More than a decade since Avatar revolutionized cinema forever with its never-before-seen visuals and special effects, audiences are gearing up for its long-awaited sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water. In alignment with the real-life time that has passed, the second installment is set over 10 years after the events of the original movie concluded. It is set to spotlight the story of Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and his life with his partner Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) and their young children in a newly-threatened Pandora.
Following news of Avatar: The Way of Water‘s upcoming release, eager audiences have had an insatiable appetite for any insight into the James Cameron epic. Now, IMAX has shared a featurette, which delves into the cast’s thoughts on the impending release. “That’s what Jim is very good at, he’s very good at upping the ante,” Worthington said of Cameron’s mastery. “He was very good at ‘we’re gonna add children into this love story, we’re gonna increase the planet and what we see of it.’ If you think you’re going in and seeing a rehash of the first movie, it’s not, it’s an extension.”
Saldaña also weighed in on how the legendary director managed to successfully elevate the Pandora fans know and love from the first film. “The first film was a discovery of the forest, a discovery of Pandora on your Banshee,” she said. “It was unlike anything any of us had ever seen. And now it’s The Way of Water, and it’s a world all on its own and I felt like I was rediscovering Pandora all over again.”
Thematically, it’s clear Avatar 2 will pull on the heartstrings by rooting itself in the concept of family and that is something that was picked up on by Sigourney Weaver, who plays Jake and Neytiri’s daughter, Kiri. “One of the things I love about this film is that you’re introduced to the kids and the story, of course, is about how the family will change,” Weaver said. Audiences are given a taste of this with a handful of shots from the movie showcasing the Sully children navigating self-identity and belonging as they move from the familiar forest to a life amongst the waves. One tender moment shows Jake playing with the children before bringing them in for a warm embrace. Whilst another showcases him delivering a chilling speech on the importance of blood ties when he tells one of his children, “wherever we go this family is our fortress.”
With all the excitement around the film, it’s impossible to ignore just how high the stakes are. As well as transforming the face of film and leaving a legacy that few films can compete with, Avatar also blew its competition out of the water at the box office when it secured $2.9 billion at the global box office. Following a higher quality re-release earlier this year, it has become the first film of all time to amass $2.9 billion at the lifetime box office. If Avatar: The Way of Water takes off in the way it’s expected to, a string of sequels could follow in quick succession with filming for Avatar 3 wrapped and Avatar 4 well underway. In fact, there is scope for the Avatar universe to spur a life-long legacy with Cameron revealing he has ideas for a sixth and seventh installment too. If all goes to plan, Avatar could become one of the biggest film series in history.
Avatar: The Way of Water takes flight in theaters on December 16 and will be available to watch in IMAX. You can watch the featurette below.