First ‘Avatar 2’ Footage Finally Makes Debut at CinemaCon – in 3D

The first of four planned sequels to James Cameron’s 2009 mega blockbuster drops in theaters Dec. 16

Avatar 2
Photo: 20th Century

The wait is finally over. After more than a decade since the release of James Cameron’s epic sci-fi blockbuster “Avatar,” the director has finally debuted the first look at “Avatar 2” to the CinemaCon crowd.

Disney during its presentation to CinemaCon on Wednesday handed out 3D goggles to everyone in the crowd and showed actual footage from “Avatar 2,” and producer Jon Landau was on hand to present the footage. He additionally announced that the original “Avatar” would be re-released in theaters on September 23 globally.

The second film is officially called “Avatar: The Way of Water,” and Disney’s distribution chief said the trailer will debut exclusively ahead of “Doctor Strange 2” next week, followed by an online release the following week.

In addition to seeing an older and wiser Jake Sully in his Avatar form and an expanded world on Pandora, it also showcased its incredible underwater cinematography that looked extra special in the 3D goggles, including Sully riding some aquatic monsters.

“I know one thing, wherever we go, this family is our fortress,” Sam Worthington says in the teaser trailer.

Landau said the Sully family of Jake and Neytiri would be the center of each movie, that each would have its own standalone story and would have its own emotional closure but would have an overarching thread across the four movies to “achieve a greater saga.”

Cameron, who in 2016 announced plans for four sequels, also shared a brief recorded message about the movie, first acknowledging that it’s been rough on the exhibition community in the hardest way for the last 40 years that he’s been making movies. But he also said that he hoped to elevate the theatrical experience with the first film and do the same with the new one.

“We’re pushing those limits even farther, with 3D, high dynamic range, high frame rate, higher resolution…but it’s not just the technical,” he said.

In case you forgot just how massive “Avatar” was upon its release in 2009, the movie rules, and if you can manage to see it in 3D, still looks ahead of its time. But Cameron has patiently taken his time on the follow-ups, planning them since 2012 and suggesting that he would only release a new film once the technology had truly advanced to take a next big leap.

“Avatar” made $2.7 billion worldwide upon its original release, and it even made another $57 million in China when it was re-released last year. For a time, it was the biggest movie release of all time, topping Cameron’s previous record holder “Titanic.” It has since been passed domestically by “Star Wars Episode VII,” “Avengers: Endgame” and last year’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”

Some of the newcomers of the cast for “Avatar: The Way of Water” include Kate Winslet and Cliff Curtis, who join the original cast of Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang.