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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Emmeline Saunders

Everything you need to know about Avatar 2 from all-star cast to production

Welcome back to the world of Pandora, one of the stars of Avatar which for a decade was the highest-grossing movie ever made.

After 13 years director James Cameron is revisiting his biggest hit for Avatar 2: The Way of The Water, the first of four special effects filled sequels over the next few years, which we’ll be watching till we’re as blue in the face as the inhabitants of Pandora.

Cameron based his vision of the 10-ft native people on a dream his mum once had, and made them blue because he just likes colour.

This time round in again one of the most expensive films ever made the blue-skinned Na’vi are rebuilding their lives after the devastating impact of human mining 10 years previously. But with danger threatening their peaceful existence, Jake Sully and his family must once again battle the forces of evil to save the Na’vi people and their way of life.

The Way of Water has already picked up Golden Globe nominations for Best Drama and Best Director, but here’s everything else you need to know about Avatar 2, from the jaw-dropping visual effects to the whopping budget - which even Cameron branded “very f*****g expensive”.

*Avatar 2: The Way of Water is in cinemas on Friday.

The Way of Water has already picked up Golden Globe nominations (© 2021 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.)

The Cast

Sam Worthington reprises his role as human Marine-turned-Na’vi Jake Sully, while Zoe Saldana rejoins as his blue-skinned partner and clan princess Neytiri.

Stephen Lang, whose psychopathic mercenary Colonel Miles Quaritch was killed in the events of the first film, is back as a resurrected ‘Recombinant’ hellbent on vengeance, and is set to be the main villain for the next three sequels.

Lang confirmed his return earlier this year, saying his character was “bigger, he’s bluer, he’s p****d off”.

Sigourney Weaver, above, also returns in a different role as Kiri, a teenage Na’vi adopted by Jake and Neytiri, after her original character, xenobotanist Dr Grace Augustine, was fatally wounded by Quaritch.

Kate Winslet stars in this one (Courtesy of 20th Century Studios)

Kate Winslet joins the cast as Ronal, a free-diving member of the Metkayina tribe, despite being reluctant to work with Cameron again after the gruelling demands of Titanic when she was 21.

Game of Thrones star Brendan Cowell makes his Avatar debut as Captain Mick Scoresby, Cliff Curtis joins as Ronal’s husband Tonowari.

Jake and Neytiri’s children are being played by Jamie Flatters, Britain Dalton, Trinity Jo-Li Bliss and Jack Champion.

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The Special Effects

The movie was in the works since 2015 (Mark Fellman)

The Way of Water has been in the works since 2015, facing delay after delay as the crew figured out the technology needed to capture scenes underwater.

Like most of the cast, Kate Winslet had to learn free-diving, a way of slowing down the breath so as to stay underwater for minutes at a time without using equipment.

She even broke the world record for the longest scene ever filmed underwater, holding her breath for more than seven minutes, beating a record set by Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.

Kate broke the world record for the longest scene ever filmed underwater (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images f)

Winslet said: “I was walking on the bottom of the tank. That’s a big ceremonial sequence with those huge heavy wings. That was quite scary. The thing is, when you can hold your breath for seven minutes, you become unafraid.”

The child actors were also taught free-diving over six months of training and were able to hold their breath for up for four minutes, even then-seven-year-old Trinity Bliss, who plays Tuk.

The film also introduces a new form of sign language, created by deaf actor CJ Jones, for use by the Na’vi underwater.

The Plot

The reef-dwelling Metkayina tribe take centre stage (Courtesy of 20th Century Studios)

While the first Avatar film introduced us to the rainforest world of Pandora, the second focuses on the moon’s oceans and the people and creatures who live in them.

The reef-dwelling Metkayina tribe take centre stage, but expect to see more corporate greed from the Resources Development Administration, the human organisation ploughing Pandora for valuable natural resources.

The official synopsis reads: “Jake Sully lives with his newfound family formed on the planet of Pandora. Once a familiar threat returns to finish what was previously started, Jake must work with Neytiri and the army of the Na’vi race to protect their planet.”

The Way of Water sets the scene for the next three sequels, but is also designed to be a stand-alone story. James Cameron has said some filming for Avatar 3 and 4 is already wrapped.

The Delays

James Cameron racked up a budget of £283–323million for Avatar 2 (Courtesy of 20th Century Studios)

After seven years of delays and three years of shooting, director Cameron racked up a budget of £283–323million for Avatar 2 and he admits it will have to gross at least £1.7billion to break even.

The notorious perfectionist spent a year writing a full script but threw it out because it “didn’t go enough into the unexpected”.

He also reportedly threatened to fire his writing team for focusing on new plotlines instead of working out what made the first film such a success.

In 2014, Cameron said he expected the next three scripts to be completed within six weeks, meaning production could start simultaneously on Avatars 2, 3 and 4 for release in 2016, 2017 and 2018. But in November 2017, he confessed they had taken four years to complete. The next three sequels – provided The Way of Water performs at the box office –are slated for release in 2024, 2026 and 2028.

And with a runtime of three hours 12 minutes, it’s easy to see how The Way of Water was so expensive to make.

But Cameron is unrepentant, referencing binge-watching culture when he told Empire: “I’ve watched my kids sit and do five one-hour episodes in a row. Here’s the big social paradigm shift that has to happen: it’s OK to go pee.”

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