Avatar: The Way of Water world premiere takes place in London

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Kate Winslet, who first worked with director James Cameron on Titanic, appears in Avatar: The Way of Water

Avatar: The Way of Water, the sequel to the highest-grossing film of all time, has had its world premiere in London.

The much-delayed launch comes 13 years after the original sci-fi film, which was released in 2009.

Director James Cameron was joined on the blue carpet in Leicester Square by stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver and Kate Winslet.

The Avatar series is set on the lush planet Pandora where the existence of the Na’vi people is threatened.

Here are some photos from Tuesday’s world premiere in London, and you can find more information about the film further down.

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Actress Zoe Saldaña, who also starred in the original film, reprises her role in Avatar: The Way of Water

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Actor Sam Worthington, pictured with his wife Laura, is also returning to the franchise for the Avatar sequel

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Director James Cameron, pictured with his wife Suzy Amis, is planning three more sequels after this one

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Actress Sigourney Weaver was also among the stars seen at the film’s world premiere in London’s Leicester Square

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Other stars spotted on the blue carpet included Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am

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The familiar faces also included Star Wars actor John Boyega

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Model Jourdan Dunn was also seen posing for photographers ahead of the film’s premiere

Here are the answers to some burning questions Earthlings may have about Avatar: The Way of Water.

What is the story?

image source, 20th Century Studios
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The character Jake Sully (Worthington) seen with one of his children

The first film followed a paralyzed Marine Jake Sully (played by Worthington) as he traveled to the planet Pandora, where he took on an avatar body.

He ended up joining the planet’s indigenous people in the fight against an attempt by humans to destroy their home in order to obtain a precious mineral.

The Way of Water is set many years later. Jake now has a family with Neytiri (Saldaña), and it follows their new life on Pandora.

When was it originally supposed to be released?

In 2010, a year after the original Avatar, 20th Century Fox (as the company was then called, before it was sold to Disney) said that there would be two sequels, and that the first of them would be released in December 2014.

That goal turned out to be somewhat ambitious. And for the next few years, a common story from Hollywood was that the release date had once again been pushed back.

December 2014 became December 2016. Which became December 2017. Which became December 2018. You see. Anyway, it’s finally out next week, Friday the 16th. December 2022.

Why has it taken so long?

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Much of the film takes place in the oceans of the planet Pandora

Cameron tossed out a version of an Avatar sequel that, after writing it, he decided not to deliver.

The Canadian filmmaker also has a life outside the cinema, and has spent some time exploring deep seas (although that might count as research for the new film, much of which takes place in and under water).

Cameron also wanted to plan four sequels. And to take full advantage of new film developments in motion capture and CGI.

How long is it?

Well, it’s not Cameron’s longest film. That honor goes to Titanic, which clocks in at a hefty 3 hours and 15 minutes.

But Avatar: The Way of Water isn’t too far behind. Avatar 2, as it may otherwise be called, has a running time of approximately 3 hours and 12 minutes.

A little less if you dive out at the start of the long final credits!

Who’s in?

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L-R: Kate Winslet, Sigourney Weaver, James Cameron, Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington at the London premiere

The stars of the original epic, Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldaña, have returned.

So does Sigourney Weaver who – (spoiler alert) – died in the original film.

They are joined by young newcomers Jack Champion, James Flatters and Trinity Jo-Li Bliss, along with Oscar winner Kate Winslet.

How much did the original make?

It has grossed a total of $2.92 billion (£2.39 billion) at the global box office, making it the biggest film of all time (adjusted for inflation).

It briefly lost the title to Avengers: Endgame in 2019, but regained it after Avatar was re-released.

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The original Avatar movie is the biggest movie of all time

Do I need 3D glasses to watch it?

The film is released in a number of formats. Including 3D, 2D and Imax. So no one is forcing you to watch it in 3D if you don’t want to.

But perceived wisdom is that a big part of the original’s appeal was its astonishingly immersive 3D sequences.

How many more sequels are planned?

Currently, a total of four sequels are planned, including this one.

Avatar 2 is of course out next week, while Avatar 3 has already been shot, and will be released in 2024.

Avatar 4 is partially shot ahead of a planned release in 2026. And Avatar 5 has a finished script. If it is made, and there is a question mark over it, it will be out in 2028.

The uncertainty is because of the films’ price. The Way of Water had a budget of more than $350m (£287m), meaning it will need to be a huge success at the box office to recoup its money.

If it’s a relative failure, it’s hard to see Disney shelling out hundreds of millions more to finish a series they think the viewing public may have lost interest in.

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Kate Winslet plays a character named Ronal

Do the sequels have names yet?

In 2018, BBC News revealed that the planned titles were The Way of Water, The Seed Bearer, The Tulkun Rider and The Quest for Eywa.

The Way of Water was finally confirmed in April this year. Only James Cameron knows if he will stick with the other titles.

What are The Way of Water’s chances at the Oscars?

The original was nominated for nine Oscars, including best picture, losing to The Hurt Locker.

Winners included Best Production Design and Best Visual Effects. Many expect a similar display to be possible at the 2023 Oscars.

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