Avatar: The Way of the Water is expected to dive deeper into the new life of Jake Sully and Neytiri as parents, and it seems that this theme will continue in the franchise's upcoming sequels from Disney.
Directed by James Cameron, Avatar 2 returns to Pandora to tell a brand new story about the Na'vi and its expected conflict with humans (again). The first trailer confirmed that the Sully family will be at the forefront while also indicating that the sequel is set to revolve around another tragic story.
Moreover, the trailer even featured an iconic line from Jake, with him telling Neytiri that "this family is our fortress." This essentially indicates that Avatar 2 will rely on the concept of family amid the chaos that its human invaders will inflict on Pandora.
Now, Disney has reiterated the unsurprising central theme that the Avatar franchise will highlight in its upcoming sequels.
Avatar Sequel's Main Theme
In the official press release for Avatar: The Way of Water, Disney confirmed that the four Avatar sequels are all anchored around the "importance of family" as their central theme.
Avatar 2 producer Jon Landau explained the decision to focus on family, describing it as a universally greater theme:
“I tell people that Jim writes movies with themes that are bigger than their genre, and that’s why his movies resonate with people—and there’s no greater theme, universally, than family.”
This isn't surprising since Avatar: The Way of the Water director James Cameron already revealed this theme in a previous interview with Gizmodo back in 2018.
Cameron described the Avatar franchise as a "generational family saga:"
“I found myself as a father of five starting to think about what would an Avatar story be like if it was a family drama, if it was The Godfather. Obviously very different genre, very different story, but I got intrigued by that idea. So, that’s really what it is. It’s a generational family saga. And that’s very different from the first film.”
Meanwhile, in the same press release, it was revealed that Cameron wanted to have all the screenplays for the four sequels before moving on to production for The Way of the Water.
The award-winning filmmaker shared that he wanted to first "map out all the stories" while also "capturing the actors across multiple films" before moving forward with the live-action aspect of production:
“We had to write four movies before I could start on the first sequel. I wanted to map out all the stories and then get the economy of scale of capturing the actors across multiple films and then filming the live action. The thinking was we could consolidate the different stages of production together—performance capture, live action, and then post-production.”
Avatar's Family Theme Hints at More Tragedy
Avatar's sequels revolving around the concept of family is unsurprising since this is actually in line with Disney's brand of storytelling. Still, veteran filmmaker James Cameron's desire to tell a story that has great emotional stakes amid the family drama appears poised to elevate the sequel and its follow-ups.
Given that Avatar 2 is set 14 years after the first movie, the concept of family will be further established in its follow-ups by passing the torch to Jake Sully and Neytiri's kids.
While this doesn't mean that the movies will ultimately kill Jake and Neytiri, having the two parents slowly go to the sidelines while pushing their kids at the forefront is in line with Cameron's earlier comment about the franchise being a "generational family saga."
However, before Cameron and his crew begins to do that, Avatar 2 has the tall order of making fans invested in Jake's new family.
Avatar: The Way of the Water hits theaters on Friday, December 16.