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

A display at Disney's fan expo showed off the blockbuster's costumes, props and 3D effects.

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Gael Fashingbauer Cooper

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Inside the world of Avatar

Inside the World of Avatar, an exhibit at the D23 fan expo in Anaheim, California, displayed models, costumes, props and more from the 2009 film Avatar, as well as from the creation of Pandora -- The World of Avatar, a land at Disney's Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida.

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No kidding

The world of Avatar burst into being with the 2009 movie, but four sequels are coming, beginning in 2021. The original movie was nominated for nine Oscars, and won three -- best art direction, best visual effects, and best cinematography.

This bust of a Na'vi child was one of many used to finalize the design of the characters. The Na'vi are the species that live on Pandora, and stand 10 feet tall, with blue skin.

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The doctor is in

In the film, humans operate "avatars" of themselves to explore the planet of Pandora, whose atmosphere is poisonous to humans. This bust, of the Na'vi avatar of Dr. Norm Spellman (played by Joel David Moore), wasn't created with clay like the other busts in the exhibit. Instead, it was made with 3D model-building computer software, then printed and painted.

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A star is born

Here's the bust for Jake Sully's avatar. Sam Worthington plays Sully, a disabled Marine who becomes part of the Avatar program and grows close to the Na'vi.

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Leader of the pack

This impressive bust is of Akwey, also known as the Horse Clan Leader.

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Pandora patriarch

This bust shows Eytukan, patriarch of the Omaticaya clan on Pandora. His daughter, Neytiri, develops a special relationship with Jake Sully.

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Facing the world

Another look at Eytukan.

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Love on Pandora

Neytiri, played by Zoe Saldana, teaches Jake Sully the ways of her people -- and they fall in love.

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Mother knows best

Mo'at, the mother of Neytiri and Sylwanin, is also the spiritual leader of her clan. She was portrayed by CCH Pounder.

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Proud warrior

Tsu'tey was the finest warrior of the Omaticaya clan.

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Human scale

This bust of Neytiri shows how large she would be relative to humans. She would stand more than 9 feet tall.

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Eye to eye

Another look at the to-scale bust of Neytiri, placed in front of a display of weapons. 

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Traditional weaponry

Bows, arrows and spears played an important role in the Na'vi culture.

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Boot up

A backpack and boots used in Avatar.

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Hell on wheels

Main character Jake Sully suffered a spinal injury while fighting in Venezuela, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. But in avatar form, he didn't need a wheelchair.

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Taking notes

Sigourney Weaver's character, Dr. Grace Augustine, is head of the Avatar program and Jake's mentor. Her notebook is on display. It shows the character's notes on Pandoran flora, and was seen in the film.

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Deep breaths

Because Pandora's air was poisonous to humans, characters wore these breathing masks in the movie. As the plaque notes, actors wore versions without glass faceplates, and those were added digitally.

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Be careful with that

A mock explosive used in the film.

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Weapons of war

One display shows an automatic rifle and machine gun that were used in the film.

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Worlds colliding

James Cameron, the mastermind behind Avatar, once told Entertainment Weekly he took inspiration from "every single science fiction book I read as a kid" to create his fictional world.

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War and peace

Compared with the spears and other weapons of the Na'vi, human instruments of war look much more deadly.

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Time to play

Mobile users will soon be able to play Avatar: Pandora Rising, a game based on Cameron's Avatar world.

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