It’s been 13 years since James Cameron introduced viewers to the world of the Na’vi and the exoplanetary moon of Pandora, on which the Na’vi live. Avatar premiered in 2009 and starred Sam Worthington Jake Sully, Zoe Saldana as Neytiri, Sigourney Weaver as Dr. Grace Augustine, and Stephen Lang as Colonel Miles Quaritch. Worthington’s character, Jake Sully, was a paraplegic marine who inhabited the body of a human/Na’vi hybrid, called an avatar, to learn about the Na’vi, but they became people he loved and would protect from Colonel Quaritch, no matter the cost.
When it was released, Avatar was an immediate hit — and remains one of the highest-grossing movies of all time. A sequel was announced shortly after the film’s release and was scheduled to come out in 2014. That did not happen, and the film consistently got pushed back for various reasons, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Then, finally, earlier this year, Disney — which purchased 20th Century Fox (the studio behind Avatar) in 2019 — announced that the sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, would be coming to theaters on December 16, 2022.
While Avatar remains an incredibly popular film — Disney even opened Pandora: The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in 2019 — it is possible that fans have grown tired of waiting for the film to come out and may not rush to the theaters to watch the Avatar sequel. So, what happens if Avatar: The Way of Water doesn’t do well in theaters? According to director James Cameron, the third film will still be released, and then, the franchise will most likely end.
In an interview with Total Film, Cameron was incredibly honest about the franchise’s future if The Way of Water underperforms.
“The market could be telling us we’re done in three months, or we might be semi-done, meaning: ‘OK, let’s complete the story within Movie 3, and not go on endlessly,’ if it’s just not profitable. We’re in a different world now than we were when I wrote this stuff, even. It’s the one-two punch — the pandemic and streaming. Or, conversely, maybe we’ll remind people what going to the theater is all about. This film definitely does that. The question is: how many people give a s— now?”
It may seem strange to release the third film in the franchise if the second movie is unsuccessful, but months ago, Cameron said that Avatar 3 was nearly complete, so it wouldn’t make sense to shelve it.
Here is more on Avatar: The Way of Water:
Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, “Avatar: The Way of Water” begins to tell the story of the Sully family — Jake, Neytiri and their kids — and the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive and the tragedies they endure…
If Avatar: The Way of Water sees big returns and positive reviews, Avatar 3 will be released on December 20, 2024. Avatar 4 is scheduled for release on December 18, 2026, and Avatar 5 will finish the franchise with its release on December 22, 2028.