Avatar: The Way of Water and 8 Sequels That Were Worth Waiting For

Andrew Buckle,

How many sequels over the years have had a long sustained period of anticipation prior to release and have created that feeling of jubilation (and relief) when they are finally experienced and live up to the hype?

To celebrate the release of one such film – Avatar: The Way of Water, now available to buy in the Movie Store on Fetch – we’re taking a look at some quality sequels over the years that fans have had to wait an eternity for.

Now, while The Way of Water has been in production for years and years, with director James Cameron continuously teasing new details, some of the other titles on this list have been conceived decades later and long after fans of their classic originals had given up hope of a return to that world.

They could be described as serving as a re-envisioning as much as a sequel – exploring new ideas, introducing new characters and expanding the worlds for a new generation while successfully retaining the tone and feel of the original films.

Check out our thoughts below on some sequels you may have given up waiting for, but should most certainly check out.


Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)

Number of years since Avatar (2009): 13

What is it about?

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) lives with his newfound family formed on the extrasolar moon Pandora. Once a familiar threat returns to finish what was previously started, Jake must work with Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) and the army of the Na’vi race to protect their home.

Why was it worth the wait?

Avatar was a phenomenon – one of the highest grossing films of all time, and a film that attracted audiences back to the cinema for repeat viewings during its unprecedented run. It was the film that changed the perception of what the 3D viewing experience can offer. James Cameron announced that two sequels for Avatar were in the works back in 2010, following the success of his epic sci-fi adventure. The invention of new technology – notably ‘performance capturing’ underwater – was the reason for the period of development. With The Way of Water, Cameron proves he feels right at home crafting the details of this vivid, awe-inspiring and spectacular world, presenting another gorgeous looking film that offers the one-of-a-kind escape reminiscent of the original.

Buy now in the Fetch Movie Store.

Top Gun: Maverick (2022)

Number of years since Top Gun (1986): 36

What is it about?

After thirty years, Maverick (Tom Cruise) is still pushing the envelope as a top naval aviator, but must confront ghosts of his past when he leads TOP GUN’s elite graduates on a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those chosen to fly it.

Why was it worth the wait?

This exhilarating (and unquestionably essential) big screen experience was released last year when many cinema goers were waiting for an event film to lure them back. Were blockbusters dead? Not only does Maverick retain the essence of what made Tony Scott’s film a rousing classic, wearing it’s nostalgia-tugging emotional beats proudly, but it showcases all of the wizardry of modern action filmmaking. At the heart of it all is the ageless action pioneer in Tom Cruise, whose commitment to delivering jaw-dropping cinematic spectacle is unmatched in this day and age.

Buy or rent now in the Fetch Movie Store.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Number of years since Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome (1985): 30

What is it about?

In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, a woman (Charlize Theron) rebels against a tyrannical ruler in search for her homeland with the aid of a group of female prisoners and a drifter named Max (Tom Hardy).

Why was it worth the wait?

Despite the fact that George Miller – the director of the original Mad Max trilogy – was returning to helm the next chapter of Max Rockatansky, the decades of developmental hell and production delays created a lot of skepticism surrounding Fury Road. If Miller’s idea could be distilled down into being a movie that is almost “a continuous chase” then he certainly delivered. What more do you need? Not only did it become a cultural phenomenon – an unheralded adrenalin rush of deranged chaos – it was also critically celebrated and won numerous Academy Awards in the technical departments. Does anyone else frequently just turn on the final act of the film – the rush for the undefended Citadel – and marvel at one of the greatest action sequences ever filmed, or is that just me?

Buy or rent now in the Fetch Movie Store.

Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

Number of years since Blade Runner (1982): 35

What is it about?

Young Blade Runner K’s (Ryan Gosling) discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former Blade Runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), who’s been missing for thirty years.

Why was it worth the wait?

If you come at the best – the best subjectively being Ridley Scott’s 1982 sci-fi masterpiece, Blade Runner – you had better bring your A-game. Director Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Sicario) had already proven to be one of the more visionary filmmakers in the world, adapting a screenplay from Hamptom Francher (co-writer of Blade Runner), and working with the genius DP Roger Deakins, legendary composer Hans Zimmer, Academy Award-nominated editor Joe Walker and a never-more-stoic Ryan Gosling. That’s an A-Team. This is a long and patiently-paced film that raises a lot of thought-provoking questions about a future existence that doesn’t so much feel alien; but inevitable. It is visually jaw-dropping throughout too, one of many features that make it feel like kin to the original, as it creates a satisfying narrative link between the stories of Gosling’s K and Harrison Ford’s Rick Deckard.

Buy or rent now in the Fetch Movie Store.

Toy Story 3 (2010)

Number of years since Toy Story 2 (1999): 11

What is it about?

The toys are mistakenly delivered to a day-care center instead of the attic right before Andy leaves for college, and it’s up to Woody (voiced by Tom Hanks) to convince the other toys that they weren’t abandoned and to return home.

Why was it worth the wait?

That ending, duh? You cried during those final sequences, don’t deny it. When Pixar released Toy Story in 1995 it immediately became one of the most beloved, and technically impressive, animated movies ever created. The subsequent stories, not least the incredible Toy Story 2 (1999), showcased the advancement of the craft of animation while creating impeccably cast, funny, psychologically complex and exciting adventures that can be enjoyed and marvelled again and again. The 11 years that preceded Toy Story 3 is a significant period, but ultimately well worth the time and creative dedication. The dramatically larger budget is on full display in this rare animated film to receive a Best Picture nomination at the Academy Awards.

Buy now in the Fetch Movie Store.

The Godfather Part III (1990)

Number of years since The Godfather: Part II (1974): 16

What is it about?

Follows Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), now in his 60s, as he seeks to free his family from crime and find a suitable successor to his empire.

Why was it worth the wait?

Contrary to the more pronounced opinions The Godfather Part III is a solid movie. This is exemplified even further with the recently-released The Godfather Coda: The Death of Michael Corleone. Does it come close to the quality of the preceding films? Of course not, but appreciators of Francis Ford Coppola’s landmark crime dramas shouldn’t have been so dismissive of this somewhat flawed (sorry Sofia) but nonetheless riveting third and final chapter in the life and legacy of Michael Corleone. Andy Garcia delivers a charismatic performance as Vincent Mancini, who emerges as Michael’s natural successor and his ascension to the head of the family features many standout sequences that cause me no hesitation to recommend a re-watch.

Buy or rent now in the Fetch Movie Store.

Tron: Legacy (2010)

Number of years since Tron (1982): 28

What is it about?

The son of a virtual world designer goes looking for his father and ends up inside the digital world that his father designed. He meets his father’s corrupted creation and a unique ally who was born inside the digital world.

Why was it worth the wait?

Tron was a product of its time, a distinct pioneer in the use of CGI, that was inevitably going to age with the advancement of video game technology. Here we see this idea adapted to reflect more glossy and modern capabilities. Jeff Bridges reprises his role as a now-older Kevin Flynn, the game developer who was transported into a software world, with Garrett Hedlund’s Sam Flynn tasked with tracking down his missing father. Tron: Legacy might have outpaced fans of the original – adults who have likely left video gaming in their past – but it certainly would have appealed to a new generation of gamers and sci-fi fans. Everything about this film, from the streamlined effects to Daft Punk’s electronica score, felt cutting edge at the time. Director Joseph Kosinski would later direct Top Gun: Maverick and the underrated Oblivion.

Buy now in the Fetch Movie Store.

The Colour of Money (1986)

Number of years since The Hustler (1961): 25

What is it about?

Fast Eddie Felson (Paul Newman) teaches a cocky but immensely talented protégé, Vincent Lauria (Tom Cruise), the ropes of pool hustling, which in turn inspires him to make an unlikely comeback.

Why was it worth the wait?

Just as the veteran pool shark Fast Eddie became a mentor for the recklessly confident Vincent, this is a quintessential example of the passing of the cue between an established legend of the acting craft and a hotshot up-and-comer. While Newman’s career was coming to a close (although he still had several outstanding performances in him – see Road to Perdition), Cruise’s was just beginning and one can’t deny that this experience, while working with Martin Scorsese, paved the way for the success he has achieved to this day.

Buy now in the Fetch Movie Store.

What to read next?

  • 5 Actors Not Shy To Do Their Own Stunts

    The last 12 months have been huge for action blockbuster movies. We had new additions to popular franchises – The Equalizer 3, John Wick: Chapter 4 and Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning to name a few. Action movies are only what they are thanks to the dedicated stunt teams that help bring nail-biting scenes together. Let’s take a look at some of the star power who possess just enough of the crazy to not only take on some of these wild manoeuvres, but also convincingly pull them off.

    by Drew Frimston • posted on
  • Watch if You Dare: 5 Smart & Spooky Movie Marketing Moments

    Movie marketers have found unique and creative ways to promote their films over the years, with the Horror genre often leading the way when it comes to creating real-life moments of creepiness and terror that become viral sensations. Here’s 5 examples of smart and spooky guerrilla marketing that took movie promotion to the next level.

    by Adam Fay • posted on
  • From Loveable to Questionable: TV Couples We Are Celebrating This Valentine’s Day

    Love is a funny thing. One minute blissful and perfect, the next messy and complicated. This Valentine’s Day we’d like to celebrate all facets of relationships by taking a look at some TV couples that either swooned or shocked us.

    by Adam Fay • posted on