The first Avatar 2 trailer has been screened – and the sequel has an official title, Avatar: The Way of Water.
Producer Jon Landau took to the stage at Cinema Con to present the first Avatar 2 footage during Disney's panel. Landau also announced that the original Avatar is being re-released in cinemas from September 23, and said that each of the four previously announced sequels will play out as "standalone" movies.
Director James Cameron, who was unable to make the event, sent in a video message. The filmmaker said that the movie was made for the big screen. "We wanted to push the limits of what theaters can do," he told the audience.
The teaser trailer – shown in 3D – featured Pandora, some very quick action shots, little dialogue, and, of course, plenty of Na'vi. The trailer will screen in front of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness in cinemas, and will only be made available online a week later.
An official synopsis has also been released by Disney. It reads: "Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, Avatar: The Way of Water begins to tell the story of the Sully family (Jake, Neytiri, and their kids), the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive, and the tragedies they endure."
Landau previously told Total Film that each of the sequels "had to individually resolve itself in a story that concludes with a big emotional resolution".
"When you look at them as a whole, the connected story arc of all four movies creates an even larger epic saga," he said.
Discussing Avatar 2 specifically, the producer remarked that the strength of the movie comes from Cameron's ability to write "universal themes that are bigger than any one genre".
"And if you think about this, there’s really no more universal theme than family," he continued. "At the center of each of our sequels is the Sully family. What are the dynamics that parents go through to protect their family?"
The official title, Avatar: The Way of Water, should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the behind-the-scenes production on Avatar 2. Cameron's cast – which includes Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Kate Winslet, and Michelle Yeoh – filmed many parts underwater.
The story sees the Sully family's idyllic life being disrupted when the RDA mining operation returns to Pandora, forcing Jake to take the family to "what is perceived as a safe harbor" at the reef.
"And when you get to the reef, there’s a clan we call the Metkayina," Landau told Total Film. "The Sullys are no longer in the environment that they know, the rainforest. They become the fish out of water. They become the fish out of water from a cultural standpoint and from an environmental standpoint."
Avatar 2 reaches cinemas on December 16. Also shown during Disney's Cinema Con panel: the opening 20 minutes of Doctor Strange, featuring multiple Stevens. Marvel boss Kein Feige also revealed that he's currently planning the next decade of movies at the studio.