Zoe Saldana Expresses Concern Over ‘Avatar’ Sequels Delay: “Great! I’m Gonna Be 53”

in Avatar, Disney, Movies & TV

Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) in Avatar

Credit: Disney

Amid bombshell news that the upcoming sequels for James Cameron’s Avatar universe have been delayed by several years, Neytiri actor Zoe Saldana took to social media to share her candid reaction, pointing out just how long she’s been a part of the franchise and how old she’ll be when Avatar 5 releases in 2031.

'Avatar' Sequels Delayed Again After Major Announcement From Disney

James Cameron’s Avatar became an instant smash-hit phenomenon when it debuted in 2009, setting a new precedent for the future of sci-fi. The visionary director’s groundbreaking CGI, special effects, and motion-capture technology all but reinvented cinema as we know it, and the films’ box office performances certainly reflect audiences’ amazement.

Avatar still holds the record for the highest-earning movie of all time, with a lifetime gross of $2.9 billion, while its follow-up, Avatar: The Way of Water (2022), sits at $2.3 billion.

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) in Avatar: The Way of Water
Credit: 20th Century Studios

Creating an Avatar franchise has always been Cameron’s goal, with the auteur speaking on plans for an Avatar 3, 4, 5, and possibly beyond as Disney looks to expand the IP into various mediums in the coming years. With multiple Avatar video games already on the market and more on the horizon, rumors of a Disney+ series set in the Avatar universe have also run rampant, meaning we can expect a lot of visits to Pandora in the coming years.

But fans received some bad news when it was announced earlier this week that the remaining Avatar installments had been delayed, the first of which was supposed to come out next December, with Avatar 4 and Avatar 5 set for releases in 2026 and 2028, respectively.

Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) in Avatar: The Way of Water
Credit: 20th Century Studios

The reasoning behind the decision to postpone the sequels’ initial release dates remains unknown, but considering just how much of a feat it is to make an Avatar movie, one can only assume it’s due to the time-intensive VFX.

After the news dropped on Tuesday, Saldana, who plays Na’vi warrior Neytiri alongside Sam Worthington’s Jake Sully, took to her Instagram story to share her thoughts on the franchise delays, pointing out that she’ll be in her early 50s by the time the final installment releases in 2031.

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and his son in Avatar: The Way of Water
Credit: 20th Century Studios

Saldana also noted that she was just 27 when she made her franchise debut in the 2009 original, meaning the actress will have been a part of the Avatar universe for a whopping 26 years by the time she takes her final bow in Avatar 5. Check out her post below:

Zoe Saldana reacts to Avatar delays IG

Of course, audiences had to wait patiently for 13 years between the first two movies, meaning longtime fans are undoubtedly used to playing a waiting game by now. Still, with Disney having long given the green light to Cameron’s planned Avatar sequels, some were holding out hope that filmmakers would’ve had the time and resources to release Avatar 3 on its projected December 2024 premiere date.

But having to wait a long time between future Avatar installments might actually be a good thing for the franchise. Jake and Neytiri aged nearly 15 years between the first two movies and had three children throughout this period. By taking into account the large gap between films, Avatar: The Way of Water was better able to tap into Worthington and Saldana’s own life experiences as parents, which is reflected in the movie. 

Using this same logic, future Avatar installments could feel all the more authentic, assuming they’ll follow Jake and Neytiri as they get older, reflecting the actors’ own experiences as they age and evolve as parents. Younger actors like Britain Dalton (Lo’ak), Bailey Bass (Tsireya), and Trinity Bliss (Tuk) will also get the chance to do a bit of growing up in the meantime, nicely setting up their arcs for the next Avatar movie.

While it might be disheartening to hear that Cameron’s slate of Avatar sequels has fallen victim to delays, The Way of Water is proof that sometimes, it’s worth the wait. And with talented performers like Saldana at the helm, audiences can surely expect to see some epic additions to the Avatar universe in the coming years.

Are you frustrated that Avatar 3, 4, and 5 are being postponed? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Comments Off on Zoe Saldana Expresses Concern Over ‘Avatar’ Sequels Delay: “Great! I’m Gonna Be 53”