SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Sci-fi fans and film buffs can rejoice this week as news of a long-awaited sequel has finally surfaced.  

A trailer for the much-anticipated sequel to James Cameron’s “Avatar” appeared on YouTube and elsewhere on the internet on May 9. The sequel is titled “Avatar: The Way of Water” and is set to release in the US on December 16, 2022. 

The trailer debuted earlier this weekend as a trailer in theaters, giving cinemagoers a sneak peek at the newly confirmed sequel. No information has been released indicating whether or the film will be an in-theater exclusive or if it will be available for streaming like many similar big-budget releases in the last several years. 

James Cameron’s “Avatar” was released in 2009 and grossed $2.84 billion dollars worldwide. “Avengers: Endgame” ranks second, grossing $2.79 billion dollars worldwide. The upcoming sequel to “Avatar” could unseat either film’s position at the top if it performs as successfully as its predecessor did internationally. 

The first film starred Sam Worthington, who is confirmed to have a role in the sequel as well. Worthington also plays a leading role in “Under the Banner of Heaven,” which recently brought him to a premiere in downtown Salt Lake City. Zoe Saldaña and Sigourney Weaver are also confirmed to be reappearing in “Avatar: The Way of Water.” 

James Cameron is notoriously secretive about his projects, which most likely explains why so few details about the film set to release this December were available until now. The budget of the film is reportedly around $250 million dollars, according to Collider as of 2017.

Fans of the first film will recognize familiar sights in the new trailer, including breathtaking shots of Pandora, the beloved setting of the first film. The trailer also depicts Worthington’s character speaking about “family” alongside several shots of what appear to be “Na’vi” children, suggesting the film might follow the descendants of the principal characters of the first film. 

Since the first film’s release, several multimedia licensed follow-ups have been created, including a video game released in 2009 and an entire section of Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom theme park designed to allow visitors to explore the world of Pandora. The Pandora section of the theme park also includes an attraction that takes guests on a 3D flight over Pandora while riding on a winged “banshee” creature as seen in the first film.