As many people are keen to point out, it’s been 13 years since James Cameron launched Avatar on an unsuspecting public, delivering the biggest film of all time out of seemingly nowhere. It’s a significant amount of time that’s passed in our world – and that’s reflected in the upcoming sequels too. In Avatar: The Way Of Water, Jake and Neytiri now have a whole new brood of Na’vi kids, biological and otherwise, upping the stakes as the world of Pandora faces a whole new war. You can get acquainted with the new generation in the above exclusive image, as seen in our upcoming issue; as well as Neytiri (second from the left) and Jake (far right), you’ll see, from left to right, Sigourney Weaver’s adopted youngster Kiri, as well as the three biological Sully kids – Neteyam (Jamie Flatters), Lo’ak (Britain Dalton) and Tuktirey (Trinity Bliss).
For Cameron, giving the Sullys a whole load of kids was all about upping the personal and emotional stakes for his four-film sequel saga. “I’m a father of five,” the director tells Empire. “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.” And it’s not just Neteyam, Lo’ak, Tuk and Kiri in the mix – there’s also Spider, played by Jack Champion, a human orphan stranded on Pandora who is taken in as part of the Sully crew.
For returning star Sam Worthington, exploring ideas around fatherhood offered a chance to dig into a whole new side of Jake. “It’s about what you are teaching your children as they develop, and grow,” he says. “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.” It all sets the stage for an epic set of mega-blockbuster sequels – though, if all else fails, there’s a Na’vi sitcom set-up somewhere in there too. ‘My Wife And Blue Kids’, anyone?
Empire’s Avatar: The Way Of Water issue hits newsstands on Thursday 7 July, with unparalleled access to the film and its cast and crew – heading to Cameron’s Lightstorm HQ and talking to the director himself, as well as producer Jon Landau, stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver, Kate Winslet, Cliff Curtis, and plenty more. Plus, it’s stacked with never-before-seen images, opening up the world of Pandora like never before. Pre-order a copy online here. Avatar: The Way Of Water comes to UK cinemas from 16 December.