New Avatar: The Way of Water trailer proves it could be the best movie of 2022

Jake stands over Kiri as she aims an arrow at a fish off-camera in Avatar: The Way of Water
Avatar: The Way of Water looks absolutely magical. (Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

The official trailer for Avatar: The Way of Water has been released online – and we don't think there'll be a more beautiful film to arrive in theaters for a long time.

The latest teaser for the long overdue Avatar sequel reveals a bit more about its family-based drama at the heart of its story. Much like its predecessor, which is the highest-grossing movie of all-time, though, it's Avatar: The Way of Water's awe-inspiring visuals that'll have viewers replaying the trailer until the movie's release later this year.

Check out the official Avatar 2 trailer below:

In a press release, Disney and 20th Century Studios provided a bit more context about the film's plot.

"Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, Avatar: The Way of Water” begins to tell the story of the Sully family (Jake, Neytiri, and their kids)," the synopsis reads. "[And] the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive, and the tragedies they endure."

A new poster has also debuted online, which puts the Sully family – including adoptive teenage daughter Kiri (Sigourney Weaver) – front and center. Given they'll play integral roles in one of the most anticipated movies of 2022, that's to be expected. Take a look at the visually arresting one sheet below:

Legendary director James Cameron returns to direct the follow-up to his wildly successful Avatar film, while John Landau also returns alongside Cameron in a producing capacity. Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Kate Winslet, and Stephen Lang join Weaver in featuring in major roles in The Way of Water, too.

Avatar: The Way of Water will release in theaters worldwide on December 16.

Analysis: will The Way of Water be as successful as Avatar?

Jake kneels down as he speaks to Kiri against a fiery backdrop in Avatar: The Way of Water

Can The Way of Water topple its predecessor in the box office charts? (Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

All signs point towards yes – though The Way of Water will have to dominate the global box office for months in order to do so.

The 2009 original was a box office juggernaut upon release, going on to amass $1 billion in its first 19 days post-launch and eventually earning an eyewatering $2.75 billion by the end of its theatrical run. It wasn't until Marvel's Avengers: Endgame, which arrived in April 2019, that Avatar was toppled as the highest-grossing film ever made, with the Marvel movie earning $2.79 billion globally.

Endgame's time at the top wasn't set to last, though. Avatar was re-released in theaters earlier in 2022, with the aim of a) refreshing fans' memories about the 2009 film's plot before The Way of Water arrives, and b) attempting to usurp Endgame in the box office stakes. Unsurprisingly, Avatar did just that – its total now standing at $2.92 billion.

In short, Avatar: The Way of Water needs to become the first-ever $3 billion movie if it's to succeed the epic sci-fi film franchise's first entry as the biggest money-spinning movie of all-time. With Cameron making fans wait over a decade before they could return to Pandora, it'll be fascinating to see if the Avatar movie series still holds sway over the public. Oh, and there's also the small matter of Marvel Studios' latest movie – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – to deal with from a competition standpoint in the final months of the year. No pressure, everyone.

Still, Avatar's recent re-release shows there's still an audience for Cameron's works, especially ones as visually striking as Avatar are. Sure, the prospect of Avatar 2 eclipsing its predecessor's box office takings are slim, but don't count it out just yet. Nobody expected Avatar to become the most successful film (from a monetary perspective) ever, and nobody thought Avengers: Endgame will topple it before being overhauled itself. 

If there's one film that can surpass both, it's The Way of Water. Let the box office games begin.

Interested in catching 2009's Avatar before its sequel is released? Check the film out on Disney Plus now.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across. Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.