The first teaser trailer for 20th Century Studios’ Avatar: The Way of Water is finally online.
The footage is the same that was shown to those in attendance at CinemaCon, as well as the same footage that screened ahead of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
The Way of Water is the follow-up to James Cameron’s landmark 2009 blockbuster that on a group of humans using avatars to infiltrate Pandora’s Na’vi after depleting Earth’s resources. With its groundbreaking 3D technology and multiple re-releases, Avatar went on to become the highest-grossing film of all time, and after being dethroned by Avengers: Endgame, it reclaimed its title, with a current worldwide box office total of $2.85 billion.
The first of four planned sequels, The Way of Water faced a number of production delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even before that, however, Cameron explained in 2019 why the follow-ups were taking so long to complete. “People don’t really understand the scope and complexity of the process,” he said. “It’s like making two and a half big animated films. A typical big animated film takes about four years, so, if you do the math on that, we’re kind of right on schedule for December 2021 (the release would be delayed a full year during the pandemic). From 2013 until now we’ve mostly designed the whole world across four new movies. We’ve written, finished scripts for all four of those films. We’ve cast them, and we’ve [performance] captured movie 2, movie 3, and the first part of movie 4.”
The following year, producer Jon Landau gave fans a brief tease of what to expect from Avatar 2‘s plot. “This is the story of the Sully family and what one does to keep their family together,” he explained. “Jake and Neytiri have a family in this movie, they are forced to leave their home, they go out and explore the different regions of Pandora, including spending quite a bit of time on the water, around the water, in the water.”
After a lengthy shoot, The Way of Water wrapped production in September 2020. “Covid hit us like it hit everybody… We lost about four and a half months of production,” Cameron said at the time. “As a result of that, we’ve rolled around one more full year for a release in December of 2022. That’s been announced already. Now that doesn’t mean I have an extra year to finish the film, because the day we deliver Avatar 2 we’ll just start working on finishing Avatar 3.”
Avatar: The Way of Water arrives in theaters Dec. 16.