Over a decade after the first Avatar movie set records at the global box office, sequel Avatar: The Way of Water is about to finally hit theaters on December 16. It seems like a long time since we first met Jake Sully and Neytiri on Pandora as they fought off the moon’s human colonizing forces together, but this kind of delay is not without precedent for the film’s director James Cameron, as he had originally intended the first movie to be released back in 1999 as his next project following Titanic. However, the technology just wasn’t up to scratch for Cameron’s vision, and it would be a decade later in 2009 that Avatar arrived on screens, many of them utilizing big advances in 3D viewing.
It may be true that Avatar has made an eye-watering amount of money since its original release – almost $3 billion to date – but the long-in-development sequel has its own mountain to climb now that it’s ready to begin its box office journey. Some still aren’t sure the first movie even needed a sequel, others have lost interest in Avatar altogether, while the more die hard fans have waited a long time to see Cameron’s ideas for his Avatar franchise expanded into a fully-fledged universe. 20th Century Studios are likely also hoping that The Way of Water makes a big splash – with an estimated budget of $350–400 million, it’s one of the most expensive films ever made.
Here’s the official synopsis for the new film:
Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, Avatar: The Way of Water tells the story of the Sully family, 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.
And here are those early reactions to The Way of Water.
Directed by James Cameron, who co-wrote the screenplay with Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, Avatar: The Way of Water stars Sam Worthington as Jake Sully, Zoe Saldaña as Neytiri, Stephen Lang as Colonel Miles Quaritch, Joel David Moore as Dr. Norm Spellman, CCH Pounder as Mo’at, Giovanni Ribisi as Parker Selfridge, Dileep Rao as Dr. Max Patel, Matt Gerald as Corporal Lyle Wainfleet, Sigourney Weaver as Kiri, Kate Winslet as Ronal, Cliff Curtis as Tonowari, Edie Falco as General Frances Ardmore, Jemaine Clement as Dr. Ian Garvin, and Brendan Cowell as Captain Mick Scoresby.
Avatar: The Way of Water opens on Dec. 16.