Released in 2009 and 2022 respectively, Avatar and Avatar: The Way of Water totaled $5.2 billion at the worldwide box office.
A third film is already in pre-production development and set to hit theaters on December 19, 2025, about three years after The Way of Water.
However, the story doesn't end there with Avatar 4 and Avatar 5 already being planned by 20th Century Studios and Disney.
Avatar 5 Release: When Will It Come Out?
Initially, Avatar 5 was set to release in 2028, but plans quickly changed. Prior to the delay, Disney was planning on releasing each Avatar sequel two years apart starting in December 2022 with The Way of Water.
However, this altered when Avatar 3 through 5 were all pushed back. The updated release date for Avatar 5 is December 19, 2031. To no one's surprise, this is the farthest out Disney release date on its theatrical slate.
Zoe Saldana shared some funny comments following the Avatar release shift. As reported by Variety, the actress who plays Neytiri joked at the announcement:
“Great! I’m gonna be 53 when the last ‘Avatar’ comes out. I was 27 when I shot the very first ‘Avatar.'”
In a surprising update to the fifth film, it was shared that in 2013, production designer Ben Procter and lead character designer Joe Pepe started work on a design for an Avatar that was unknowingly prepped for Avatar 5:
"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."
Beyond some of the big-budget, CGI similarities, James Cameron also recently pointed out some key differences between his Avatar sequels and comic book movies.
Cameron said the Avatar franchise is "not like a superhero story" in that there won't be a "new villain with every film," instead it will be the "same adversary (Quaritch) 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.”
Will Avatar 5 Be the Last Avatar?
James Cameron may continue making Avatar films for the rest of his life if he could.
While speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, the director admitted he'd be approaching 90 years old by the time an Avatar 6 or 7 could be released. Cameron added that he's not sure if he'll have the "energy required:"
“I’d be 89 by then. Obviously, I’m not going to be able to make Avatar movies indefinitely, the amount of energy required.
An alternative option, according to Cameron, would be having to "train somebody" to direct future Avatar films. He added that he doesn't "care how smart you are as a director, you don’t know how to do this:"
"I would have to train somebody how to do this because, I don’t care how smart you are as a director, you don’t know how to do this.”
Without Cameron, it's hard to imagine an Avatar film being made. Between the third, fourth, and fifth installments, Avatar 5 is most likely to be the last of the franchise.
What Is Avatar 5 Going To Be About?
The greatest revelation made about the plot of Avatar 5 is that some of the film will take place back on Earth.
Gizmodo previously spoke with producer Jon Landau about the rumored plot for Avatar 5. He not only confirmed part of the movie taking place on Earth but also teased how it will "open Neytiri’s eyes, to what exists on Earth:"
“Well, it’s funny. I wasn’t going to talk about it, but I’ve now subsequently heard that Jim has talked about it a little bit. In movie five there is a section of the story where we go to Earth. And we go to it to open people’s eyes, open Neytiri’s eyes, to what exists on Earth.”
While this is seemingly a spoiler that Zoe Saldana's character will survive all the way until this, this shouldn't come as a huge shock for fans.
Landau added that currently Earth and those who live there have been represented as evil, due to the villainous Resources Development Administration (RDA).
What will soon be explored is the idea that "not all humans are bad. Not all Na’vi are good:"
“Earth is not just represented by the RDA [Resources Development Administration]. Just like you’re defined by the choices you make in life, not all humans are bad. Not all Na’vi are good. And that’s the case here on Earth. And we want to expose Neytiri to that.”
The producer further explained some of the struggles of continuing this franchise and being able to get audiences to go, "Wow. Where else could they go?"
“I think right now we want each movie to do exactly what the first movie did. We want [audiences] to go, ‘Wow. Where else could they go? They just showed us everything on Pandora.’ Then you go, ‘Holy cow. They’re going to the oceans. Wow. The oceans are amazing.’ Okay, that’s over. Where can it go?
Cameron told Time Magazine that Avatar 5 will not focus on Earth, which is depleted by climate change. The outlet added that Cameron wants to "focus on how to save a planet, not destroy one."
In addition, there's set to be a "big time jump" during Avatar 4 (according to Cameron via IGN), and Avatar 5 will take place after the jump.
Avatar 5 is slated for release on December 19, 2031.