Fans collectively hallucinating Dwayne Johnson’s role in ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’

Stephen Lang as Quaritch in Avatar: The Way of Water
Image via 20th Century Studios

Was The Rock in Avatar 2? Despite what IMDB might tell them, many fans of the Black Adam star, as well as many of the millions that have flocked to see the long-awaited sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water are convinced they spotted Dwayne Johnson in the background of the new installment of the sci-fi franchise. Even though they really haven’t.

There are a lot of high-profile stars in the newest Avatar movie. Cameron’s former Titanic star Kate Winslet plays a major role, and The Sopranos Edie Falco plays a supporting role, as does The Rock’s fellow Moana voice actor Jemaine Clement. But Johnson himself did not actually appear anywhere on the computer-generated surface (or even below the sea) of Pandora.

It seems that many are mistaking two other actors in the movie for Johnson. One is New Zealand actor Cliff Curtis, who portrays Tonowari, the chief of the seaside-dwelling Metkayina clan. While Curtis and Johnson both share Polynesian ethnicity — Curtis is of Maori descent, and Johnson has Samoan heritage —neither actor would likely be mistaken as the other in real life. However, the intense CGI necessary to make a human actor look like an alien Na’vi appears to have left some people unable to tell the two apart.

People may also be mistaking the Rock for one of the bad guys in The Way of Water. Of course, the character is still heavily CGI-ed. While some people aren’t seeing it, a smaller segment of “observant” fans seem to have mistaken actor Matt Gerald, who plays Corporal Lyle Wainfleet, a member of Colonel Miles Quaritch’s recombinant strike team in the film. Once again, Gerald isn’t really someone you’d mistake for the almost supernaturally swole Dwayne Johnson but put a lair of CGI on him and then put on a pair of 3D glasses… and he kind of looks like The Rock? A little?

There’s no telling why folks are projecting The Rock onto planet pandora but there’s still plenty of time for James Cameron to make it a reality. There are still two more (at least!) Avatar sequels to go.