I'm not sure it was well worth the wait for a behind-the-scenes photo like the one above, but I will admit it's very nice to see an actual image from James Cameron's Avatar that didn't leak online with a ton of "Is it real or is it fake?" baggage towing behind. The LA Times have debuted the first official image from the Titanic director's much-anticipated sci-fi epic, due in theaters on December 18, 2009, and it shows director James Cameron pointing at something while star Sam Worthington (wearing a backpack of some sorts, as well as something on his wrists) looks on. We're not entirely sure what set they're on, but it looks like the inside of a ship.

This digital 3-D flick (which is a mix of CGI and live action shot on special cameras developed by Cameron) tells of a paraplegic ex-marine war veteran (Worthington) who's sent to establish a human settlement on the distant planet of Pandora, but winds up in a battle against the planet's indigenous population, the Na'vi. Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Rodriguez, Zoe Saldana and Giovanni Ribisi also star. No word on when the first trailer will arrive (possibly in front of X-Men Origins: Wolverine or during the Oscars??), but one imagines we'll see more of Avatar within the next couple months.