The young actors who will play Jake and Neytiri’s children in Avatar 2 have been revealed in a first-look photo. After years of planning, filming finally got underway Monday on writer-director James Cameron’s Avatar 2, the first of four sequels to the filmmaker’s sci-fi opus that will be shot consecutively and released in 2020, 2021, 2024 and 2025.
Of course, the first Avatar film made its historical mark on film when it was released in 2009, going on to earn to earn nine Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Best Director; and winning three (for its visual effects, cinematography and art direction). More than anything, the film – which chronicled the plight of the blue-skinned, 10-foot-tall aliens on the far, far away world of Pandora – was an groundbreaking smash with moviegoers, as it earned more than $2.78 billion worldwide, beating Cameron’s other mega-blockbuster film, Titanic (which earned $2.18 billion globally).
Now that filming is underway after Cameron spent years toiling away at writing scripts for the rest of the series (which is officially know as the Avatar Sequels), some pieces of the plot of Avatar 2 are starting to be revealed. With the release of the film coming 11 years after the original, apparently Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) have been very busy in the interim raising a family.
In a new photo exclusive to EW, the youth cast has been revealed. Three of the seven children pictured belong to Jake & Neytiri, while three others belong to another Pandorian clan called the Metkayina, “who dwell on giant oceanic atoll reefs under the rule of a leader named Tonowari (Cliff Curtis).”
Their film likenesses, naturally, will differ greatly once their motion capture work is done and the characters are rendered, so at this point it’s tough determine what their characters will look like when all is said and done. The only actor who was cast as a human characters is 12-year-old is Jack Champion (who will play Javier “Spider” Socorro, a teenager born at the Hell’s Gate military complex on Pandora), a location that was key in the original Avatar.
In an interview with EW, Cameron’s longtime producer Jon Landau says the roles the child actors play in Avatar 2 is just the beginning of their involvement in the series. He says:
“We never had this youthful element before, and that brings a different kind of energy to the film. They represent the future generation of Pandora and play a very significant role—not just in this movie but throughout all the movies.”
Without question, the Avatar Sequels is the most ambitious project any filmmaker has undertaken in Hollywood, but if anybody has proven they can defy the odds with risky, big-budget projects, it’s Cameron. Naturally, part of the risk here is that he’s bringing aboard a largely unknown young cast, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be up to the task (look what the group of relative newcomers did for IT). Besides, they’ll have a group of seasoned actors on set to help guide them with Worthington, Saldana and Curtis, as well as Sigourney Weaver (Grace Augustine) and Stephen Lang (Miles Quaritch).
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