The rumored “Avatar” sequel titles and Hollywood’s hilarious struggle to name sequels

Image: 20th Century Fox
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BBC News reported on Nov. 1 that, according to documentation it observed, the four planned Avatar sequels may be titled as follows:

  • Avatar: The Way of Water
  • Avatar: The Seed Bearer
  • Avatar: The Tulkun Rider
  • Avatar: The Quest for Eywa

This jibes with reports that the first sequel is being filmed extensively underwater in order to depict the oceans on the fictional moon of Pandora, where James Cameron’s 2009 sci-fi film—the highest-grossing movie of all time unadjusted for inflation—takes place. Cameron and his team reportedly created new technology to allow performance capture scenes underwater, which caused a delay in production.

The main cast of the original film—including Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, and Sigourney Weaver—will return for the sequels. Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet will join them. Little else is known about the subsequent sequels except that, apparently, one of them will come bearing seeds.

We shouldn’t make too much fun of these rumored titles (the internet is having a blast doing that already) since, as far as major Hollywood franchise sequels go, there have been far worse. In fact, “The Tulkun Rider” isn’t so bad—it kind of has a Star Wars ring to it, though we don’t yet know what a “Tulkun” is.

Compared to films like Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood, Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, and the upcoming The Girl in the Spider’s Web: A New Dragon Tattoo Story, these Avatar sequels are relatively tame. (OK, “The Seed Bearer” is amazingly bad.) As certain as Hollywood executives are that they want sequels to popular movies, they are just as uncertain about what to call them.

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The problem mostly began in the 1980s, the decade that birthed the modern Hollywood blockbuster and with them, never-ending film franchises. Notorious examples include Rambo: First Blood Part II (not quite first blood, nor second blood), Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo (one of the all-time greats), and Teen Wolf Too.

The 1990s weren’t much better. The decade brought us such gems as Speed 2: Cruise Control (it took place on a cruise ship), Air Bud: Golden Receiver, and Highlander II: The Quickening.

More recently, we’ve had to deal with sequels called Underworld: Rise of the Lycans and Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.

“The Seed Bearer” doesn’t sound so bad now, does it?

It’s possible that these Avatar titles are just placeholders, while some are speculating they could be titles for accompanying graphic novels—not actual movies. If they are real, though, they may not necessarily stick around. The film franchise quietly got rid of the papyrus font in its logo due to near-universal backlash (including a popular Saturday Night Live skit mocking the use of the stock font), so perhaps it’ll do the same for these wacky titles.