The “Avatar” franchise is finally returning this month with its second installment, “The Way of Water,” but that’s not stopping producer Jon Landau from touting the fifth entry, which Disney currently has on its 2028 release calendar. Landau let it slip to Gizmodo that “Avatar 5” will bring the Na’vi alien race to earth.
“Well, it’s funny,” Landau said. “I wasn’t going to talk about it, but I’ve now subsequently heard that Jim has talked about it a little bit. In [‘Avatar 5’] there is a section of the story where we go to Earth. And we go to it to open people’s eyes, open Neytiri’s eyes, to what exists on Earth.”
“Earth is not just represented by the RDA [the franchise’s evil organization known as the Resources Development Administration],” he said. “Just like you’re defined by the choices you make in life, not all humans are bad. Not all Na’vi are good. And that’s the case here on Earth. And we want to expose Neytiri to that.”
Landau’s comments would suggest that Neytiri, played by Zoe Saldaña via motion capture, is going to survive the events of at least three “Avatar” sequels. Whether or not her character gets to come to Earth in “Avatar 5” will depend entirely on the box office returns for “Avatar: The Way of Water.” James Cameron shot “The Way of Water” and “Avatar 3” together and confirmed to Total Film magazine that “Avatar 3” can be changed into a franchise conclusion should “The Way of Water” not perform at the box office.
“The market could be telling us we’re done in three months, or we might be semi-done, meaning: ‘OK, let’s complete the story within movie three, and not go on endlessly,’ if it’s just not profitable,” Cameron said.
If the first batch of sequels are successful, then Cameron will see through with his plan to get “Avatar 4” and “Avatar 5” made. The filmmaker recently told Collider that his “Avatar 4” script was the first “Avatar” sequel not to receive a single note from studio executives.
“I can’t tell you the details, but all I can say is that when I turned in the script for [‘The Way of Water’], the studio gave me three pages of notes,” Cameron said. “And when I turned in the script for 3, they gave me a page of notes, so I was getting better. When I turned in the script for 4, the studio executive, the creative executive over the films, wrote me an email that said, ‘Holy fuck.’ And I said, ‘Well, where are the notes?’ And she said, ‘Those are the notes.’ Because it kind of goes nuts in a good way, right?”
“Avatar: The Way of Water” opens in theaters Dec. 16 from Disney.