The Avatar: The Way of the Water Trailer Brings Us Closer to a Mighty Heartbeat

The Avatar: The Way of the Water Trailer Brings Us Closer to a Mighty Heartbeat

by James Cameron Avatar: The Way of the Water has an official trailer.

Director James Cameron spent more than a decade making the first of four planned sequels to his hit 2009 film Avatar. We got our first look at the first of these sequels, Avatar: the way of water, in May with a brief visually stunning teaser that showcased Cameron’s undisputed world-building skill. Still, despite the enthusiasm for the visuals, the overall response was pretty subdued. Perhaps more excitement for the upcoming film will emerge now that we have the full official trailer.

As we previously reported, Cameron wrote a treatment for Avatar in 1994, and it was supposed to be the director’s next big project after finishing his blockbuster Titanic. But Cameron realized the technology didn’t yet exist to make the movie he envisioned. He spent several years developing what he needed, including a state-of-the-art virtual camera system to direct motion capture scenes. (He compared it to “a big, powerful game engine.”)

The finished film set new box office records upon its release; it was the highest-grossing film until Avengers: Endgame briefly took the top spot in 2019. (A March 2021 Chinese re-release put Avatar back to top.) Reviews were mostly positive, praising the technological achievements, though some pointed out that the storytelling suffered. Cameron also consulted with several scientists when designing the world of Pandora (a moon orbiting a gas giant exoplanet called Polyphemus in the Alpha Centauri A system). Avatar was nominated for nine Academy Awards, ultimately winning Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, and Best Visual Effects.

Even before Avatar, Cameron expressed his hope to make two sequels, expanding the scope of the story to include other moons of Polyphemus. The first would feature Pandora’s Ocean and involve shooting footage at the bottom of the Mariana Trench with a deep-sea submersible. But again, he needed a technology that didn’t yet exist, namely to film motion capture scenes underwater.

Enlarge / Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) passes on useful skills to his offspring

YouTube/20th Century Studios

Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana reprise their roles as Jake Sully and Neytiri respectively. Jake decided to permanently merge with his avatar at the end of the first movie so he could be with Neytiri and start a family on Pandora. According to the official synopsis: “More than a decade after the events of the first film, Avatar: The Way of the Water begins to tell the story of the Sully family (Jake, Neytiri and their children), the problems that follow them, the efforts they go to to protect themselves, the battles they fight to stay alive and the tragedies that they endure.”

Jamie Flatters, Britain Dalton and Trinity Bliss play the couple’s three children (Neteyam, Lo-ak and Tuk), while Jack Champion plays a teenager named Spider, who is born on the human base and is rescued and adopted by the couple. Sigourney Weaver (Dr. Grace Augustine), Stephen Lang (Colonel Miles Quaritch), and Matt Gerald (Corporal Lyle Wainfleet) will also return, though all three of their characters died in the original. And CCH Pounder returns as Mo’at, Neytiri’s mother and the spiritual leader of the Omaticaya clan.

This new trailer doesn’t give us many more plot details, but Cameron still knew how to tell a gripping story. We know that the Sully clan will be forced out of their home when humans once again stir up trouble on Pandora. This leads them to seek refuge with an underwater tribe of Na’vi, who are initially reluctant to accept newcomers, lest they bring “their war” to this other tribe. The trailer shows the Scully family adjusting to their new surroundings despite some tension at being “outcasts”. But another clash with humans is inevitable.

Avatar: The Way of the Water in theaters December 16, 2022. Avatar 3 (filmed at the same time as The way of the water) is slated for release on December 20, 2024.

Ad image by YouTube/20th Century Studios

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