James Cameron Reveals When Avatar Will Leave Pandora

By Jessica Scott | Published

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According to CBR, James Cameron has plans to bring Avatar from Pandora to Earth in the fifth movie in the film series. For the second, third, and fourth installments, all the action will take place on Pandora, but the fifth movie will see a juxtaposition of that incredibly vivid, natural world and a future version of Earth that has seen better days.

Cameron says the purpose of this shift in settings for the fifth Avatar installment will be twofold. For one thing, us average humans will get a chance to see what our world could be like in a few hundred years if we don’t start getting our act together and stop polluting our own planet. And for another, the character of Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) has a lot to learn from Earth herself.

In this film, Neytiri, one of the most important characters in the Avatar series, would get to see the homeland of the people who destroyed her home and killed her family. Will this change anything for her in terms of how she feels about humankind? Unfortunately, we may never get to find out.

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While Cameron’s plans extend far beyond the second Avatar film, Avatar: The Way of Water, whiuch will be arriving in theaters on December 16th, those plans won’t come to fruition unless a lot of money is made from this pricey sequel.

The Way of Water was not only more expensive to make than the original Avatar film, but it is actually one of the most expensive films ever to be created in the history of moviemaking. While the actual budget hasn’t been made public, estimates fall in the range of $350 – $400 million.

So, to justify a budget that big (or even bigger for those third, fourth, and fifth planned films), Avatar has to prove that it is a franchise worth its weight in (literal) gold. According to Cameron, The Way of Water can’t just be a hit. It has to become the third or fourth highest-earning film ever to hit theaters just to “break even.”

The outlook so far seems to be good, however. Critics have already been gushing about the “technical mastery and unexpectedly intimate emotional scope” of the film, as well as its incredible worldbuilding. Many have even said that this sequel is actually better than Avatar, which as any Avatar fan will tell you, is really saying something. 

The Way of Water, like Avatar before it, focuses, not just on building the amazing, colorful world of Pandora, but also on the relationships between the characters. While a story that takes place on another planet (well, technically a moon) should feel alien, audiences immediately fell in love with the deep, heartfelt, human emotions in the first film and this second film promises to take this even further. 

Whether The Way of Water will be the final sequel in the Avatar franchise, it is too soon to tell. But if you want to get to the fifth movie in order to see the two worlds of Pandora and Earth collide, you’d better convince everyone you know (and everyone they know) to get out and go watch the sequel when it drops later this month.