Breathtaking new Avatar 2 footage shown behind closed doors at D23

Avatar: The Way of Water
(Image credit: Disney/20th Century Studios)

New footage for Avatar: The Way of Water has been unveiled behind closed doors at D23 – and Total Film was on the ground in our 3D glasses to catch it on the big screen.

Six brand new scenes were shown, including some mind-blowingly crisp underwater sequences. An impressive action scene in a rainy forest by night was also included, with the detail in the facial expressions showing vast improvement since the first movie, which was released in 2009.

"The Avatar: The Way of Water scenes shown to the D23 crowd suggest it’ll be the most visually stunning cinematic experience of all time," tweeted CNET journalist Sean Keane. You can check out some new concept art showing off Pandora, released during D23, below.

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Some of the movie's cast members were present, including Stephen Lang. "You can’t keep a good marine down. He regrouped in hell," he  said of his returning character. Colonel Miles Quaritch, while Sam Worthington, who plays Jake Sully, said: "The whole movie deals with the protecting of family."

"I’m one of the Sully kids… Only Jim is crazy enough to have written this character for me," added Sigourney Weaver, who plays Kiri, Jake and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña)'s adopted teenage daughter.

Alongside Worthington, Lang, Weaver, and Saldaña, the movie also sees the return of CCH Pounder, Giovanni Ribisi, Joel David Moore, Dileep Rao, and Matt Gerald. The cast also includes Vin Diesel, Brendan Cowell, Cliff Curtis, Joel David Moore, Oona Chaplin, CJ Jones, Michelle Yeoh, Edie Falco, Jermaine Clement, and Kate Winslet. 

Avatar: The Way of Water began filming in 2017 and concluded in 2020 after the COVID-19 pandemic further delayed production. Three additional sequels are already slated for 2024, 2026, and 2028 release dates. Saldaña previously stated that the first 20 minutes of the film left her speechless and moved to tears.

Avatar: The Way of Water is set to hit theaters on December 12. For more, check out our list of the most exciting upcoming movies in 2022. For more from D23, here's everything announced at the Star Wars and Marvel panel, along with our guides to the D23 schedule and everything announced at the D23 Disney and Pixar panel.

Lauren Milici
Senior Writer, Tv & Film

Lauren Milici is a Senior Entertainment Writer for GamesRadar+ currently based in the Midwest. She previously reported on breaking news for The Independent's Indy100 and created TV and film listicles for Ranker. Her work has been published in Fandom, Nerdist, Paste Magazine, Vulture, PopSugar, Fangoria, and more.