It's been a long time since Avatar was released in 2009, but now we're getting closer and closer to the release of the long-awaited Avatar sequels. Director James Cameron has been hard at work over the last decade to bring the original vision of Avatar to life in subsequent standalone sequels. In 2021, Disney will finally begin releasing his work, returning audiences to the distant planet of Pandora to see what awaits Jake Sully, Neytiri, and the rest of the Na'vi.
Since its release 10 years ago, Avatar has remained the highest-grossing film of all time and helped usher in industry standards of motion capture and 3D. Set in the 22nd century on the planet of Pandora, Avatar followed paraplegic veteran Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), who was given a Na'vi body avatar to remote pilot and help the Resources Development Administration mine the precious ore Unobtainium to be taken back to Earth. In his new body, Jake became close to the Na'vi people through Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) and was soon treated as one of their own. When Jake learned of Colonel Miles Quaritch's (Stephen Lang) plans to destroy the natives, he jumped into action a led a revolt against his human colleagues in order to protect what was rightfully the Na'vi's. Avatar ended with Jake permanently merging with his Na'vi form.
The next four Avatar films will likely follow in the original's footsteps as visually-engaging box office behemoths that will dominate upon release. The anticipation to see how Cameron will continue the saga is steadily growing as information slowly makes its way out. Here's everything we know so far about the next four Avatar films, which are scheduled to be released every other year from 2021 to 2027.
Avatar: The Way of Water - December 17, 2021
We may not know much about other Avatar films but we know plenty about Avatar 2, rumored to be titled Avatar: The Way of Water. The sequel has been discussed pretty much since Avatar released, and after multiple release date changes due to production delays, it's finally set for December 17, 2021. From that point onward, we know a new Avatar film will be released every other year (with Star Wars filling the gaps).
While story details for Avatar 2 are light, a lot is known about the cast. Along with the returning characters both alive and dead (Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang are both confirmed), several high profile new names have been added: Kate Winslet will play a character called Ronal; Edie Falco will play General Ardmore, a character described as "Commander in charge of the RDA's interests"; Game of Thrones actor Brendan Cowell will play Mick Scoresby, the captain of a private sector marine hunting vessel; Michelle Yeoh will play Dr. Karina Mogue; Jemaine Clement will play Dr. Ian Garvin; and David Thewlis is in an unconfirmed role. Vin Diesel has teased his involvement, although without any details. Jake and Netyri's children have also been cast.
Avatar: The Way of Water will quite literally go more in-depth into the world of Pandora. Whereas Avatar was all about what was happening on the land and in the air, The Way of Water will take viewers into the waters of Pandora, playing into Cameron's known obsession with the sea. Developing the technology underwater motion capture is believed to be a reason why the film has taken so long to make. It's expected Avatar 2 will also introduce unseen areas of Pandora, new kinds of underwater creatures, and most importantly, the Metkayina clan, an ocean-based Na'vi clan who believe the ocean has a heart and soul. The title implies a mastery of water will somehow factor into the story, whether that's understand how Eywa, the Pandoran life force worshipped by the Na'vi, works in water or something which lives in the waters of Pandora that demands attention from the natives.
Avatar: The Seed Bearer - December 2023
Avatar 3 is being shot back-to-back with Avatar 2 and will release two years later in December 2023 with the rumored title Avatar: The Seed Bearer. A majority of the cast is expected to return, including Worthington, Weaver, Saldana, Ribisi, and Lang. New cast members Clement, Yeoh, Falco, and Thewlis are also expected to return for the third film in the Avatar franchise.
No specifics about the plot have been revealed but the title - Avatar: The Seed Bearer - could be rather revealing. In the first Avatar film, a pivotal moment involved Quaritch and his men destroying the Tree of Souls, a sacred tree to the Na'vi. From the Tree of Souls come woodsprites, tiny dandelion-like seeds that are considered good omens if they land on someone. The Na'vi treat them as religious objects, placing them on the bodies of the deceased so they can help guide the spirit into the Tree of Souls.
The Seed Bearer could focus on the Na'vi attempting to rebuild the Tree of Souls, searching for woodsprites across Pandora. The title also implies that there might be one particular Na'vi who has a cache of woodsprite seeds to give to the other Na'vi or will be in charge or taking found seeds to a sacred spot to help rebuild the Tree of Souls.
Avatar: The Tulkun Rider - December 2025
Avatar 4 will be shot back-to-back with Avatar 5, similar to the shooting process for Avatar 2 and 3, and is currently set to release in December 2025. The title for Avatar 4 is Avatar: The Tulkun Rider. Again, a majority of the cast are expected to return for this fourth film.
Since "Tulkun" isn't a word that has been used yet in the Avatar mythology, it's anybody's guess what the title means. The "Rider" aspect, however, suggests the film may follow similar beats to the montage where Jake learns to ride the Toruk Makto in Avatar; the Tulkun could be a similar flying beast, possibly even a creature once believed to be extinct or extremely rare.
Avatar: The Quest for Eywa - December 2027
The fifth and final Avatar film will be Avatar: The Quest for Eywa. Slated for a December 2027 release date, very little is known about the movie, although many of the primary actors from previous Avatar films are signed on through to this movie. And, as with Avatar 2 and 3, we can expect that Avatar 4 and 5 will be shot back-to-back.
Avatar: The Quest for Eywa will presumably be the big ending to the Avatar saga. The title refers to the goddess deity known as Eywa worshipped by the Na'vi and said to be the lifeforce which connects everything on the planet Pandora. That means Avatar 5 will surely deal with Eywa directly and discovering her source of power. The first Avatar film touched on the humans' interest in the power of Eywa, so that will likely factor into the core conflict of Avatar 5.
- Avatar 2 (2021) release date: Dec 17, 2021
- Avatar 3 (2023) release date: Dec 22, 2023
- Avatar 4 (2025) release date: Dec 19, 2025
- Avatar 5 (2027) release date: Dec 17, 2027