Between the release of 2009's Avatar and 2022's Avatar: The Way of Water, Disney opened Pandora - The World of Avatar in 2017 at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom park.
The creation of the immersive theme park land was a joint venture between Disney Imagineering and James Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment and was inspired by the director's original film and its sequel.
But now it seems that the visionary filmmaker included Avatar 3 characters in the land as early as 2017 as well.
Avatar 3 Characters Already at a Disney Park
In talking with Deadline, director James Cameron confirmed that there is a Na'vi people called the "Windtraders" - which just happens to be the name of an existing gift shop at Disney's Pandora: The World of Avatar - which will be appearing in an upcoming Avatar movie.
In regard to how Pandora's various tribes and landscapes will be explored in future sequels, production designer Dylan Cole explained that the planet is "just as diverse as Earth" and isn't a singular ecosystem like "other science fiction franchises:"
“To create a cohesive saga… you have to know where you’re going to figure out where to start. And in showing that you know Pandora is just as diverse as Earth… it’s not like all the other science fiction franchises where there’s jungle planet, snow planet, or whatever. We definitely try to approach this with that National Geographic lens of reality.”
James Cameron went on to note that on Pandora, "there's rainforest, there's arctic, there's desert, there's ocean," and with those different biomes comes not only new creatures but also new "cultural design:"
“Right, so there’s rainforest, there’s arctic, there’s desert, there’s ocean. All those different biomes, and all the creatures, and cultures. And so, not only did we have to do creature design, but we had to do cultural design, and imagining what these different Na’vi adaptations to these different biomes might look like."
It's here when Cameron reveals the name of a new Na'vi tribe with their own nomadic culture, "the windtraders," saying:
"Desert people… the windtraders that trade, that travel around, that sort of thing.”
While this may be the first time audiences have heard about Pandora's windtraders, that tribe name has long been the name of the gift shop at Animal Kingdom's Pandora at Walt Disney World.
The Windtraders shop is designed to look like an abandoned RDA (Resources Development Administration) structure that nature has reclaimed by nature and the Na'vi and sells a variety of Pandora-related souvenirs, ranging from mini-banshees to explorer gear.
Is Disney's Pandora a Huge Trailer for Avatar Sequels?
Since Avatar 2 premiered in theaters, theme park guests have come to realize just how many elements of the sequel have been in the land since its opening.
A prime example is the various Tulkun (space whales) that are present in the ride film for Avatar Flight of Passage.
While it may come as a surprise that a theme park land from 2017 contained elements of Avatar 2 and now 3, it's worth noting that The Way of Water was originally supposed to premiere years earlier and closer to the land's debut.
Also, the theme park is canonically set decades after the events of the films.
While the director didn't elaborate on the windtraders tribe apart from them trading and traveling around, they're not the first new tribe he's mentioned in recent weeks.
He's also revealed that Avatar 3 will feature the Fire Na'vi nation, which will be led by actress Oona Chaplin.
Not only will it be interesting to see how the Sully family crosses paths with the nomadic Windtraders and the Fire Na'vi in the threequel, but whether Disney's Pandora already contains additional references to these tribes.
Avatar: The Way of Water is playing in theaters worldwide.