With the official trailer for Avatar: The Way of Water finally here, fans have gotten a chance to get a closer look at what has changed in the world of Pandora, and what has stayed exactly the same.
Beyond the introduction of the Metkayina, an aquatic Na’vi clan who live in Pandora’s reefs, the biggest change to Jake Sully and Neytiri’s lives, since we last saw them happily mated for life at the end of Avatar, is that they now have a few mini-mes running around with them.
In the years between the 2009 movie and its 2022 sequel, Jake and Neytiri added five members to their family, some are biological children, and some they adopted. Speaking to Empire, director James Cameron explained why it was important to give his protagonists a family in this second installment.
“I look around – I don’t want to specifically say the Marvel Universe, or the DC Universe – at current fantasy and science-fiction and all these heroes seem unbound in the mire of relationships, the stuff that pulls you down and clips your wings, that stops you running around and risking your life. I thought, ‘What if I take these incredible characters of Jake and Neytiri and give them a family?’ That gives them feet of clay right there.”
Miles “Spider” Socorro
Spider is Jake and Neytiri’s adopted human son. He was born in Hell’s Gate, the base for all human colonial operations, and should be around 16 at the start of The Way of Water. Spider’s mom, Paz Socorro, was killed in the final battle where the Na’vi finally stopped the Resources Development Administration. Orphaned, and too small to be sent back to Earth, Spider was adopted by Jake and raised by him and Neytiri by his siblings’ side.
The Way of Water producer Jon Landau has revealed that Spider will be an important character in the sequel, mainly because Neytiri will be seen struggling to accept the human child into her Na’vi family due to the trauma from past hostilities between the two species.
Exclusive footage from D23 Expo 2022, where Spider vents about his biological family, saying “Sometimes it’s not great to know who your father is,” has given rise to theories that he might be Colonel Miles Quaritch’s son. Actor Stephen Lang will return for the sequel, this time as an avatar clone of his original character, who will once again be targeting Jake and Neytiri. Another D23 scene reveals that Spider will be kidnapped by Lang’s clone character.
Spider is played by Jack Champion, best known for his role in 2018’s The Night Sitter.
Related: Avatar: The Way of Water Cast on The Escapist
Kiri is Jake and Neytiri’s adopted teenage daughter. She is apparently around 14 years old.
Little is known yet about Kiri and her origins, but there are a few clues that could potentially give us answers. Kiri is played by Avatar returnee Sigourney Weaver. Weaver played human Dr. Grace Augustine, the leader of the Avatar program for the Resources Development Administration who died in the first movie.
In an exclusive first look revealed by Empire, Kiri can be seen watching a recording of Grace at Hell’s Gate. The D23 footage shows an extended look at this scene, where Kiri hugs a glass tank which contains an Avatar body and says “Hi, ma.”
Judging by Kiri’s human-like attributes, like her eyebrows and five fingers (the real Na’vi only have four), it is likely she, just like Jake and Neytiri’s biological children, is also part Avatar.
In the trailer, Kiri tells her adoptive father that she “feels her,” and can “hear her heartbeat.” Although it isn’t clear who it is she is referring to, it’s safe to assume it’s Grace, who died at the Tree of Souls, meeting Eywa, Pandora’s consciousness, in the process. Fans have speculated that Kiri could either be related to Grace, or a reincarnation of Weaver’s character.
Neteyam, Lo’ak, and Tuktirey
Neteyam, Lo’ak, and Tuktirey are Jake and Neytiri’s biological children. Neteyam is their oldest son, Lo’ak is the younger brother, and Tuktirey is the couple’s youngest daughter.
It’s unclear what role Neteyam will play in The Way of Water, but as Jake and Neytiri’s oldest son, he is next in line to lead the Omaticaya. Like Kiri, Neteyam should be around 14 years old in the sequel, seeing as he was born shortly after the events of the first film. He’s played by British actor Jamie Flatters.
Lo’ak, along with Kiri and Spider, has received the most attention in the promotional materials released for the The Way of Water so far. In scenes revealed post-credits during the recent Avatar theater rerelease, Lo’ak is rescued by a tulkun, a sentient whale-like creature from Pandora, named Payakan. The two bond, but, in a second scene, the leader of the Metkayina clan, Tonowari, tells Lo’ak that Payakan has been exiled from his pack for murdering someone, something which is not allowed among its species.
Lo’ak should be about 12 years-old in the film, and he is the only of Jake and Neytiri’s biological children with eyebrows and five fingers, like avatars. He is played by Britain Dalton, best known for playing a young Nathan Drake in the video game Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.
As for Tuktirey, she is around 8 years-old in The Way of Water, and is referred to by her nickname “Tuk”. In a hunting scene seen in the trailer, it could be Tuk that Neytiri is pregnant with. She is played by The Garcias‘ Trinity Bliss.
Judging by the scenes the audience has gotten access to so far, the children seem to be close, as they play and swim together. We know that there will be flashbacks to fill in the gap between the events of the two films, and that, in this sequel, the Sully family, with the exception of Spider, will be taken in by the Metkayina clan, and learn their ways – the way of water.
Sam Worthington, who plays Jake, spoke to Empire about how his character’s military background will clash with Neytiri’s pacifist nature, as they decide how to raise their children.
“Jake comes from the point of view of being a Marine and leans into that way of thinking because that’s what was ingrained in him about surviving. Pacifism and militarism are definitely going to come clashing.”
The addition of Jake and Neytiri’s children into the world of Avatar instantly sprouts a number of exciting possibilities for the future of the franchise, which has been confirmed to have four more films, including The Way of Water.
Avatar: The Way of Water comes out in theaters on Dec. 16.