The Way of the Water also sees the return of Stephen Lang, Joel David Moore, CCH Pounder, and Giovanni Ribisi, while Kate Winslet (yet another Titanic callback), Edie Falco, Cliff Curtis, and Jemaine Clement round out the new cast. The movie will be released in theaters on Dec. 16.