There was famously a gap of 13 years between the release of the first Avatar film and sequel The Way of Water – but fans won't need to wait nearly so long for the third intstalment in James Cameron's big-budget franchise.

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Avatar 3 is currently slated to arrive in cinemas in December 2024, and now some of the film's animators have teased what will be in store for viewers on our next visit to Pandora, with the world set to be expanded even further.

Speaking after winning the Best Special Visual Effects Award at tonight's Film BAFTAs, Richard Baneham and Joe Letteri explained that although they couldn't give anything away about the film's plot, there were a few things they could reveal.

"It's fair to say we are expanding the world and you will be exposed to different biomes and new tribes," Baneham explained.

"And that was the idea even behind this one," added Letteri. "A lot of people asked after the first one, where is Jim [Cameron] going to take it? But his idea – and he's talked about this – is that it's a big planet and there are a lot of stories to tell. And I think that's what's great about it is we have this license to explore."

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Asked if there would be any further improvements in the visual effects for Avatar 3 despite the shorter gap between films, Letteri replied, "We hope so – let us know in a couple of years!"

Filming on the third film actually took place back to back with The Way of Water, with production wrapping in late December 2020.

Avatar Way of Water Zoe and Jake
Avatar: The Way of Water 20th Century

Stars such as Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, and Kate Winslet are all returning, while it's also been revealed that Michelle Yeoh, David Thewlis, and Oona Chaplin will be joining the cast as brand new characters.

Avatar: The Way of Water has been another monumental hit at the box office, grossing over $2 billion globally and currently sitting third in the list of highest-grossing films of all time, having recently overtaken Titanic.

In addition to the third film, a fourth and fifth entry of the franchise are also in production – currently slated for release in 2026 and 2028 respectively.

Additional reporting by Lauren Morris.

The EE BAFTA Film Awards 2023 aired on BBC One. Check out more of our Film coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.

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