Chances are if you’ve gone to your local multiplex in the past couple of months, you’ve seen the teaser trailer for the upcoming movie Avatar: The Way of Water. Whether it’s in 2D or the absolutely stunning 3D presentation of the future of James Cameron’s franchise, it’s a pretty mind-blowing experience. In fact, you may have seen it in enough screenings to pick up on an apparent change that’s been made to Avatar 2’s trailer, as it needed a tweak in order to be shown in front of kid-friendly movies like Lightyear.
The Wrap picked up on this alteration to the teaser, which occurs in the shot where Jake’s Na’vi body is riding atop a flying creature rising from the water. In the untouched version, Jake is armed with a gun as he rides into battle. However, in the edited version, that weapon is changed to a spear. Apparently, for the Avatar: The Way of Water trailer to be shown with films rated PG or under, that gun had to go.
Similar to the restrictions on how a trailer for an R-rated movie can’t be shown on any film classified below a PG-13, it sounds like MPAA guidelines may have been the cause of this edit. Though it should also be noted that the source story claims there’s still another gun that may or may not have been removed from the teaser to Avatar: The Way of Water. For reference, here’s what the unedited trailer looks like:
What’s interesting about this is that while we assume Avatar 2 will get a PG-13 rating, there’s no official rating attached yet to James Cameron’s potential blockbuster. This particular variance between trailers might actually be the unofficial confirmation that what seems like a foregone conclusion is indeed reality.
Again, we won’t know until the official rating and descriptors are released for the next Avatar film. Yet seeing as that same source of information cited the PG-13 rated The Batman for “strong” violence, an all-out war on Pandora and its moons could probably fit a similar bill.
Hopes are obviously high for Avatar: The Way of Water to replicate the same record-setting success of the original Avatar. Those sorts of prospects don’t come easy, and bombarding the public with this teaser is an important key to the marketing road ahead. If anything, this should make whatever tie-in toys and merchandise are released for the film more interesting, as one has to wonder what sorts of guidelines those products had to adhere to.
That being said, you may want to check the rating of the next film you’re heading out to see, as you might be able to try and spot this difference yourself. Should you want to engage in this Avatar: The Way of Water-themed game of I, Spy, the PG version of the trailer is attached to not only Lightyear, but also this weekend’s Minions: The Rise of Gru.
As for the continuing adventures of Jake Sully and the Na’vi, that saga will be taking its next step into theaters on December 16th. Disney+ subscribers looking for a refresher on the history of Pandora should head to the streaming device of their choice, as that particular platform is the exclusive home of Avatar.