Avatar 2: The Way of Water{image via 20th Century Studios}

Disney is known for their meticulous attention to detail. Have you ever looked at the book titles in Mr. Toad’s library as you’re waiting to go on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride at Disneyland? Now, Disney will be known for something else: long range planning.

Avatar 2: The Way of Water was only released December 16, 2022. However, Disney has announced that Avatar 5 will be released December 19, 2031. The third and fourth entries in the series have not been made yet, so it seems premature to plan the fifth segment, let alone announce a release date for it.

If all goes on schedule, Avatar 3 should be released December 19, 2025, a full year after its original release date of December 20, 2024. As we all know, calendars in Hollywood are never carved in stone. Avatar 4 is tentatively set for December 21, 2029. Its previous release date had been December 18, 2026.

Disney is making a major investment in director James Cameron’s Avatar franchise. There are currently two Avatar-themed rides at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom, Avatar: Flight of Passage, a wild motion simulator attraction and Na’vi River Journey, a slow relaxing boat ride designed to let guests rest their feet in air conditioning while observing Pandoran scenery. Walt Disney World intends to expand on these two rides by creating a new ‘land’ within Animal Kingdom – Pandora, the World of Avatar. Presumably, additional attractions and merchandise will be designed around the third, fourth, and fifth movies. I hope they build more and batter restaurants. I regret to say the Satu’li Canteen is the only eatery at any Disney park where I have ever had a bad meal.

Neither Disney Studios nor director James Cameron have announced the plots of the planned Avatar movies.

Release dates of movies are often changed. Big blockbusters take a while to make. Sometimes there are delays, especially in films that rely heavily on special effects. Covid, of course, delayed many projects, and while the pandemic is down to an epidemic now, the disease has not gone away.

As our distinguished colleagues at The Hollywood Reporter pointed out, this is not the only change on Disney’s schedule. Avengers: the Kang Dynasty has been pushed back to May 1, 2026. This has caused the follow-up, Avengers: Secret Wars, to be pushed pushed back a year, to May 7, 2027.

It would be best to regard December 19, 2031 as a tentative date, subject to change without warning. A lot can happen in eight years. The Hollywood Reporter observed that it is “unheard of for a Hollywood studio” to announce release dates this far in advance. What are you doing in 2031? A better question would be is there enough material in the Avatar franchise to sustain five movies? That uncertainty alone casts a spotlight on Disney’s scheduling decision.


Susan Macdonald
Susan Macdonald

Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as 26 short stories, mostly fantasy in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress ”, Swords &Sorceries Vols. 1, 2, & 5, “Cat Tails” “Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions,  Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.