Avatar 4 is on the way as James Cameron sets his sights on moving ahead with his Pandoran epic.
While Avatar 3 has not been released yet, Avatar 4 has already been confirmed by Disney.
The fourth film in the "generational family saga" will serve as the penultimate adventure of the Sully clan with the franchise coming to an end with the eventual Avatar 5.
So with Avatar 4 eventually making its way to theaters worldwide, here is everything we know about the upcoming blockbuster:
When Will Avatar 4 Release?
Avatar 4 is currently set to release on December 21, 2029.
In January 2023, director James Cameron told The Hollywood Reporter "ideally" the fourth movie would come out "maybe three years after [Avatar 3]," with Avatar 5 coming "maybe a couple years after that:"
"They exist. These stories exist. We know exactly what we're doing. We know what these movies are going to be. We just have to go through the process of getting them done. Ideally, two years from now, ['Avatar 3'] comes out. Ideally, maybe three years after that, ['Avatar 4'] comes out. Then maybe a couple years after that, ['Avatar 5'] comes out. So we won't be away from the marketplace."
That was, of course, said before Avatar 3 was delayed a year being moved from December 2024 to December 2025. So that "three years after" timing will likely be pushed out.
Along with the delay of Avatar 3, Avatar 4 was pushed a couple of years, moving from 2026 to the 2029 date it currently occupies.
Production of the fourth movie is still in early development. Cameron had originally intended to work on Avatar 2 and 3 to completion before he got started on Avatar 4 (via Deadline).
That, however, was debunked by Cameron's producing partner Jon Landau, as he told Variety in October 2022, "We’ve completed most of the first act of Avatar 4," moving ahead with the sequel for "logistical reasons:"
“We’ve completed most of the first act of ‘Avatar 4’ and there were logistical reasons why we needed to do that. We’ve designed most of the whole movie for ‘Avatar 4’ but we haven’t actually filmed all of it – just the first act.”
These "logistical reasons" likely have to do with the child actors at the heart of these Avatar sequels. Cameron remarked (via Variety), "[he] had to shoot the kids out," as a time jump in the middle of that movie would see the characters age six years. But there was some work that had to be done before they did that:
"I had to shoot the kids out. They're allowed to age six years in the middle of the story on page 25 of movie '4.' So I needed everything before then, and then everything after, we'll do later."
It was confirmed production on Avatar 4 had officially begun back at D23 2022; however, it has since been suspended due to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike.
Is Avatar 4 the Final Movie of the Franchise?
Avatar 4 is not the final movie in James Cameron's Pandoran epic.
Leading into Avatar: The Way of Water, the rest of Cameron's sci-fi odyssey was publicly greenlit by Disney.
At the time, Cameron said, "It looks like I can’t wiggle out of this," and now "[he's] gonna have to do these other sequels:"
“It looks like just with the momentum that the film has now that will easily pass our break even in the next few days, so it looks like I can’t wiggle out of this, I’m gonna have to do these other sequels.”
He added in that same conversation that "'Avatar 4' and '5' are both written:"
"And then 'Avatar 4' and '5' are both written. We even have some of '4' in the can. We’ve begun a franchise at this point. We’ve begun a saga that can now play out over multiple films.”
Despite still being years away, design work on Avatar 5 is underway and has been for quite some time. Avatar production designer Ben Procter said that some Avatar 5 designs date back to some of the "first thing[s] that [he] did when [he] landed in 2013:"
"So, Dylan and I, and Joe Pepe, our lead character designer, started in August of 2013 in an exploratory mode. I mean, even Wētā Workshop, we had been doing some stuff already. The Legacy Effects came in to help with creature and character designs, and we were really exploring the full depth. Literally, I was looking at the date on something recently, and it was an Avatar, what I now know is an 'Avatar 5' design, but it was literally the first thing that I did when I landed in 2013... Because nobody knew."
So Avatar 4 is not the end of the franchise, with 5 seemingly being the finale fans have been waiting for.
What Will Happen in Avatar 4?
Exact plot specifics have yet to be released for Avatar 4, but some details have made their way out.
The biggest plot point that has been talked about for Avatar 4 is the "big time jump" that will be at the heart of the film:
"We did 95% of movies two, three, and the first act of part four. Now, why the first act only? Because in our narrative, there’s a big time jump there, and we needed to do all the kids while they were this age, because we can’t suddenly have them be older. And if we went into a set that had scenes from all three movies, we shot that out at one time."
The movie will also feature the same villain as the first three movies: Colonel Miles Quaritch played by Stephen Lang.
Cameron joked in January 2023 that Avatar will not be "like a [DC or Marvel] story" in that there won't be a "new villain with every film." Instead, it will be the "same adversary through the whole" saga:
“It’s not like a superhero story where there’s a new villain with every film. Same guy, right? Same adversary through the whole thing. But how he evolves is also very interesting once we bring in additional adversaries as we go along. Additional adversaries and additional allies.”
Avatar 4 Cast: Who Will Return?
The Avatar 4 cast will likely look the same as Avatar 2 and 3.
Fans know the movie will continue to focus on Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña), and the Sully kids Lo'ak, and Tuk.
Also likely to return are the two adopted Sully children, Sigourney Weaver's Kiri and Jack Champion's Spider.
Stephen Lang's Miles Quaritch is set to return as well as the primary antagonist of the Avatar franchise, with Avatar 1 villain Parker Selfridge (played by Giovanni Ribisi) also coming back for Avatar 3 (and seemingly Avatar 4) as a secondary villain.
Producer Jon Landau told The Wrap in March 2023, "Giovanni’s coming back as Selfridge" in the third movie, and, "We’ll definitely see more of the RDA as we move forward." So it can be assumed he will also be in Avatar 4:
"I think we’ll definitely see more of the RDA as we move forward. We know that Giovanni’s coming back as Selfridge. We hinted at him with just on a video clip in this movie. But he will be back in force as we move forward.”
When Will Avatar 4's Trailer Release?
Given Avatar 4 is still years away, it will likely be quite some time before audiences get a taste of the film with its first trailer.
Usually, Disney likes to package its biggest trailers with its latest tentpole releases, so one would assume looking at the studio's release calendar could hint at where the movie's trailer could drop.
That, however, is not the case here, as Avatar 4 is currently the furthest release date on the Disney calendar, with its closest release date being two years earlier with a currently untitled Star Wars movie set to release in December 2027.
Two years before Avatar 4's release for a trailer may be a little early. The first look at Avatar 2 came a meager six months before the film's release, debuting alongside Marvel Studios' Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
So with Avatar 4 coming to theaters in December 2029, there is a good chance audiences get their first taste of the movie sometime in the spring or summer of that same year.
Avatar 4 is set to release on December 21, 2029.