Does James Cameron’s Avatar has Its Own Cinematic Universe?

James Cameron’s Avatar was groundbreaking when it debuted and brought a new shade of science-fiction to the masses. Now, 13 years later, the record-breaking movie is getting its sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water. Since the trailer dropped in May this year, the internet has been on fire with speculations and reviews, with fans wondering what more the franchise has in store.

Indeed, there will be sequels, and there has already been a video game, but will Avatar spawn its own extended universe? Fans are eager to see the magical world grow, whether it be in the form of spin-off shows or otherwise. The likes of Harry Potter and Star Wars certainly went that way, and Avatar would indeed benefit from an extended lore, making it one of the most expansive original universes since Tolkien’s Middle-earth.

Avatar’s Current Universe Includes Planned Sequels and a Video Game

It has been revealed that Avatar: The Way of Water is the first of four sequels planned, meaning that when the franchise eventually finishes, it will have five total movies. When speaking about the process of shooting the sequels to come, director James Cameron told Variety, “We mixed the schedules for ‘2’ and ‘3’ together, based on the types of scenes and the environments […] Anything that had to be done with a specific actor, we did all the scenes for ‘2’ and ‘3’ together – and a little bit of ‘4.’” The fact that work has already started on the other movies demonstrates that the franchise will continue after the sequel. While there are some questions about the titles of the other movies, it’s been suggested that Avatar 3 will release on December 20, 2024, Avatar 4 on December 18, 2026, and Avatar 5 on December 22, 2028. In 2018, BBC News speculated that the other three projects will be called Avatar: The Seed Bearer, Avatar: The Tulkun Rider, and Avatar: The Quest for Eywa.

Many fans will also remember the first Avatar game, James Cameron’s Avatar: The Game, which came out in 2009, shortly after the release of the first movie. The game, developed by Ubisoft Montreal for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, Wii and Nintendo DS, was loosely based on the events of the first movie. Players take the role of Lance Corporal Able Ryder, a SecOps signal specialist who arrives on Pandora, hand-picked to take part in the Avatar Program, and, like Jake Sully, has to pick a side in the war to come. The good news is that there is another Avatar game in the works: Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora. Frontiers will be an open-world action adventure, and, like the first game was based on the first movie, it would be no surprise if Frontiers followed the events of The Way of Water. Frontiers is being developed by Massive Entertainment and will be published by Ubisoft for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, Amazon Luna and Stadia later this year.

Not many audiences will also realize that there are comics expanding the story of Avatar. Avatar: Tsu’tey’s Path is a comic miniseries by Dark Horse Comics and follows the Omaticaya clan’s finest warrior and later clan leader, Tsu’tey. The comic takes place concurrently with the first Avatar film and sheds light on certain events that took place offscreen. One of the newest comics is Avatar: Adapt or Die, another miniseries published by Dark Horse that serves as a prequel to the franchise.

What Could Come Next for the Avatar Universe?

So what is next for the Avatar franchise? There is still so much left to explore within the universe. With so many sequels in the works and a new video game, Cameron’s beloved movie will certainly grow to rival classics like The Lord of the Rings, particularly as the sequels bring in new audiences. Considering the release of the previous and upcoming video games coincides with the release of the movies, fans may get to see more video games in the future following events inspired by the movies. Knowing Ubisoft and how it consistently produces new games every year, it certainly isn’t much of a stretch to suggest that Avatar will be one of its new IPs.

There also seems to be plenty of interest and content for more comic series, exploring individual characters’ points of view and adventures. Considering Neytiri and Jake have five children in the upcoming movie (two adopted and three biological), it seems as if Cameron and his partners are gearing up for more stories involving them as they grow up. Moreover, since The Way of Water will feature another Na’vi tribe, movies and comics to come may explore other areas of the planet Pandora and the tribes that live there.

To see what the franchise’s future holds, Avatar: The Way of Water sails into theaters on December 16.

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