‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ Cast Talks Bringing Their Characters to Earth

Kim Taylor-Foster

We revealed earlier this week that James Cameron has plans with Avatar 5 to bring the action to Earth, 200 years in the future. The Avatar: The Way of Water director gave Fandom an exclusive insight into what the future of the franchise holds, telling us that the plan is to juxtapose Pandora’s “verdant, amazing world in its prime with an Earth a couple of hundred years from now that is the result of us if we don’t change?”

Producer Jon Landau expanded on the concept for the film, revealing that Neytiri will be among those heading to Earth as she confronts the individuals of Earth who killed her family and destroyed her home. “And just like we have something to learn from Pandora, Neytiri‘s character has something to learn from the individuals of Earth too,” says Landau. You can check out the story below.

The discussion spun out of a poll posted on the Avatar wiki by community member MrHut, who asked if fans would want to see a war against the nefarious organization, the Resources Development Administration (RDA) intent on plundering Pandora, on Earth.

Avatar: The Way of Water is the second movie in the franchise, coming 13 years after the first landed, making a seismic impact on cinema. Indeed, it sowever sustains the title of the highest-grossing movie ever. The sequel to the groundbreaking visual extravaganza has been years in the making as Cameron has been busy developing technology to realise his vision – and the second instalment is set to create a visual impact as earth-shattering as the first.

On this evidence, and knowing that the third movie has been shot, the fourth is a way down the line on production, and the fifth is scripted, there are high hopes that Avatar 5 makes it to the screen. But how does the cast feel about their characters potentially heading to Earth – and how do they think they would cope?

Neytiri and Jake

Jake (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana).
Jake (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) in Avatar: The Way of Water.

Zoe Saldana, who plays badass Na’vi princess Neytiri, wants to avoid war on Earth at all costs. “War is never a good answer, it’s such a devastating consequence.”

Landau suggests that despite Neytiri’s experience with the humans on her home world, she wouldn’t be looking for payback. Rather, she’d be in search of growth.

“It’s about seeking out and seeing different people,” says Landau. “We have this expression ‘Oel ngati kameie’ — ‘I see you’ — and it’s her possibility to see individuals on earth.”

For Sam Worthington, who plays former paraplegic marine veteran, Jake Sully — now a permanent inhabitant of his Na’vi avatar and mate of Neytiri — the concern is for the air on Earth, and how the Na’vi would survive in the atmosphere.

“Well, the oxygen would be a problem,” he says. “It’s different oxygen, from what I know.” On Pandora, it seems likely that there’s a higher oxygen partial pressure than on Earth, which can be poisonous to humans, and it’s suggested that the atmosphere is high in Carbon Dioxide — also poisonous to humans. How the Na’vi would react to Earth’s atmosphere remains to be seen, but Landau has the answer as to how they’ll breathe.

“Just like we show humans breathing, on Earth — if it’s with masks or breathing devices — we’ve establish a conceit for how that works already when the avatars or the recoms go into the human environment, and they need the masks to breathe air, and then they could breathe air for a sure period of time, and then they need it again, it will be that same type of situation,” says the producer.

Ronal and Earth

Ronal (Kate Winslet) with her mate Tonowari (Cliff Curtis) in Avatar: The Way of Water.
Ronal (Kate Winslet) with her mate Tonowari (Cliff Curtis) and the Metkayina clan in Avatar: The Way of Water.

Kate Winslet plays a new character in the franchise, Ronal, a pregnant Na’vi female from the oceanic Metkayina clan, and joint leader of her individuals alongside her mate, Tonowari (Cliff Curtis). The Metkayina have adapted their physiology and way of life as a result of their proximity to water. Winslet reckons Ronal might struggle on Earth.

“I think she’d probably have a hard time not being immediately on every conceivable piece of available water,” she says. “I think she’d find it very metal.”

That’s probably true – while Winslet didn’t give us a breakdown of the metal composition of Pandora for comparison, around 25% of the Earth’s crust is made up of metals, and the vast majority of its crust is metal too.

“I think she’d find it probably very unclean,” Winslet continues. “She’d certainly have lots of opinions. I’m sure there’d be lots of matters she’d like to change. She’d probably want to educate or re-educate individuals on how to live. She’s a woman who’s rooted in truth and has very firm opinions about how to raise children and family. So, I’m sure she’d probably try and enforce a few of her own rules.”

The Family is Their Fortress

Avatar: The Way of Water
Family is everything in Avatar: The Way of Water.

There’s a theme of family running through Avatar: The Way of Water, and Jake and Neytiri are raising five of them – Neteyam, Lo’ak, and Tuktirey (aka Tuk) as well as Kiri, the Na’vi daughter of Grace (Sigourney Weaver) who was killed in the first film, and Spider, a human child left on Pandora when the humans returned to Earth. Given that they all have a connection to Earth through their parentage, would they want to explore the planet they’ve heard so much about?

Jon Landau thinks so. “Jake’s children have been brought up by parents, one of whom is from Earth, one of whose family was destroyed by the Earth people,” he says. “So they have conflicting points of view on Earth, but I think they have a curiosity about what Earth might be like and what it sustains for them to learn about their past.”

So what do the actors think?

Trinity Bliss, who plays Jake and Neytiri’s youngest daughter, Tuk, thinks maybe.

“I think she’s very happy on Pandora, on her home [world], with her family,” she says. “Maybe if her whole family was going there it would be a fun vacation for her. But, I mean, part of the reason the humans are coming to Pandora is that Earth is dying. And Earth is a mess right now because of climate change and everything and so Earth would probably not be the best place to visit at the moment.”

Ultimately, though Bliss thinks that “if she went there with her family, they could cope. I mean, we see them adapting … Sullys stick together; they find a way. The family is their fortress.”

Spider and Tsireya

Avatar: The Way of Water
Spider (Jack Champion) has grown up on Pandora.

Jack Champion who plays Spider thinks there would be a bigger impetus for his character, a human, to want to visit Earth.

“I think he’s curious,” says Champion. “But he’s kind of revolted by humanity. Because, you know, they’re trying to destroy what he considers home. But obviously, he’s sowever an alien to his own home. So I think he feels really conflicted.”

Bailey Bass, who plays Ronal’s daughter Tsireya in the film, doesn’t think it’s right for her character to go to Earth.

“Tsireya goes through enough in this film. I don’t know, not for Tsireya. I’d love to see that happen [going to Earth]. But not for her.”

Avatar: The Way of Water
Tsireya (Bailey Bass) might not fare well on Earth.

Jamie Flatters, meantime – Netayam, the eldest son of Jake and Neytiri – thinks that humans would try to kill them out of veneration of an alien invasion.

But, says Bass, “I don’t think it would happen. Because … they’re not gonna, they can’t kill us. They can try. But I think we’re smarter. We’re bigger.”

“Not to obtain into it too much,” says Flatters, “but how Pandora works, it’s like a oneness and everyone supporting that oneness. If only one Na’vi on Earth is battling against all these other arguably egocentric people, then it’s not really going to change much.”

He adds, however, that he doesn’t believe his character is especially curious about Earth.

“I think given what they know about Earth and what they’ve been told, Pandora is the better place. Pandora almost acts as the heaven away from the complete demonic destruction that [is Earth].”

Does Quaritch Have the Itch to Return?

Avatar: The Way of Water
Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang) has some matters to work through before returning to Earth.

Stephen Lang’s Miles Quaritch is an interesting character to think about in terms of returning to Earth. The leading antagonist of the first movie as head of the RDA’s security detail, Quaritch finds his memories transferred to a recombinant, or recom, in The Way of Water – a specialised avatar embedded with the memories of a human ‘driver’.

“I don’t want any wars on Earth at all,” says Quaritch, referencing the Fandom poll. “At this time, I really want to limit our warfare to Pandora if possible. I think RDA has done enough damage on Earth.”

Lang says that Quaritch has had opportunities to return to Earth but has opted to stay on Pandora.

“I would think that when he feels the mission has been accomplished here, he’s open to the possibility of heading back, and kind of sitting on a porch somewhere and having a cigar and a brandy or something like that,” he says. “But I don’t think it’s in the imminent future for him at all.”

Lang continues, “I don’t think he’d cope very well at all [back on Earth right now]. I think that his future lies in on Pandora and coming to some form of detente between him and the moon itself, and the surrounding itself.”

A hint at some kind of redemption for Quaritch, perhaps? We’ll just have to wait and see.

Avatar: The Way of Water hits screens on December 16, 2022.

Watch more from our interviews with James Cameron, Jon Landau, and the cast of Avatar: The Way of Water in the video at the top of the page.

Check out our interviews with the cast and showrunner of The Witcher: Blood Origin below.

Kim Taylor-Foster
Kim Taylor-Foster is Entertainment Editor for Fandom in the UK. She was raised on an unsteady diet of video nasties and violent action flicks.