With still two years to wait until the release of Avatar 2 in December 2021, 20th Century Fox has teased fans with new images from the long-awaited sequels to James Cameron’s 2009 sci-fi blockbuster.
Four pieces of concept art showing previously unseen parts and creatures of Pandora, the fictional alien home world of the Na’vi, were shared on the @OfficialAvatar Twitter account with the caption: “In the #Avatar sequels, you won’t just return to Pandora — you’ll explore new parts of the world. Check out these brand new concept art pieces for a sneak peek at what’s to come.”
In the #Avatar sequels, you won’t just return to Pandora — you’ll explore new parts of the world.— Avatar (@officialavatar) January 7, 2020
Check out these brand new concept art pieces for a sneak peek at what’s to come. pic.twitter.com/bfZPWVa7XZ
The images, which appear to be the work of matte artist Dylan Cole, all focus on the coastlines of Pandora, showing reef-like structures, rock pool habitats, and more of the planet’s trademark floating islands. Polyphemus, the gas giant planet that Pandora orbits, looms larges in the sky in all but one of the new images.
Back in 2010, while promoting the DVD release of Avatar, Cameron said the sequel would take the story out of the lush rainforests of the first film.
“Part of my focus in the second film is in creating a different environment,” Cameron told LA Times, “a different setting within Pandora. And I’m going to be focusing on the ocean on Pandora, which will be equally rich and diverse and crazy and imaginative, but it just won’t be a rain forest.”
Cameron also said that future sequels may explore the other planets that orbit Polyphemus.
"We have some story ideas for how to branch out into other moons of Polyphemus and the Alpha Centauri A solar system," he told Hero Complex (via MTV), but these images all seem to show Pandora.
One image, above, shows two Na’vi (possibly Sam Worthington’s Jake Sully and Zoe Saldana’s Neytiri) sat atop new plesiosaur-inspired sea creatures.
Another shows a team of Na’vi flying mountain banshees out to an island surrounded by mangrove-style swamps, possibly one of the giant oceanic atoll reefs that are home to the Metkayina clan.
Four Avatar sequels are currently in development. Avatar 2 is released on December 17, 2021, while its three sequels will arrive on 22 December, 2023, 19 December, 2025, and 17 December, 2027.
The first sequel is set 12 years after the events of Avatar and will see Jake Sully (in his permanent Na’vi form) living a family life with Neytiri.
Sully is the leader of the Omaticaya clan, who have made new allies in the form of the Metkayina free-diving clan led by Tonowar (Cliff Curtis). Kate Winslet’s Ronal, who the British actress described as "a pivotal character in the ongoing story", is another member of the Metkayina clan.
The sequel will also see the return of the RDA (Resources Development Administration), the mining corporation expelled from Pandora by the Na’vi at the climax of the previous film.
The sequels will also introduce a new generation of cast members to the franchise too. Britain Dalton, Filip Geljo, Jamie Flatters, Bailey Bass, Trinity Bliss, and Duane Evans Jr. all play young Na’vi, while Jack Champion plays Javier “Spider” Socorro, a human teenager born at the Hell’s Gate military complex.
“We never had this youthful element before, and that brings a different kind of energy to the film,” producer Jon Landau told EW. “They represent the future generation of Pandora and play a very significant role — not just in this movie but throughout all the movies.”
Two sequels were first confirmed in 2010 and were due to be released in 2014 and 2015. These were eventually delayed, with Cameron confirming plans for four sequels in 2013. They’ve been delayed a number of times since, but production finally got underway in New Zealand in 2017 with Cameron shooting motion capture for the first two sequels back-to-back.
That's a wrap, Na'vi Nation! 💙— Avatar (@officialavatar) November 29, 2019
It's our last day of live-action filming in 2019, and we're celebrating with a sneak peek. 👀
Check out this photo of the aft well deck section of the Sea Dragon, a massive mothership that carries an array of other sea-going craft in the sequels. pic.twitter.com/AXgAve6aTG
Live action filming for the sequels got underway in the spring of 2019, and will continue into 2020.
The new concept art was first revealed at CES in Las Vegas, when Mercedes revealed the Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR, a new Avatar-inspired concept car, during the Daimler Keynote.
“The name of the groundbreaking concept vehicle stands not only for the close collaboration in developing the showcar together with the AVATAR team but also for ADVANCED VEHICLE TRANSFORMATION,” explains a press release. “This concept vehicle embodies the vision of Mercedes-Benz designers, engineers and trend researchers for mobility in the distant future.”
The blurb boasts that the car has a “biometric connection” with the driver: “Instead of a conventional steering wheel, the multifunctional control element in the centre console allows human and machine to merge. By placing the hand on the control unit, the interior comes to life and the vehicle recognises the driver by his or her heartbeat and breathing.”
Avatar 2 is coming to cinemas on 17 December, 2021.