James Cameron explains the decision to give Jake and Neytiri a family in Avatar: The Way of Water. After many delays, Avatar 2 is finally set to open in theaters on December 16, 2022, just two days shy of the 13-year anniversary of the first Avatar's release back in 2009. The first Avatar held the record for the highest-grossing film of all time both domestic and worldwide for a time.
This past week has seen a number of Avatar news make its way online, just five months out from the film's opening. Stephen Lang's new villain was revealed, as well as the details of his resurrection having to do with RDA implanting his memories into a Na'vi body. Sigourney Weaver, who played Dr. Grace Augustine in the first film is set to return but as new character Kiri, the adoptive teenage daughter of Jake and Neytiri. Kiri is just one of many children that Jake and Neytiri will have in the film, which also includes three more Nai've children and one adopted human son.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
Related: Whoa, Why Is Sigourney Weaver Playing Jake & Neytiri's Kid In Avatar 2?!
In an interview with Empire, via CinemaBlend, Cameron explained why he wanted to give Jake and Neytiri a family. It makes a certain amount of sense with how much time has passed between the two films but it appears one reason was Cameron being a father of five himself and how giving Jake and Neytiri a family raises the stakes for them. He contrasts his characters with the heroes of Marvel and DC, who are often depicited without children or any kind of family connections as an attempt to not tie them down. Read Cameron's full quote below:
"I’m a father of five. 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."
Adding children to a sequel is nothing new for Cameron, as Aliens added the character of Newt and, in a sequel to his own original idea, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, the primary target of the Terminator is now a child version of John Connor. Cameron's point about the superhero genre is interesting as for a while, Ant-Man was the only superhero with a kid, and the MCU has aged up Cassie Lang to set up the Young Avengers. However recent additions to both Marvel and DC have given superheroes kids and families to help raise the emotional stakes.
Expectations for Avatar: The Way of Water are high, and Cameron has been very candid about the film's box office prospects. 20th Century Pictures and Disney are attempting to build the film's buzz by re-releasing the original Avatar in theaters. With it being 13 years since the release of Avatar, there are plenty of kids who were not born when the first film came out and the movie can be a shared experience for families, making Avatar: The Way of Water a much more in demand movies for families during the holiday season.