‘Avatar’ sequel ‘The Way of Water’ stands as one of the most anticipated follow-ups of recent years. And not just because the original film landed in 2009 and we’ve been waiting more than a decade for the next chapter of sci-fi action set on the moon of Pandora.
If there’s a question as to whether a big enough audience is ready to return to Pandora, the success of the original movie’s recent re-release should answer this. And the trailer for the first sequel certainly brings the CG eye candy.
Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ begins to tell the story of the Sully family (Jake (Sam Worthington), Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), and their kids), 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.
Old friends and old foes will be back, including Joel David Moore’s friendly Norm Spellman and Giovanni Ribisi’s corporate stooge Parker Selfridge. Also returning? Sigourney Weaver (switching roles following the death of Dr. Grace Augustine to play Kiri, the adopted teenage daughter of Jake and Neytiri), and Stephen Lang, who is back as the hardass antagonist Colonel Miles Quaritch, revived through use of a creature known as a Recombinant.
Recombinants are avatar clones which hold the memories of human soldiers who have died in battle. This Recombinant will also retain the memories of what happened to him, and how he died, and he’s on a collision course with Jake, set for revenge.
“He’s bigger, he’s bluer, he’s pissed off,” Lang told Empire magazine in July. “But there may possibly be an aspect of humility. When you take two Na’vi arrows in the chest, that’s gonna have some kind of effect on you. He was always a character who moved in straight lines and at right angles. But now he is as lithe as they come. He can move with the same kind of cunning and feral quality that any of the Na’vi can.”
We don’t see much of Miles in the new trailer, but we get plenty of time back with Jake, Neytiri and the new tribe they meet – the water tribe, which gives Cameron and his team plenty of scope to create beautiful undersea vistas that easily rival – or top the forest we came to know in the first movie.
New this time are Cliff Curtis, Edie Falco, Jemaine Clement, and Kate Winslet, who of course starred for the director in ‘Titanic’ and yet somehow agreed to come back and spend lots more hours in liquid.
And all this, of course, is just the first sequel – James Cameron and co. are still hard at work on three sequels. This movie will be followed by the third on December 20, 2024, the fourth on December 18, 2026, and the fifth on December 22, 2028.
‘The Way of Water’, meanwhile, will be arriving in theaters on December 16th.