Everything we know about Avatar 2: release date, plot, cast and more

Neytiri, one of the lead characters in Avatar 2, peering through green leaves
(Image credit: Disney)

We’re less than two months away from the second Avatar movie, so we already know plenty of details about the upcoming science fiction epic from James Cameron. Since it’s hard to keep track of all the major bits and pieces that have been put out, here’s our recap with everything we know (so far) about Avatar 2.

Of course, the second Avatar installment, titled The Way of Water, has to live up to extremely high economic expectations following the first movie’s massive haul at the global box office in 2009 and 2010: $2,847 billion worldwide — also boosted by a 2021 re-release exclusive to China. To this day, the first Avatar still stands tall as the highest grossing movie of all time, though Avengers: Endgame once took that position. Another re-release — international this time around — set for the end of September (opens in new tab) will be adding even more stacks of green to Avatar’s big bag ahead of Avatar 2.

Avatar: The Way of Water’s hefty budget reportedly sits at $250 without marketing costs, effectively making it one of the most expensive movie productions of all time, though those numbers have become not too rare nowadays. 

Despite the aforementioned box office expectations, any haul above $750 million would be just enough to turn a profit for 20th Century Studios and the Disney overlords. However, taking into account that sequels released over short periods of time typically have progressively diminishing returns, larger numbers are needed in order to keep the saga going — three more sequels are planned, with the third entry now deep into post-production and the fourth one shooting as we speak.

Still from the movie Avatar: The Way of Water (2022). Here we see two tall blue pi-pedal creatures called Na'vi (female on the left, male on the right). They both have blue skin with dark blue stripes and long black hair. They have triable tattoos on their face and are wearing some ocean-themed garments.

(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

If you want to learn more about some of the in-universe tech found in the first Avatar, check out our article about Avatar's spaceships and vehicles. Also, be sure to watch the first trailer for Ubisoft’s upcoming Avatar video game, which launches next year.

Read on below to learn about the cast, crew, release date, and more of Avatar 2. Here’s everything we know so far.

When is the Avatar 2 release date?

A character in Avatar 2 riding on the back of winged animal over water

(Image credit: Disney)
  • In theaters December 16, 2022

Avatar 2 is currently set to open exclusively in theaters worldwide starting on December 16, 2022, just in time for Christmas and roughly 13 years after Avatar wowed audiences for the first time. As always, the rollout will be gradual across international territories, but that’s the big date.

As of now, Avatar 3, 4, and 5 are releasing on December 20, 2024, December 18, 2026, and December 22, 2028, respectively.

Will Avatar 2 be released on Disney+ or other streaming services?

We've had no official word about streaming services when it comes to Avatar 2, which means it's almost certainly going to be a theater exclusive when it launches on December 16. 

Looking at previous cinema-exclusive launches, it seems likely that Avatar 2 will have a 30 or 45 day exclusivity period before it drops on streaming services. We'd expect to see it on Disney+ and/or Hulu+, but we've had no official confirmation yet. We'll keep this post updated as new info drops.

In the meantime, you can watch the original Avatar online via Disney+ to get yourself caught up on the story of Pandora, the Na'vi, and Jake Sully. 

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Watch loads of great sci-fi shows and movies on Disney+ including Avatar, Star Wars: Andor, and She-Hulk. (opens in new tab)

Get Disney+ for $7.99 per month

Watch loads of great sci-fi shows and movies on Disney+ including Avatar, Star Wars: Andor, and She-Hulk.

What is the plot of Avatar 2?

A group of Na'vi tribe members standing together in a lake

(Image credit: Disney )

Spoilers ahead for the first Avatar.

The first movie ended with the RDA (Resources Development Administration) being defeated by both Na’vi forces and Pandoran wildlife seemingly controlled by Eywa itself. With the exceptions of Jake Sully, Norm Spellman, and a select few others, all humans are sent back to Earth. In the final scene, Jake lets go of his human body for good and permanently transfers his conscience into his avatar with the aid of the sacred Tree of Souls.

Avatar: The Way of Water kicks off more than a decade after the events of the first movie, with Jake and his Na’vi partner Neytiri having formed a sizable family and dealing with new and old troubles. James Cameron has described the Avatar sequels as a huge generational story comprised of self-sustaining installments, so it’s reasonable to expect a gradual shift towards the younger characters that will be introduced in The Way of Water.

While we don’t know the specifics of the plot, we’ve received plenty of official details about some key characters and in-universe developments. It appears most of the action will take place in a different part of Pandora, with a special focus on the reef people clan of Metkayina, a society of Na’vi with a strong connection to Pandora’s oceans. Meanwhile, the RDA has returned with a new army and new technology, such as the Recombinants, avatars embedded with the memories of soldiers – this is how original bad guy Colonel Miles Quaritch is making his return.

Avatar 2: Trailers

The Avatar: The Way of Water teaser trailer was first seen exclusively in front of showings of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. A few days later, on May 9, Disney and 20th Century Studios released the trailer online. 

A full trailer with a better look at the plot and characters has yet to arrive, but it shouldn’t take too long as we are approaching what Disney traditionally considers the final (and main) stretch of marketing.

Avatar 2: Cast

The cast of Avatar 2, including Kate Winslet, Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington, floating in a pool dressed in CGI suits

(Image credit: Disney)

Much of the original movie’s acting talent is returning for the second Avatar, but the ensemble is growing even bigger with several high-profile additions as the scope widens.

The returning Avatar 2 cast is formed by Sam Worthington (Jake Sully), Zoe Saldana (Neytiri), Sigourney Weaver (Kiri – a new Na’vi character), Stephen Lang (Miles Quaritch), Giovanni Ribisi (Parker Selfridge), CCH Pounder (Mo’at), Joel David Moore (Norm Spellman), Dileep Rao (Dr. Max Patel), and Matt Gerald (Lyle Wainfleet).

The veteran actors are joined by Cliff Curtis (Tonowari), Kate Winslet (Ronal), Oona Chaplin (Varang), Jamie Flatters (Neteyam), Britain Dalton (Lo’ak), Trinity Bliss (Tuktirey), Jack Champion (Javier "Spider" Socorro), Edie Falco (General Ardmore), Jemaine Clement (Dr. Ian Garvin), and Michelle Yeoh (Dr. Karina Mogue), among others. Vin Diesel and CJ Jones have been cast in undisclosed roles, but they could be saved for Avatar 3.

Avatar 2: Director, writers & crew

James Cameron has unsurprisingly returned as writer-director for Avatar 2 and 3, though this time he’s been helped by a handful of writers (one for each sequel). Well ahead of starting pre-production work on the sequels, he spent several years writing an "Avatar bible (opens in new tab)" and outlining the entire saga, as well as developing new CGI improvements and mo-cap tech which is more precise and can work underwater.

In order to pen The Way of Water, Cameron was joined by screenwriter Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds, Terminator: Dark Fate). Cameron and Jon Landau once again act as producers, with Peter M. Tobyansen and David Valdes serving as executive producers. Brigitte Yorke is an associate producer on the project.

Russell Carpenter (Titanic, Ant-Man) is handling the cinematography. Simon Franglen (Peppermint, The Magnificent Seven) is creating the original score after original Avatar composer James Horner tragically passed away in 2015.

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Fran Ruiz

Fran Ruiz is our resident Star Wars guy. His hunger for movies and TV series is only matched by his love for video games. He got a BA of English Studies, focusing on English Literature, from the University of Malaga, in Spain, as well as a Master's Degree in English Studies, Multilingual and Intercultural Communication. On top of writing features and other longform articles for Space.com since 2021, he is a frequent collaborator of VG247 and other gaming sites. He also serves as associate editor over at Star Wars News Net and its sister site, Movie News Net.