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Normally the publicity machine for an upcoming movie starts really cranking six months or so before release. Sometimes we’ll get a trailer a bit sooner or a bit later. If it’s a really big movie, we might get set photos and various other teasers prior to the trailer to start building buzz. Avatar is still more than two years away, and the wheels are already rolling. We’ve been getting photos for months, and most of them look like dangerous underwater science experiments from the future. Even the ones above water have been on fire or included new weaponry and eye patches. Enter Kate Winslet. She is joining the Avatar franchise, and her set photo makes her look she’s attending a Met Gala on Otoh Gunga.

I’m sure the finished product with completed CGI will look a lot different, but even if it doesn’t, everything about this is great. The white cape is the obvious standout, but I’m also drawn to whatever is going on with her belt. In short, I can’t get enough and could look at pictures like this all day. Check out the shot released on social media

It’s been almost eleven years since the first Avatar movie came out. Initially, there was great excitement for the sequel. Then there was confusion about why it was taking so long. That eventually turned into skepticism that we’d ever seen another Avatar movie, but over the last several years, the project has finally started to build momentum again to the point where we’re getting all of these pictures. So, what took so long?

Well, the answer is, of course, complicated. It's so complicated in fact that earlier this year we put together this overview of all the delays. In short, after Avatar 1 grossed more than a billion dollars at the box office and became the highest grossing movie ever, two sequels were greenlighted with release dates of December 2014 and December 2015. The scripts took longer than expected to complete, however, and because director James Cameron wanted to shoot motion capture underwater, a ton of effort had to be put into improving the technology enough to do so. That trial and error process took years. Finally, everything was put into motion for an Avatar 2 release date in December of 2021 but then our current pandemic got in the way and shut down production. December of 2022, however, looks to be a pretty good bet at this point since filming is complete.

With a release date production can probably hit and most of the this-movie-is-never-going-to-happen jokes behind people, it feels like there’s a real excitement starting to build for Avatar 2. The set photos look incredible. The recent Avatar rides at Disney World were very well received. There’s good momentum. Some were critical of the first film’s plot and some creative decisions that felt a little on the nose, but it’s impossible to deny the movie visually felt decades ahead of its time. There’s great hope the sequel will feel the same way, especially after all the time and effort that has been put into the New Zealand based shoot and all the technology being used for it.

Avatar 2 will return many of the major cast members from the first film including Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, Giovanni Ribisi and Joel David Moore. Sigourney Weaver will also return in a different role. They’ll be joined by a bunch of newcomers, most notably Edie Falco, Oona Chaplin, Cliff Curtis and, of obviously, the aforementioned Kate Winslet.

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