Avatar Stayed Alive Thanks to These Books, Rides, & Comics – Collider

Plenty of video games, comics, and even a theme park attraction have kept ‘Avatar’ enshrined in pop culture.
When the original Avatar comes up in discussion, one common criticism that's often leveled against it is that it hasn't made a footnote in pop culture. But in the thirteen years that have passed since the release of Avatar and its sequel Avatar: The Way of Water, James Cameron's sci-fi epic has given birth to an entire multimedia franchise. Not only have these projects given the world of Pandora more depth, but they've also given Avatar a firm footing in the halls of pop culture. From theme parks to comics, here are all the projects that have been released in between Avatar and Avatar: The Way of Water.
Perhaps the biggest contribution Avatar has brought to the world is the Pandora – The World of Avatar attraction at Disney's Animal Kingdom. Set years after the events of the original Avatar, the park features a storyline where the Na'vi and humanity have formed an alliance to preserve Pandora for future generations to explore. Cameron, alongside co-producer Jon Landau, helped shape most of Pandora – The World of Avatar's story and look. Much like in the film, visitors can see the floating mountains of Pandora and also participate in the 3D simulator "Flight of Passage," where they fly over the skies of Pandora. Ironically, Disney would complete a merger with Avatar's home studio 20th Century Fox, fully pulling the sci-fi franchise under the House of Mouse's umbrella.
If fans of Avatar truly want to immerse themselves in the world of Pandora, they'll need to pick up The Art of Avatar book. The reason: it contains 200 pages' worth of concept art detailing the effort it took to bring Avatar to life. From concept art to fully realized film stills, the care and effort poured into crafting the film is present on every page. And cinephiles will also want to purchase the book for its supplementary material. In addition to Cameron and Landau writing essays, The Art of Avatar also contains a foreword from Peter Jackson. Jackson is no stranger to crafting epic films himself, so it only makes sense that he'd write the foreword for an Avatar book. It's also fitting given that Cameron claims Jackson is the reason he decided to go ahead and craft four Avatar sequels.
As if a whole theme park wasn't enough, Avatar even received a Cirque du Soleil production! Toruk – The First Flight takes place decades before the events of Avatar and focuses on the first ever Toruk Makto, a Na'vi who manages to bond with the dragon-esque leonopteryx. Only five people in Pandora's history, including Avatar protagonist Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) have managed this feat. In addition to the usual gravity-defying feats that accompany a Cirque du Soleil show, Toruk – The First Flight also features life-sized puppets of Pandora's animals. It's the closest Avatar fans will get to actually living in the world of Pandora.
Speaking of living in Pandora, viewers were able to fully immerse themselves in the world of Avatar thanks to Avatar: The Game. Set two years before the events of the original film, the game follows soldier Able Ryder as they carry out a tour of duty on Pandora. Much like the film, players can shift between a human body as well as a Na'vi avatar. And like any good video game, Avatar: The Game is shaped by the player's choices. Do you side with humanity, or with the Na'vi? Avatar's relationship with video games isn't through – Ubisoft is currently developing an open world project called Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora.
RELATED: ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ Looks Like a Video Game, and That's OK
Finally, the saga of Pandora found new life thanks to Dark Horse Comics. Beginning with a one-shot launched during Free Comic Book Day in 2017, the publisher has delivered a number of series that expand upon the first film. The Next Shadow explores Sully's rise to the position of leading the Omaticaya, while Adapt or Die centers on Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver). And the most recent miniseries, The High Ground, takes inspiration from Cameron's original script for Avatar: The Way of Water. Dark Horse has managed to build upon movie franchises such as Alien and Predator with its comics offerings, so it only makes sense that Avatar would fall into the same category.
Avatar: The Way of Water is playing in movie theaters.
Collier is a contributor to Collider. He also writes for /Film and But Why Tho? A Geek Community. In his spare time, he likes to read comics, play card games, and even write his own scripts. He has approximate knowledge of many things, all of them related to various forms of pop culture.


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