December 2022 will finally see the release of one of the most long-awaited and highly-anticipated sequels ever – James Cameron’s Avatar 2, which we now know is titled The Way of Water. It must be a strange moment for stars Zoe Saldaña and Sam Worthington, who have been working on the movies for literally years, as well as having that connection to the first one in 2009.
“It’s exciting; nerve-wracking,” Zoe Saldaña told EW at CinemaCon “Humbling as well, you know — the wait is finally over. And we get to share something that we love so much with so many people that we know love it, too.” Sigourney Weaver and Giovanni Ribisi are also returning for the sequel. New cast-members include Kate Winslet, Michelle Yeoh, Edie Falco, and Jemaine Clement.
Cameron has promised that the sequel will “push the limits of the big screen” by utilising “3D, with high dynamic range, with high frame rate, higher resolution, and a much greater reality in our visual effects.” The first Avatar ushered in a 3D craze in cinema that lasted for a few years before burning out.
Saldaña compares playing Neytiri in Avatar to Gamora in the MCU, which requires hours of make up; “When it comes to Neytiri, it’s more of a practice. It’s months of training, not just rehearsing with your director, but training with movement coaches, and traveling to the jungle and getting to feel what it’s like to make your own food with all the elements that are around you. And once you use all of that, you do bring it into what we call the volume, which is the set, when you shoot under performance-capture.”
The actress explains that all of that preparation helped inform her performance, because “this world has to become alive in your imagination. Obviously, there are reference pictures, and Jim [Cameron] always has screens that are alive, and he’s showing you a very rough version of what the environment looks like,” she explains. “But you have been prepping yourself so much, and you believe so much in Pandora that it’s just not a difficult journey for you to make.”