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Stretching into the third hour of a blockbuster morning at D23, the staff in Anaheim, California, had the daunting task of handing out 7,500 pairs of 3D glasses to the crowd that had already been treated to Star Wars, Marvel and Indiana Jones footage. But who could say no to James Cameron or to Avatar?
Cameron beamed in from New Zealand to show off half a dozen scenes from Avatar: The Way of the Water. Stars Zoe Saldaña, Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang were in person at the convention. Many of the scenes showed off Cameron’s immersive underwater work, others showed drama from the story but no context to hint at its larger plot. The footage was not released online afterward.
The film once again centers on Worthington’s Sully and Saldaña’s Na’vi character Neytiri. It picks up a decade after the original and follows their family, with additional stars including franchise newcomers Vin Diesel and Kate Winslet.
“When we ended in part one, they chose each other, and they fought together, so the continuation of that bond meant they were going to grow as a family,” Saldaña said of Neytiri and Sully’s relationship.
Avatar: The Way of the Water is the sequel to Avatar, which became a phenomenon upon being released in 2009, reviving interest in 3D filmmaking and taking the top spot on the all-time box office chart. Cameron has spent more than a decade developing Way of the Water, dated for Dec. 16 of this year, and three additional sequels to follow in 2024, 2026 and 2028. This marks the first footage seen following CinemaCon in April and a trailer released online in May.
During the panel, Worthington summed up what he believes is the heart of the film: “That currency of love and being with your family — that’s what life is.”
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