James Cameron’s upcoming Avatar 2 packs a stellar array of actors, but bringing Vin Diesel aboard is its most inspired and meta casting decision yet.
The upcoming Avatar sequel’s Vin Diesel casting has created a surprisingly meta link to the Fast & Furious franchise. James Cameron’s long-awaited Avatar 2 finally looks set for a December 16, 2022 release following a long series of delays stretching back to 2013, one year before the first Avatar sequel was originally set to debut in theatres.
However, despite these setbacks, the Avatar 2 sequel finished filming in September 2020, with Cameron and his production team currently remaining very tight-lipped on the sequel’s exact story beats, including the nature of action star Vin Diesel’s as of yet undisclosed role.
However, one thing that is certain is the broad nature of Avatar 2’s narrative, which will continue the story of Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) on the verdant planet of Pandora.
The upcoming Avatar sequel will see Jake, Neytiri, and their new family fighting to stay together amidst an ever-changing and, at times, hostile landscape. However, when an old threat returns to finish what they started, they will be forced to leave home and explore the different regions of their planet in order to combat the RDA forces once again and protect their progeny from harm.
It is highly fitting, then, that a movie such as Avatar 2, with its core theme of family, has added Vin Diesel to its stellar cast. Fast & Furious is arguably Diesel’s biggest recurring role of his career, with his character Dominic Toretto obsessed with protecting his “family” of street racers from harm and the law.
This sets up a hilariously meta link between Fast & Furious and James Cameron’s Avatar franchises, with the pair now intrinsically linked by a shared obsession with the protection of their respective, in-universe families.
Diesel’s Dominic Toretto makes an appearance in all but one Fast & Furious franchise installment to date, ranging from several cameo appearances to being the primary protagonist in the majority of the stories. Across Fast & Furious’ extensive canon, Toretto goes to extraordinary lengths to protect his various motley crews of allies from harm and arrest, with his character acting as the group’s de-facto patriarch preaching respect, morality, and above all, loyalty to family in the film series.
This unrelenting obsession, and at times over-estimation of his family’s significance, has led Diesel’s Toretto to become a highly meme-able character in contemporary culture, with many corners of the internet ridiculing many of his “family” lines from the Fast & Furious movies.
In this way, the irony of casting Vin Diesel in a different franchise again centered on family should not be lost Avatar’s James Cameron. While its exact plot details remain scarce, Avatar 2 is confirmed to focus on the extraordinary lengths Jake and Neytiri will go to to protect their own family from the returning RDA mining company.
Vin Diesel’s casting in Avatar 2, therefore, is a perfect meta wrinkle to the upcoming sequel that will be enjoyed by contemporary audiences returning to the world of Pandora some 13 years after Avatar’s initial theatrical release.