When are the Avatar sequels released in cinemas? How many are there and who’s in the cast?

James Cameron is hard at work on FOUR follow-ups to his 2009 hit. Here's everything we know about them...

Neytiri (Zoë Saldana, right) teaches Jake (Sam Worthington) in Avatar (Sky, EH)

James Cameron is currently working on FOUR sequels to his CGI mega-hit Avatar.

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Talk of sequels (initially two, now bumped up to four) began straight after the film had landed in 2009. It is the highest grossing movie of all time, after all, with a whopping $2.8 billion at the global box office.

After significant delays, production finally began in September 2018, with the first film – led by Kate Winslet – set to be released in 2020.

Find out everything you need to know about Avatar two, three, four and five below.

When are the Avatar sequels released in cinemas?

The first sequel was slated for release on 18th December 2020, but has since been moved back to 17th December 2021. This will be followed by Avatar 3 on 22th December 2023. Then there will be a three-year break, with Avatar 4 arriving on 19th December 2025, and 5 coming on 17th December 2027.

That is if everything goes to plan, which it hasn’t so far. The first film was originally scheduled to be released in 2016…

What are the Avatar sequels called?

BBC News reported that it had “seen documentation” which revealed the titles for the four sequels as the following:

  • Avatar: The Way of Water
  • Avatar: The Seed Bearer
  • Avatar: The Tulkun Rider
  • Avatar: The Quest for Eywa

Nothing has been officially confirmed yet, though…

Who is in the cast for the Avatar sequels?

The core cast from the original film, including Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver and Sam Worthington, are all on long-running contracts, so they will be returning.

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Some big names have been added to the cast, too, including Kate Winslet, Edie Falco, Oona Chaplin, Vin Diesel, Star Trek: Discovery’s Michelle Yeoh and The Walking Dead’s Cliff Curtis.

Kate Winslet Getty

Winslet will play a character called Ronal in her first collaboration with Cameron since 1997’s Titanic (the second highest-grossing film of all time).

What is going to happen in the Avatar sequels?

James Cameron has revealed only a few details about the sequels. The first, and most important, is that much of it will take place underwater.

“There’s a tremendous amount of water work across Avatar 2 and 3,” Cameron told Collider. “It’s ongoing into 4 and 5, but the emphasis is on 2 and 3.”

We also know that each sequel will be a standalone story, rather than another instalment in a serialised story.

“Each movie is a standalone movie that we would want to go see,” producer Jon Landau said. “You don’t need to have seen the first Avatar to see Avatar 2. It sits there and we’re gonna take people on a visual and an emotional journey that comes to its own conclusion.”

Cameron has said that Kate Winslet’s Ronal is a character who’s “part of the Sea People, the reef people”, which makes us think she might play a significant part in Avatar 2, which is allegedly called The Way of the Water.

Everything else is up in the air, but we expect more details to come out as we get closer to that December 2020 release date – check back here for more info as we have it.

Why has it taken so long?

The films have been delayed because Cameron is intent on making them a technological marvel on the same scale as the original. To do, he has turned to underwater CGI, which has never been done in any great measure beforehand, and has meant a long spell of pre-production.

Cameron explained the main issues of this filming technique in an interview with Collider:

“The problem with water is not the underwater part, but the interface between the air and the water, which forms a moving mirror,” he said. “That moving mirror reflects all the dots and markers, and it creates a bunch of false markers. It’s a little bit like a fighter plane dumping a bunch of chaff to confuse the radar system of a missile. It creates thousands of false targets, so we’ve had to figure out how to get around that problem, which we did.

“Basically, whenever you add water to any problem, it just gets ten times harder. So, we’ve thrown a lot of horsepower, innovation, imagination and new technology at the problem, and it’s taken us about a year and a half now to work out how we’re going to do it.”

On top of this, Cameron’s desire to have all four sequels written and ready to go before shooting began on Avatar 2 slowed things down quite a bit.

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“The scripts took four years,” he told Vanity Fair. “You can call that a delay, but it’s not really a delay because from the time we pushed the button to really go make the movies [until now,] we’re clicking along perfectly. We’re doing very well because of all the time that we had to develop the system and the pipeline and all that. We weren’t wasting time, we were putting it into tech development and design. So when all the scripts were approved, everything was designed. Every character, every creature, every setting.”