Is the Walt Disney World Resort secretly hinting at the storyline for Avatar 3 through Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park?
After the blockbuster success of James Cameron’s Avatar (2009), the then-Fox Studios director entered a franchise deal with Disney Parks to bring Pandora – The World of Avatar to Disney’s Animal Kingdom by 2017. Despite the extremely science fiction fantasy setting compared to the Disney Park’s other areas, such as Africa, Asia, and Dinoland, U.S.A., the film’s themes of cultural preservation and ecological restoration following colonizing forces fit well with the overall narrative through attractions like Na’vi River Journey.
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Afterward, the Walt Disney Company entered a deal with Fox, purchasing the film corporation outright and creating 20th Century Studios, a Disney subsidiary. Accordingly, Disney received the rights to popular franchises such as The Simpsons, which ironically has its home at rival Universal Studios theme parks, and the monumentally successful Avatar franchise.
In fact, due to this relationship, Disney CEO Bob Iger recently announced further expansion of the Avatar world within Disney Parks, such as a new experience at the Southern California Disneyland Resort, as well as continued additions to Walt Disney World’s Pandora. For instance, Guests have already noticed elements of the 2022 sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, within the existing Avatar: Flight of Passage attraction, which Cameron himself said Disney could update to include future storylines as the series progresses.
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Notably, the Lightstorm Entertainment executive has confirmed multiple installments coming for Avatar, including an imminent third film which will explore not just future generations of Pandora’s human and extraterrestrial residents but also the different biomes and societies inhabiting the diverse bioluminescent moon.
According to The Direct, production designer Dylan Cole says the team approaches Pandora’s makeup with a “National Geographic lens of reality,” creating diverse environments throughout the habitable exoplanetary satellite like our own Earth. Moreover, Cameron told Deadline that in addition to the Omatikaya, or rainforest-dwelling Na’vi, and their coastal Metkayina counterparts, the Pandora world also includes Na’vi people who inhabit the desert, arctic, and even fire-related areas.
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Furthermore, while the “fire-people” will feature heavily in the third film, with Na’vi characters portrayed by legends such as Game of Thrones’ Oona Chaplin, it will also introduce a nomadic desert tribe called the “Windtraders.”
Indeed, it seems Walt Disney Imagineering and Cameron have already included references to this clan through Animal Kingdom’s Windtraders souvenir shop that was once a human RDA structure. Within the Park storyline, the Na’vi have renovated space to sell “cultural artifacts,” toys inspired by Pandora’s flora, fauna, and many cultures, and Alpha Centauri Expedition merchandise to visitors, once again blending Cameron’s media and Disney Parks content to create outstanding worldbuilding and interdisciplinary lore.