Skip to main content

Environmental Topics in the Blockbuster Movie Avatar and Sequel News!

More Avatar Films on the way? Sequel News!

Yup! James Cameron is already working on not only Avatar 2 but an Avatar 3 and 4 as well. There is speculation that the next three films will explore more of the planet Pandora, especially the deep oceans. The films will still follow Sully and Neytiri, as well as possible additions to the family! Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington will return, as well as...Sigourney Weaver! I'm glad Cameron has decided to make more movies, which should host a bunch of new environmental issues within it's plot and message!

Avatar 2 is expected to be released in December 2016, Avatar 3 in 2017 and Avatar 4 in 2018. However, rumors have it that both movie will be filmed at the same time or back to back. James Cameron has been quoted by CNN as describing the sequels as 'Bitchin'.

The latest news about the Avatar sequels was released in early May 2015. Unfortunately, due to the large amount of material to shift through and piece together, James Cameron has pushed back Avatar 2 release date from December 2016 to December 2017.

Update July 2015: Avatar sequels have once again been pushed back. Avatar 2 will now air in 2017, Avatar 3 in 2018, and Avatar 4 in 2019. Cameron is waiting on better technology to finish underwater scenes and is also finishing up all the screenplays before filming.

Update November 2015: We have a release date for Avatar 2. December 25, 2017!!

UPDATE: As of July 5, 2019, Avatar 2 is set to be released in the year 2021, which is a whole 12 years after the original Avatar movie was released in 2009.

Jake Sully in his Avatar to the left with Neytiri to the right

Jake Sully in his Avatar to the left with Neytiri to the right

Trees of Pandora

Trees of Pandora

It's All About the Environment!

The mega blockbuster Avatar came out in the summer of 2009 setting records with a dramatic story and new technology. The movie was written and directed by James Cameron, starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and Sigourney Weaver.

The Story

The story centers around the character Jake Sully played by Worthington, who is an ex marine in a wheelchair that gets recruited to fill the shoes of his dead twin brother on his research trip to Pandora. Pandora is an earth like planet that is not completely habitable to humans, contain an abundance of resources that earth can use. Although Pandora is not completely in habitable for humans doesn't mean it is devoid of life. The indigenous people called the Navi live on this planet. There is tension between the colonized humans and the indigenous Navi. This movie follows the love story of Jake and Neytiri (Saldana), a member of the Navi, and the struggle over the rights to the land.

I have to admit when the movie first came out there was so much buzz about it being this amazing movie I was actually turned off of it. A lot of the talk was about the technology used to create this film and how it would revolutionize the movie industry but not a lot was mentioned about it's overwhelming environmental themes. When I first saw the film after my father rented it, I was ecstatic! The environmental messages and themes in the film were amazing! The fact that the themes intertwined with a great love story and action made it even better. I went from passively boycotting the movie to promoting it for it's environmental message. It has actually become one of my favorite movies, teaches me to not judge a book by it's cover or a film by it's hype!

The environmental themes presented in the film are very important and embed every aspect of the movie. I believe this film makes a strong statement about how we (humans) treat our own planet. The film, although science fiction, is a great smoke screen allowing the audience to take a step back and examine our own issues from a distance. This distance is created by the idea that the problems exist on Pandora and not earth, which then allows the audience to be less defensive and more open to the issues we create. Below I will list the environmental themes of Avatar, some will have brief explanations.

  • Resource depletion/extraction- analogy to the fossil fuel resource extraction from the Middle East via Military Presense. The Military, privately owned, is on Pandora for Unobtainium, a valuable metal, and will do anything in order to extract that resource.
  • Bio-engineering- the creation and growing of Navi beings for humans to control and walk around in. This fringes on cross species cloning as well and contemplates the question of how far is to far with technology and biology?
  • The wilderness/frontier theme is very prevalent. The idea that humans need to conquer, discover and redesign nature.
  • Mother Gaia (earth herself)- in the movies everything is connected to the "tree of souls". Pandora is seen as a provider to the Navi and is respected as a mother figure.
  • Deep Ecology has a strong presence in the movie. The Navi do not feel like they are above nature, they are apart of it. There are cycles of life and the Navi are no better than the rest just a part of the cycle. This evident in the scenes where they hunt for food and thank the animal that they killed. It is also presented when a Navi dies and is buried, Neytiri explains that all life is just borrowed and that it is returned to the environment at some point.
  • Interconnected ecosystem- everything is connected on Pandora, plants, Navi and their animals they ride (which they make a bond with), each other, and finally the tree of souls where past Navi are connected to present Navi. Also evident in the end when the forest works together to fight the invading force.
  • Finally the biodiversity in the film seems familiar to that of rain forest on Earth. It also illustrates how resource extraction has encroached on this important biodiversity.
Scroll to Continue

Avatar Trailer


Tarun Mantri on July 07, 2019:

good graphics and visuals

Ryan Jarvis Cornelius from Hollywood, FL on December 31, 2018:

Great article. Very informative. Looking foward to more.

Patrick on May 14, 2014:

Thanks poopnugget

poopnugget on February 14, 2012:

good read

Brian Dooling (author) from Connecticut on October 02, 2011:

Thanks UnitedeStatesNavy

UnitedStatesNavy from South Bend, Indiana... the port capital of the world!!! on October 01, 2011:

good article

Related Articles