In our first two trips to Pandora, Avatar viewers have seen the cruel side of humanity – greed, self-interest, violence and profit over anything else. The purity of life has been shown through the natives of the planet – the Na’vi. The forest-dwelling Omaticaya were our introduction to the Na’vi in 2009’s Avatar, while 2022’s Avatar: The Way of Water saw the introduction of the Metkayina, the tribe that live in the coastal regions of Pandora.
In the film, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and his family flee the forests to the oceans, seeking sanctuary from the peaceful ocean-living tribes, but now, director James Cameron has hinted that in the third installment of his multi-billion dollar franchise, we will meet a darker side of the Na’vi – fire-wielding residents of the planet, that he refers to as the ‘Ash People’. Speaking to French publication 20 Minutes, Cameron revealed that we can expect to see “different cultures” from around the planet.
The fire will be represented by the ‘Ash People.’ I want to show the Na’vi from another angle because, so far, I have only shown their good sides. In the early films, there are very negative human examples and very positive Na’vi examples. In Avatar 3, we will do the opposite. We will also explore new worlds, while continuing the story of the main characters. I can say that the last parts will be the best. The others were an introduction, a way to set the table before serving the meal. But, obviously, everything will depend on how Avatar 2 is received, if it finds its audience.”
Avatar 3 is almost entirely complete, and the cast will be bolstered by the additions of Michelle Yeoh, Oona Chaplin and David Thewlis. Yeoh will play human scientist Dr. Karina Mogue, Chaplin will play Varang, a Na’vi, and Thewlis will play an unnamed Na’vi character, who could possibly be playing one of the nefarious ‘Ash People’.
The Way of Water continues to steamroll all in its wake at the worldwide box office, recently crossing the $1.4 billion dollar mark and looks set to overtake Top Gun: Maverick as the biggest release of 2022. The film was reported to need to reach $1.4 billion to break even, with the budget for sequels believed to be smaller due to the technology needed for them having been budgeted from the second film onwards. Should The Way of Water keep pace with current expectations, there is an outside chance of the film reaching the $2 billion mark.
Avatar 3 is due to be released in cinemas on December 20, 2024.