Why is Na’vi skin blue in ‘Avatar?’

Image via 20th Century Fox

James Cameron’s passion project, Avatar: The Way of Water is finally here. And while it raises questions of its own (like how does the Metkayina Clan know English?), it is also plagued by some mysteries whose answers got lost in the 13-year gap between the two films. One such question is why the Na’vi have blue skin in the Avatar films?

While the new Na’vi clan we meet in the sequel doesn’t have the same skin shade as the group led by Jake Sully, their greenish skin tone also falls in the same blue spectrum. 

The reason behind the peculiar Na’vi skin color

Avatar: The Way of Water
Image via 20th Century Studios

Before we jump to the movie’s logic to answer the query, let’s understand why the color was chosen by Cameron in the first place. 

Back in 2009, the director revealed in a chat with MTV News that when it was decided that the alien population on Pandora would have blue skin, it was to establish that the Na’vi have an “otherness, an alien-ness to them.” He further added that this distinction, which separated Pandora’s almost human-like species from the humans, also allowed him to touch upon the topic of race. 

“[I was thinking], ’What are the differences that we can deal with, without it becoming a barrier?’ Skin color is great, and it’s also great thematically, because skin color is obviously such a big issue on our planet.”

In Avatar land, the blueish skin of the Na’vi clan is attributed to the presence of cyanin pigment in their body. The pigment is actually found in many vegetables, plants, flowers, and even some fruits (on Earth) and is responsible for imparting the not-always-noticeable blue shade they have. 

Avatar: The Way of Water is now in theaters.