The Avatar sequel looks even more gorgeous than the original

After 8 years of delays, the new trailer takes us back to Pandora.

20th Century Studios

The first Avatar film still holds its 2009 record as the highest-grossing film of all time, bringing in $2.87 billion at the box office after a re-release in China last year. And 13 years later, James Cameron’s long-awaited sequel is finally about to arrive. The first teaser trailer for Avatar: The Way of Water has been released to promote a December 16 premiere for the film.

The second installment will pick up where the Oscar-winning first film left off with Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington reprising their roles as Neytiri and Jake Sully, respectively. The two have begun a family together, and as Sully says in the preview’s only line of dialogue, “I know one thing. Wherever we go, this family is our fortress.”

Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang will also return, and Kate Winslet, Michelle Yeoh, Cliff Curtis, Joel David Moore, CCH Pounder, Edie Falco, Jemaine Clement, and Oona Chaplin are joining the cast. The original film’s central theme of protecting a growing civilization on the planet of Pandora from encroaching earthly industrialists remains prevalent in the new trailer as ominous scenes of military vehicles are spliced in with sweeping CGI shots of pristine, otherworldly landscapes.

Per Variety, the film was originally set to be released in 2014, but was delayed seven times in its making. The filming was concluded in 2020 during a mega shoot where both the second and third installments were filmed. Cameron told Denis Villeneuve in the magazine’s “Directors on Directors” series last year, “We mixed the schedules for ‘2’ and ‘3’ together, based on the types of scenes and the environments. I said, let’s just treat it like it’s a six-hour miniseries and we’re only going to go to Frankfurt once. We’re going to shoot all the scenes from ‘2’ and ‘3’ at the same time. That was more or less the motif.”

The Way of Water will be one of four sequels that 20th Century Studios is planning to release. The film was produced by Cameron and Jon Landau.