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James Cameron Worried ‘Avatar 2’ Wouldn’t Be Relevant 13 Years After Original — Until the Trailer Hit

Cameron questioned if tapping into nostalgia would benefit the sequel — until "we got 148 million views in 24 hours."

AVATAR, Sam Worthington, 2009. TM & Copyright ©20th Century Fox. All rights reserved/Courtesy Everett Collection


©20thCentFox/Courtesy Everett Collection

Avatar: The Way of Water” is going the way of James Cameron.

The writer/director revealed that despite the 13-year gap between his first “Avatar” film in 2009 and its sequel “The Way of Water,” in theaters December 16, he would never have considered doing a follow-up film within two years of “Avatar.”

“I think I could have made a sequel two years later and have it bomb because people didn’t relate to the characters or the direction of the film,” Cameron told The New York Times. “My personal experience goes like this: I made a sequel called ‘Aliens,’ seven years after the first movie. It was very well received. I made a sequel called ‘Terminator 2,’ seven years after the first movie. It did an order of magnitude of more, in revenue, than the first film.”

But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, “Avatar: The Way of Water” was pushed back to a 2022 release date, almost double the amount of time for a typical Cameron sequel seven years after the first film.

“I was a little concerned that I had stretched the tether too far, in our fast-paced, modern world, with ‘Avatar 2’ coming in 12 years later,” Cameron stated. “Right until we dropped the teaser trailer, and we got 148 million views in 24 hours. There’s that scarce seen but wondered at principle, which is, ‘Wow, we haven’t seen that in a long time, but I remember how cool it was back then.’ Does that play in our favor? I don’t know. I guess we’re going to find out.”

The first film will be re-released in theaters September 23 to drum up excitement for the sequel. The first “Avatar” movie made history, grossing $2 billion, and will now be released with a 4K high dynamic range restoration.

“The Way of Water” tells the story of the Sully family — Jake (Sam Worthington), Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), and their children — as their land becomes torn apart. Per an official synopsis, the Sully family endures danger, battles to the death, and tragedy throughout the film. The couple are displaced from their homes and flee to the Metkayina’s waterworld, which disrupts tribal politics. Cameron directs the feature and produces alongside Jon Landau.

Original stars Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana reprise their respective roles as Jake and Neytiri, with Sigourney Weaver also returning. Franchise newcomers Kate Winslet and Michelle Yeoh also enter the mysterious world of Pandora in yet-undisclosed roles. Stephen Lang, Cliff Curtis, Joel David Moore, CCH Pounder, Edie Falco, and Jemaine Clement also star in the ensemble film.

For all the details on “Avatar: The Way of Water,” click here.

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