See dazzling world of Avatar come alive again at Disney's D23

Take a trip back to Pandora via props and costumes from James Cameron's 2009 blockbuster film and Disney's Avatar land.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
Expertise Breaking news, entertainment, lifestyle, travel, food, shopping and deals, product reviews, money and finance, video games, pets, history, books, technology history, and generational studies Credentials
  • Co-author of two Gen X pop-culture encyclopedia for Penguin Books. Won "Headline Writer of the Year"​ award for 2017, 2014 and 2013 from the American Copy Editors Society. Won first place in headline writing from the 2013 Society for Features Journalism.
Gael Cooper
Twentieth Century Fox

In 2009, Avatar, director James Cameron's blockbuster hit sci-fi movie, was everywhere. It earned $2.7 billion, topping all movies until the recent Avengers: Endgame finally knocked it off the throne. And Avatar won three Academy Awards for its incredible look, winning Oscars for best art direction, cinematography and visual effects.

As for the plot -- well, some think it hasn't aged as well. CNET editor Mark Serrels calls it "a bizarre, post-colonial Pocahontas," and "a cinematic experience elevated by a heroic commitment to world building and aesthetic, but brought back down to earth with clunky dialogue and a wooden Sam Worthington performance."

That isn't stopping Cameron from making four -- count 'em, four -- sequels, the first of which will hit theaters in 2021. Cameron says those films will follow the family of Jake and Neytiri from the first film.

Watch this: We go inside Pandora, Disney's Avatar-themed land

There's also a themed area called Pandora -- The World of Avatar, which opened in 2017 at Disney's Animal Kingdom theme part at Florida's Walt Disney World. It includes a boat ride, thrill ride, two restaurants, a gift shop, and daily themed entertainment. Models, costumes and props from that themed land and from the 2009 film were on display at Disney's D23 fan expo in Anaheim, California, over the weekend. Visit that exhibit, ranging from weapons to character busts to costumes, in the gallery below.

Avatar's vivid world comes back to life at D23 ahead of sequels

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Be sure to check out D23 coverage from sister sites GameSpotTV Guide and ComicBook.com.