“Avatar 2” Producer Jon Landau Shows Off 15 Minutes Of James Cameron’s Mega Sequel

It was a good day to be an attendee at the Busan Film Festival in South Korea. Select audience members at the fest paid $5 for a pair of 3-D glasses for a chance to see 15 minutes of James Cameron’s Avatar sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water. 

It goes without saying at this point that Cameron’s been working long and hard, along with his cast and crew, to bring off a sequel that won’t only match his 2009 epic but exceed it in all ways. Cameron isn’t just making Avatar: The Way of Water, but two more films in the franchise, too. In fact, Avatar producer Jon Landau revealed to the festivalgoers that Avatar 4‘s first act is almost completed.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. For Avatar: The Way of Water, those select audience members at the Busan Film Festival got a crash course in what Cameron and his team have been doing in order to make the sequel a one-of-a-kind filmgoing experience. The throughline of the presentation and screening was that The Way of Water utilized revolutionary technology to create something we’ve never quite seen before, much the same way Avatar did 13 years ago.

The events in The Way of Water take place more than a decade after the battle for Pandora that ended the original film. In the sneak peek that the Busan crowd saw, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) are in the oceanic wonderland that is Pandora, the home planet of Neytiri’s people, the Na’vi. As the title suggests, Cameron’s sequel will be set both above and below the water, utilizing the aforementioned bespoke technology to capture novel shots, with creatures both familiar, like the majestic flying Toruks from the first film, and brand-new aquatic animals. Landau told the crowd that the filmmaking technology used in The Way of Water far exceeds what was on hand for the original Avatar, and that included a team of specialized VFX artists who created a brand new kind of underwater motion capture technology. Landau said that if Avatar was after creating effects that look photographic, the sequel is after photorealism.

Cameron is a longtime environmentalist and an oceanic explorer himself. During the footage reveal, he appeared via video link to talk about the sequel’s inspirations, which come from the increasingly dire threats to our besieged marine ecosystems. This follows Avatar‘s example, which showed the ruthless pursuit of profit as humans decimated Pandora’s forests. Cameron’s passion for conservation is the engine that has fueled this mega-franchise.

Returning alongside Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington from the original film are Sigourney Weaver as Dr. Grace Augustine and Stephen Lang as Colonel Miles Quaritch. Two of the big-name newcomers include Vin Diesel and Kate Winslet.

Avatar: The Way of Water is due in theaters on December 16.

For more on all things Avatar, check out these stories:

“Avatar 4” Has Begun Filming

James Cameron May Handoff Final “Avatar” Films to Another Director

The “Avatar: The Way of Water” Teaser Trailer Made a Huge Splash

Featured image: Zoe Saldana is Neytiri in “Avatar: The Way of Water.” Courtesy 20th Century Studios.


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