The 'Avatar' Sequels Won't Leave Pandora, Expect More Crossover Between Film And Theme Park

The weird and wild thing about Walt Disney World's Pandora: The World of Avatar is that it's a spoiler for movies that haven't even been made yet. The theme park land, located at the Animal Kingdom park in Orlando, Florida, is "set" decades after the events of James Cameron's un-made Avatar sequels. Peace has come to Pandora and guests step into the roles of tourists who are allowed to visit the alien world, which is slowly recovering after the various wars with mankind.

It's an incredible framing device for a theme park land, but it definitely makes talking about those sequels a wee-bit strange. And in a new interview, producer Jon Landau talked about the upcoming four (!) Avatar sequels, sharing film-specific details while confirming that the bonds between the films and the theme park land will continue to grow.

New Na'vi

Landau spoke with the folks over at Inside the Magic, and the bulk of the interview dwells on the Disney theme park attractions that so magnificently recreate Cameron's sci-fi world. However, Landau does throw movie fans a bone here and there, like when he explains that the first Avatar film only introduced us to one Na'vi clan, who inhabit a single valley on Pandora. The sequel will take us beyond that valley and introduce us to other groups of Na'vi:

"We're going to go to totally different environments, we're going to meet different cultures. Just like our planet is as diverse culturally as we are environmentally. We want to introduce people to different cultures. In the first movie, we only met the Omaticaya clan, and they are the clan here allowing us to come to the Valley of Mo'ara. But as we venture out we're going to different environments and different clans."

While the storytelling in Avatar is fairly boilerplate, the world-building is not, and I'm very intrigued by this. So much of Avatar luxuriates in exploring the world of the Na'vi and their culture, so the thought that we've only seen one tiny corner of a much larger population is fascinating. Plus, it'll avoid the common sci-fi trope of every alien race being exactly the same all over a single planet.

Pandora is Big Enough

If every valley and every jungle and every island and every lake on Pandora is home to a separate clan of Na'vi, presumably with their own beliefs and cultures and societal structures, that means we aren't even close to having seen all of this alien land. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that Landau says all four Avatar sequels will be set on Pandora and the story will not venture to any other worlds:

"As we've moved on with the sequels to Avatar we made a very conscious decision to stage the whole four sequels on Pandora. We don't need to go to another world if we want water, we're going to go to the oceans of Pandora."

Once again, this is nice way to smash a common science fiction trope. In Star Wars and similar stories, planets tend to be build around a single ecosystem. But allowing Pandora to be more than just a jungle, it becomes a world that is potentially capable of sustaining an entire five-film epic. Plus, it ties into what Cameron said earlier this year when he called the ongoing series a "generational" saga like The Godfather:

"It's a continuation of the same characters, but what happen when warriors that are willing to go on suicide charges, and leap off cliffs on to the back of big orange toruks, what happens when they grow up and have their own kids? It becomes a very different story. Now the kids are the risk-takers and the change-makers. So, it's interesting, but it makes sense to me. Everybody's either a parent, or they had parents at the very least, and if you look at the big successful franchises now, they're pretty much uninterested in that."

Look to the Theme Parks for More

And finally, for a tiny taste of what to expect from the Avatar sequels, you simply need to pay a visit to the Animal Kingdom theme park and ride the acclaimed simulator ride Flight of Passage. As Landau says:

"Also, some of those creatures that you see [on Flight of Passage], don't be surprised if they show up in the films."

Here's footage of the ride in-action, just in case you want to spot any new critters.

Avatar 2 will open on December 18, 2020. If all goes according to plan, Avatar 3 will follow on December 17, 2021Avatar 4 on December 20, 2024, and Avatar 5 on December 19, 2025.