After over a decade of waiting, multiple setbacks, and debates over whether it will even go ahead, James Cameron’s Avatar 2 (2022) is slated to debut at the end of the year in a coveted holiday release slot. While fans of the Avatar franchise are hopeful that the release date is concrete, the December opening is also currently taken up by a controversial movie sequel — Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (2022).
As the news of this movie clash dropped, fans took to social media to debate which they would be seeing with many stating they would be avoiding a certain sequel due to one of its stars.
Director James Cameron brought Avatar (2009) into audiences’ lives 13 years ago. The science fiction film was revolutionary and completely ahead of its time when it debuted all those years ago. Boasting innovative and award-nominated visual effects, the movie paved the way for significant development in 3D technology to be utilized in more film and television projects. Avatar is currently the highest-grossing movie of all time — it was unseated shortly by the Russo Brothers’ Avengers: Endgame (2019) but recouped its crown after a Chinese re-release. Cameron’s Avatar sits at just shy of $2.9 billion at the global box office so it’s safe to say that sequels to the inaugural Pandoran movie are certainly happening.
The success of the movie which stars Sam Worthington (Jake Sully), Zoe Saldana (Neytiri), Michelle Rodriguez (Trudy Chacón), Sigourney Weaver (Dr. Grace Augustine), and Stephen Lang (Colonel Miles Quaritch) — among many, many others — has meant that fans of Avatar can look forward to a slew of new projects from 20th Century Fox (now, 20th Century Studios). The four sequels will span the next six years with Avatar 2, Avatar 3, Avatar 4, and Avatar 5, scheduled for December 16, 2022, December 20, 2024, December 18, 2026, and December 22, 2028, respectively.
Last month, Avatar producer Jon Landau revealed elements of the plot of the much-anticipated sequel which got fans excited over the long-awaited follow-up to the 2009 action movie, despite concerns that Avatar was not popular for its execution of the story and character but more so for its game-changing visual effects. Parts of both Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 have been filmed in New Zealand.
However, as reported recently Avatar 2‘s release is set to clash with another huge sequel. As Discussing Film (@DiscussingFilm) reported:
‘AQUAMAN AND THE LOST KINGDOM’ & ‘AVATAR 2’ are scheduled to both release on December 16, 2022. Will you be watching both? See every upcoming movie in 2022: bit.ly/Dates2022
'AQUAMAN AND THE LOST KINGDOM' & 'AVATAR 2' are scheduled to both release on December 16, 2022. Will you be watching both?
— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) January 19, 2022
The revelation that both Cameron’s sequel and the Aquaman (2018) sequel from director James Wan will drop in movie theaters on the same day sparked heated responses online with many film fans swaying towards Avatar 2 following the ongoing Amber Heard controversy. The Hollywood actress stars as Mera alongside Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry AKA the titular Aquaman. Heard has actually been blamed for Momoa’s divorce from Lisa Bonet.
@SeniPrime took to Twitter to air their views:
I’m glad that Twitter collectively agrees to completely avoid Aquaman 2 as long as Amber Heard is in it and watch Avatar 2 instead come December 16.
I'm glad that Twitter collectively agrees to completely avoid Aquaman 2 as long as Amber Heard is in it and watch Avatar 2 instead come December 16. https://t.co/5Pu2hOSUSq
— 𝐌𝐚𝐣𝐢𝐧 𝐈𝐈😈 (@SeniPrime) January 19, 2022
In a similar vein, Ryan (@CEOofMakiOze) stated:
Avatar 2 doesn’t have Amber Heard in it, so… pass on Aquaman.
Avatar 2 doesn't have Amber Heard in it, so… pass on Aquaman. https://t.co/BNWG5toyHO
— Ryan (@CEOofMakiOze) January 19, 2022
Heard has been at the center of multiple lawsuits with her ex-husband, actor Johnny Depp. The star of Pirates of the Caribbean will go to court against Heard in April this year to discuss the defamation suit Depp and Depp’s lawyer launched against Depp’s ex-wife following an OpEd she penned in The Washington Post in 2018. This will come over a year after Depp’s libel trial against British tabloid The Sun and writer Dan Wootton after the publication called him a “wife-beater”.
Since Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom was announced #FireAmberHeard has ignited on social media with fans of Depp and of the DC Extended Universe calling for Warner Bros. to fire the actress from her role, much like they did to Depp when he resigned from playing Gellert Grindelwald in the Fantastic Beasts franchise film, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (2022) from JK Rowling.
However, another tweet from Max (@Woodstock_TV), suggested they wouldn’t be seeing either. They said:
Nobody actually cares about Avatar and Amber Heard is still in Aquaman 2
Nobody actually cares about Avatar and Amber Heard is still in Aquaman 2 😬 https://t.co/pLTPIlUY9B
— Max (@Woodstock_TV) January 19, 2022
There is a big question mark over whether Avatar 2 will actually land with audiences after having such a long departure from the pop culture conversation. But, sometimes a long wait can actually instill hype and anticipation in a project and some fans are likely clamoring to see just what visual effects an Avatar-level of film, 13 years after the original, will deliver.
As for the Aquaman sequel, the first movie did a surprising billion-dollar at the box office meaning chances are high that this movie, despite Heard’s appearance, will also bring in some big numbers.
Which movie are you planning to see on December 16? Or will it be both? Or none? Let us know in the comments down below!
The Avatar sequel will also star Kate Winslet (Ronal), Michelle Yeoh (Dr. Karina Mogue), Jake Champion (Miles “Spider” Sorocco), Edie Falco (General Ardmore), CCH Pounder (Mo’at), Cliff Curtis (Tonowari), and Matt Gerald (Corporal Lyle Wainfleet), among others.