The 2009 film Avatar became the world’s highest-grossing movie of all time…and then it was over. Until now. Fans will be happy to know that Avatar 2 is coming soon.
The Process of Creating Avatar 2
How does one react to their movie becoming the highest-grossing title of all time? Although James Cameron seemed to stop in his tracks, he’s actually been working on the second movie all this time. Avatar 2, the long-awaited sequel to the 2009 hit, will be one of four planned follow-up films. Most of this second film, Avatar: The Way of Water, will be set underwater. That said, Avatar 2 needed a ton of research and preparation for a successful filming process.
In 2012, Cameron was the only one working on the sequel. Then, a writing team joined Avatar 2. They ended up creating a specific outline for the four worlds of Pandora. Avatar: The Way of Water has been in various stages of filming since 2017. The story is set 14 years after the original Avatar movie. In this time period, former human Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Na’vi warrior Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) have already started their own family, which they are striving to care for.
In 2022, we are closer to seeing the second part now more than ever, and Cameron is ecstatic to share the news. “It sounds kind of nuts, the process,” the filmmaker shared. “I mean, if Avatar hadn’t made so much damn money, we’d never do this — because it’s kind of crazy.” In fact, the film isn’t “kind of crazy,” it verges on the insane…
What about this new universe surrounded by water? Both Avatar 2 and 3 will be mostly set in the ocean and focus on a new Pandoran clan. The Metkayina of this movie live in a sought-after seaside paradise. Cameron actually loves the sea even more than forests, which is part of what inspired the setting for the sequel. In 2012, the director even went down to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. “I do the ocean thing when I’m not making movies,” he said. “So if I could combine my two greatest loves — one of which is ocean exploration; the other, feature filmmaking — why wouldn’t I?”
Of course, there were many challenges during Avatar 2’s filming. First of all, the motion capture technology used for the first film wouldn’t work underwater. They had to film without it. So, animators from visual-effects company Wētā FX worked on the magical transition in post-production instead. Secondly, most producers didn’t believe in Cameron’s plan to film in a huge tank of water. “My colleagues within the production really lobbied heavily for us to do it ‘dry for wet,’ hanging people on wires,” Cameron explained. “I said, ‘It’s not going to work. It’s not going to look real.’” Thankfully, actresses like Sigourney Weaver and Kate Winslet did a fantastic job holding their breath for up to eight minutes.
So far, Avatar 2 is set to be ready in 2024, while Avatar 3 and Avatar 4 will come out in 2026 and 2028. “Big, expensive films have got to make a lot of money. We’re in a new world post-COVID, post-streaming. Maybe those [box office] numbers will never be seen again,” Cameron said. “Who knows? It’s all a big roll of the dice.”