Avatar 2 set photo

James Cameron‘s Avatar 2, which will take us back to the world of Pandora first established in his 2009 record-smashing blockbuster behemoth, had to shut down its New Zealand production last month due to the coronavirus pandemic. But today, the film’s official Twitter account shared a behind-the-scenes photo (hopefully taken long before that shutdown) that gives us our first look at returning characters played by Sigourney Weaver and Joel David Moore. Does this photo indicate that the sequel will feature a flashback to the time period of the original movie?

Avatar 2 Set Photo

(Word to the wise: Jon Landau’s Instagram might eventually show more behind the scenes looks at the movie, but as of right now, most of his recent posts are just of him wearing novelty T-shirts that display some variation of the message “wash your hands” on them. I support the message, but I suspect at least one of them is Photoshopped onto a plain black T-shirt, but maybe someone can do a proper journalistic investigation into that on their own time.)

We know Avatar 2 takes place years after the original movie, because the sequels follow Jake (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) and the children they’ve had in the intervening time since the first film. Weaver’s Dr. Grace Augustine died in the original and became one with the life tree at the end of the movie, and the actress has previously said she’s playing a different character in the sequels. But the clothing in this photo looks very similar to her Grace Augustine wardrobe, so either this is a flashback, or the new character she’s playing is a Grace Augustine twin. Personally, I’m hoping for the latter, just so we can say that James Cameron’s Avatar 2 has something in common with the Broken Lizard movie Beerfest.

Avatar 2 is currently slated to hit theaters on December 27, 2021, with the three sequels to follow in December 2023, December 2025, and December 2027. But considering the aforementioned production shutdown, it’s unclear if the movie will make that date or need to be pushed back yet again.

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