'Avatar: The Way of Water': First Full Official Trailer Released for 'Avatar' Sequel

The first official trailer for Avatar: The Way of Water is here. The sequel has been promised for a decade, and its many delays have practically turned it into a meme. Now, fans can see for themselves that it is a reality.

Avatar: The Way of Water invites fans to "return to Pandora," and the breathtaking shots show that there are still many wonders of this alien world to explore. It seems to take place mostly in, on and around the ocean, with the trappings and aesthetic of coastal life supplanting those of the forest life from the first movie. Along the way, scattered lines of dialogue hint at the importance of water in this story, though plot details are still relatively thin.

The Way of Water is the sequel to 2009's Avatar, which was lauded as a quantum leap forward in visual effects at the time. According to the movie's synopsis, The Way of Water will be set "more than a decade after the events of the first film," so fans can take the real-life time skip literally. It will still center around Sam Worthington as Jake Sully and Zoe Saldana as Neytiri, and will also introduce the children they have had together in the time between films.

So far, all we know about the plot is that the movie will be about "the trouble that follows" the Sully family, "the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive, and the tragedies they endure." For those in need of a refresher, the first movie was set in the year 2154 CE, in a world where humanity has depleted Earth's natural resources and developed means of seeking out comparable resources on other planets. It follows a team of human scientists to a moon in the Alpha Centauri star system called Pandora, where the Na'vi people live in a more harmonious balance with nature.

The movie centers around Sully's gradual journey from a mercenary bodyguard to a Na'vi defender. Earth's technology allows him to transfer his consciousness from his disabled human body into a Na-vi avatar, allowing him to interface with nature in the way that the natives do. He falls in love with Neytiri and helps her to protect her people's forest home from Earth's forces.

Commercially successful as it was, Avatar has been heavily scrutinized in the years since its release. Many felt that the story was simple and derivative, and therefore undeserving of its media coverage. Defenders argued that the visual spectacle was more important, though that made the prospect of extending the franchise in sequels seem hollow. Meanwhile, the long wait for more movies had fans frustrated and critical commenters jeering online.

Hopefully, this sequel can overcome those criticisms and prove its worth – especially since a third movie is already being filmed. Avatar: The Way of Water will premiere in theaters on Friday, Dec. 16 2022.