The first Avatar 2 concept art dropped a few days back giving us our first look at Pandora’s visuals from the sequel. The movie’s official social media accounts dropped them without any context but based on the visuals, we can make some elementary observations. Most notably, the first one featuring Jake and Neytiri sharing staring by the sea is a good hint at what the oceans of Pandora look like; important considering Avatar 2 is going to feature Pandora’s sea people in a significant way.
The oceans are a common theme in all of the concept art. Whether it’s the toruks riding over them or just Jake and Neytiri taking a swim over the surface, the marketing is focusing on oceans right from the start. Cameron has hyped the underwater sequences immensely without showing an ounce of footage yet so it’ll be exciting to see when we finally do get to witness some scenes. Kate Winslet’s character is also reported to be playing one of the sea people.
Cameron’s Avatar movies have taken a hell lot of development time. The first one came out 12 years after Cameron’s previous release Titanic released in 1997. All that time was spent developing the technology needed to film motion capture in a new way which would be used extensively for Avatar and go on to become invaluable in film production moving on. Add to this filming in native 3D and Avatar single-handedly brought about the resurgence of 3D in mainstream cinema. All that effort paid off handsomely with Avatar taking home $2.78 billion at the worldwide box office, a feat not beaten until a decade later by Avengers: Endgame.
Talks of a sequel have been going on since as long as 2010. At the time, it was rumored that the sequels wouldn’t take this long to develop since the tech, CG and visual effects assets was already in place. It was simply a matter of getting the scripts together. But as years passed, the project grew too ambitious, to the extent that it now involves four sequels which will drop a year apart beginning 2021. Cameron will be pushing the tech further by considering filming at a high frame rate of 60 fps. However, with Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit having utilized HFR tech at 48 fps to mixed results, it remains to be seen just how much Cameron uses the tech and if film projectors can even account for variable frame rates.
All that said, the hype grew immensely and then died down. A lot of Avatar fan forums went defunct and were taken offline by their owners in the said period. The craze has essentially died down and 3D, CG and motion capture have become so synonymous with making a big-budget production that the novelty that Cameron introduced with Avatar is now commonplace. For Cameron, that means starting over from scratch and proving to his detractors yet again that the Avatar sequels are not to be written off so soon.