Avatar: The way of the water is slated for December, but it has a pretty big problem: it’s a sequel to a movie that came out 13 years ago. Meanwhile, most of us can barely remember what happened on last week’s episode of She-Hulk – when Avatar 2 theaters, there can be a lot of confusion when characters start talking about unobtanium, Toruks, RDA, or the Noble Clyde Boudreaux. (One of those things isn’t actually in the movie — see if you can guess which one.)
However, James Cameron and crew have come up with a solution: re-release the first one Avatar in theatres. According to a trailer released on Tuesday, the 2009 film is back in theaters for two weeks from September 23 and will be shown in “all formats”, including IMAX, 4K / HDR and – of course – 3D.
That last point is a big one. Sure, theoretical people could check it out at home to catch up before heading out to see the new one, but hardly anyone will have the equipment to actually view it the way it was intended, with 3D glasses on their face. I also say theoretically because watching at home has become a lot more difficult since Disney has removed Avatar from its Disney Plus streaming service. While Disney did not immediately respond to The edge‘s request for comment on when it will be available again, a report of Variety cites sources who claim it will come back sooner The way of the waterthe release date. The film is currently available for rent through services such as Apple TV or YouTube.
If Disney’s ploy to force you into a theater to re-watch Avatar is successful, you can get that full experience back as if it were 2009 without having more than a decade to forget all the jargon and world-building. (Well, almost the full experience – you won’t have the “pleasure” of listening to “Boom Boom Pow” or “Poker Face” on the radio while driving home from the theater to make an angry forum post. writing about making James Cameron “unobtanium” a real plot point in a sci-fi movie.)
Movies returning to theaters to prepare for a sequel aren’t necessarily a new phenomenon — I remember attending a screening of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight On The Dark Knight Rises‘ opening night, and some theaters have done similar things for Marvel movie releases. Even James Cameron is no stranger to the theatrical reissue; Titanic has come back to theaters sooner and is do it again next year – although of course that’s not because it’s getting a sequel. However, for most movies, seeing the prequels is a luxury; because of how complex Avatar was and how long it’s been since it was released, it feels a bit like required reading this time around.
Update August 23, 7:53 PM ET: Added information about Disney’s removal of Avatar from Disney Plus.