Find out how long "Avatar 2" is, as well as the cast, release date and behind-the-scenes details of "Avatar: The Way of Water."
After 13 years, the first Avatar sequel is finally on the way—and director James Cameron cannot stop talking up Avatar: The Way of Water. There are a few reasons for that, one of which may be that the movie needs quite a bit of hype to break even with its massive budget.
Cameron himself called Avatar 2 “the worst business case in movie history,” admitting to GQ, “You have to be the third or fourth highest-grossing film in history. That’s your threshold. That’s your break even.”
He added, "I used to be really defensive about that because it was always the first thing anybody would mention. And now I’m like, if I can make a business case to spend a billion dollars on a movie, I will f-----g do it. Do you want to know why? Because we don’t put it all on a pile and light it on fire. We give it to people. If the studio agrees and thinks it’s a good investment, as opposed to buying an oil lease off of the north of Scotland, which somebody would think was a good investment, why not do it?”
If the demand is still there, he should be fine: Following its recent theatrical re-release, the original 2009 Avatar remains the highest-grossing movie of all time with $2.9 billion, not adjusted for inflation.
That said, here are all your questions about Avatar 2 answered, including the Avatar: The Way of Water cast, release date and more.
When is the Avatar: The Way of Water release date?
Avatar: The Way of Water will be released in theaters Dec. 16, 2022.
Why is the Avatar 2 wait so long?
Most movies generally don't have 13 years between an original film and its sequel. Cameron reportedly wanted to wait until he had the right technology necessary to film underwater for Avatar: The Way of Water.
Who is in the Avatar: The Way of Water cast?
The cast of Avatar 2 includes many returning members of the original 2009 Avatar cast—with one castmember taking on a new role.
Sam Worthington as Jake Sully
Sam Worthington returns as Jake Sully, a former human who has fully integrated himself with the Na'vi society. On returning to the franchise, Worthington told Variety, "When I did the first one, I was 30. And when the second one comes out, I’m gonna be pushing 50. In the first one I was in a wheelchair, you know. And by the time we get to the fourth and fifth, I might actually be in a wheelchair by the time we get to do it.”
Zoe Saldana as Neytiri
Zoe Saldana also returns as Neytiri, a Na'vi woman who fell in love with Jake Sully. "I think that through the Metkayina tribe, and their world, we're going to immerse ourselves in something that we have never seen before," she said during an interview with Fandango. "And it will be also just as groundbreaking as Avatar was."
Sigourney Weaver as Kiri
Sigourney Weaver plays Kiri, Jake and Neytiri's daughter. Weaver was in the first film, although she's playing a different role this time. She discussed the elaborate filming process with Fandango, saying, "it's going to be such a complete immersion of the audience into this foreign beautiful world and I think it really does that for people."
Stephen Lang as Colonel Quaritch
Stephen Lang returns as Colonel Quaritch, who died in the first movie. His character will return, resurrected as a Na'vi warrior and is out for revenge. "He's bigger, he's bluer, he's pissed off," he told Empire Magazine. "But there may possibly be an aspect of humility."
Kate Winslet as Ronal
Kate Winslet plays Ronal, a member of the reef people. She learned to free dive for this movie and actually had to hold her breath for seven minutes for one scene. She told Collider, "That was quite scary. The thing is, when you can hold your breath for seven minutes, you become unafraid. Actually, strangely, I was able to rely on my own ability to hold my breath for that long."
Who is the director of Avatar 2?
James Cameron returns to direct Avatar: The Way of Water. He told GQ, “I’m a storyteller and there’s a story to be told. Anything I need to say about conservation and sustainability and all of these themes, the pros and cons of technology and where the human race is headed and all that sort of thing, I could say within that greater landscape.”
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What is the Avatar 2 runtime?
Avatar: The Way of Water is set to be a looooong movie, and Cameron outright refused to truncate it one bit. The runtime is reportedly three hours and 10 minutes.
Cameron explained to Total Film, “The goal is to tell an extremely compelling story on an emotional basis. I would say the emphasis in the new film is more on character, more on story, more on relationships, more on emotion. We didn’t spend as much time on relationship and emotion in the first film as we do in the second film, and it’s a longer film, because there’s more characters to service. There’s more story to service.”
Of course, Cameron being Cameron, he also had choice words for anyone not enthused about the length of the sequel.
“I don’t want anybody whining about length when they sit and binge-watch [television] for eight hours,” he griped to Empire Magazine. “I can almost write this part of the review. ‘The agonizingly long three-hour movie…’ It’s like, give me a f-----g break. I’ve watched my kids sit and do five one-hour episodes in a row. Here’s the big social paradigm shift that has to happen: It’s OK to get up and go pee.”
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What is Avatar: The Way of Water about?
According to the official plot synopsis from 20th Century Films, Avatar: The Way of Water is set a decade after the events of the previous film. Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) now has a family with Neytiri and has to keep them safe from threats both from above (as in, humanity) and from Pandora itself.
Cameron told GQ that the story is a family-focused one—while shading Marvel films.
“What do two characters who are warriors, who take chances and have no fear, do when they have children and they still have the epic struggle? Their instinct is to be fearless and do crazy things," Cameron said. "Jump off cliffs, dive-bomb into the middle of an enemy armada, but you’ve got kids. What does that look like in a family setting?”
He added, “I was consciously thinking to myself, 'OK, all these superheroes, they never have kids. They never really have to deal with the real things that hold you down and give you feet of clay in the real world.'” (Of course, the late Tony Stark/Iron Man, the late King T'Challa/Black Panther, Clint Barton/Hawkeye and Scott Lang/Ant-Man each have children that play key roles in later Marvel projects, but sure.)
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Is there an Avatar: The Way of Water trailer?
The first teaser trailer for Avatar 2 premiered at CinemaCon 2022 in April of this year. The brief trailer didn't reveal any plot details, but it showcased the film's new locations, including the underwater shots.
The first full trailer was released in early November 2022 and shows Jake and Neytiri interacting with their adopted daughter, Kiri, who discusses hearing a heartbeat that sounds mighty. The Na'vi are then shown in conflict with various mech suits and a group of Na'vi that appears to have embraced technology.
The final trailer was released on Nov. 21, 2022. It shows Jake and other members of his tribe meeting up with the reef people, a tribe of Na'vi that live near the water. The forest Na'vi then try to learn the ways of the water Na'vi, before it's revealed that humans are back and will come into conflict with the Na'vi again.
Will Avatar 2 be on streaming?
Avatar: The Way of Water does not have a streaming release date yet. Depending on how successful the movie is, it will likely appear on streaming services a few months after the theatrical release date. Since the film is being released by Disney through 20th Century Studios, it will likely be available to stream on Disney+ and/or Hulu.
Will Avatar: The Way of Water be on Disney+?
Because Avatar: The Way of Water is from 20th Century Studios, it likely will stream on Disney+ after its theatrical run.