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First look at James Cameron's new 'Avatar 2' cast angles for a younger audience

From left: Jack Champion, Trinity Bliss, Bailey Bas, Jamie Flatters, Britain Dalton, Filip Geljo and Duane Evans Jr. in Disney World's Pandora. (Sheryl Nields)
From left: Jack Champion, Trinity Bliss, Bailey Bas, Jamie Flatters, Britain Dalton, Filip Geljo and Duane Evans Jr. in Disney World's Pandora. (Sheryl Nields)

It’s been eight years since James Cameron dropped his big, blue blockbuster. And now that the first of four “Avatar” sequels is officially in production, 20th Century Fox is ready to start revealing its new Na’vi cast. Meet the new alien cat clan that will star in Cameron’s long-awaited “Avatar” sequel. 

For those who haven’t communed with the spirit of Eywa, the 2009 film takes place in the future on an alien planet named Pandora. In the film, Earthlings travel a great distance to mine Pandora of the precious metal “unobtanium.”

In order to communicate with the planet’s inhabitants -- the giant feline-looking natives named the Na’vi -- humans would transport their consciousness into “avatars” that mimicked the locals’ bodies, size and abilities.

Inside one of those avatars, human/main character Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) falls in love with the Na’vi Neytiri (Zoe Saldana). Last we saw of Jake, his consciousness was mystically leaving his human form to be transferred into his new Na’vi body forever. True love! 

Clearly things worked out for Jake and Neytiri, because the “Avatar 2” cast reveal is loaded with a new crop of Sully family members.

Plus there’s another clan of new aliens to get excited about. 

Here’s the breakdown of each new Na'vi cast member (which includes name pronunciations and their family relations) from Wednesday's official announcement: 

The Sully family

Jamie Flatters: Neteyam (neh-tay'-ahm). Jake and Neytiri's first-born son.

Britain Dalton: Lo'ak (loh' ahk). Jake and Neytiri's second born.

Trinity Bliss: Tuktirey (took-tee'-ray), goes by "Tuk" (rhymes with "nuke"). The youngest of the Sully family.

The Metkayina clan

Bailey Bass: Tsireya (see-ray'-ah), goes by "Reya." She is a graceful and strong free-diver -- the young Neytiri of the ocean.

Filip Geljo: Aonung (aw-nung'). Young male hunter/free-diver son of the Olo'eyktan of Metkayina Clan.

Duane Evans Jr.: Rotxo (row'-txoh). Young male hunter/free-diver of the Metkayina.

Obviously, you'll have to use your imagination for the eventual character reveal, as the Na'vis are filmed using performance capture. However, there are a few more details we can glean from the press release. 

For example, the importance of including "free-diver" in the character descriptions paired with the previous description of the Metkayina as "reef people" reinforces the long-held belief that much of the new "Avatar" movies will take place underwater.

Plus the age difference between this cast and the 2009 one is staggering. The younger cast seems to be targeting a family-friendly demographic. And with the recent opening of Disney World's Pandora, going after the toy-buying demographic makes sense.

In addition to the new alien brood is one humanoid character, Javier “Spider" Socorro. Played by Jack Champion, this teen was born inside “Hell’s Gate,” the now-defunct military complex that was running the unobtanium operation. Very little is known about Javier other than he “prefers his time in the Pandoran rainforest more than the asphalt of Hell's Gate." But his nickname is "Spider," so we can all assume that he’ll arrive on a motorcycle.

Returning cast includes Worthington, Saldana, Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang. The sequel has a planned premiere date of Dec. 18, 2020.

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