Sullies Stick Together

After a 13-year wait, the Avatar franchise continues with the release of Avatar: The Way of Water: a kick-off to the next three movies to come.


Abbey Bahan, Chief Editor

STORY Abbey Bahan

ART Abbey Bahan

Avatar: The Way of Water, directed by James Cameron, is longer than a typical movie, standing at three hours and 12 minutes. For some, it might be challenging to sit in a movie theater for over three hours without wandering off, the movie is so action-packed and aesthetically pleasing that it doesn’t feel lengthy or dragged out. After waiting 13 years for a sequel to come out, having plenty of content to enjoy is refreshing.

Almost 13 years after the release of the first Avatar movie, the sequel The Way of Water is brought to the big screen. Avatar had some of the most visually stunning computer-generated imagery of its time and yet, the sequel provides even greater detail on skin texture, facial expressions, and more. Thus, the delivery of the action and emotional roller coasters on the planet Pandora was enhanced.

Lead actress Zoe Saldana has appeared in all three of the top highest-grossing films – Avatar, Avengers: Endgame, and Avatar: The Way of Water – and Australian lead actor Sam Worthington reappears in the sequel. Because the storyline appears to take place roughly 15 years after the first movie, Worthington and Saldana were required to portray off-screen character development, evolving from young newlyweds to parents of four. Their delivery was excellent, but it would have been satisfactory to witness that growth and perseverance through the post-honeymoon stage. Nonetheless, The Way of Water does emphasize the importance of date nights in a marriage.

Worthington expressed in an interview that to perfectly portray the matured characters, Cameron provided the actors with complete scripts of the events that happened between the first and second movies, so it is unfortunate that those will never be produced.

Worthington and Saldana are joined by many new actors in the franchise, including Kate Winslet who starred in Titanic, another movie directed by Cameron. Other younger actors were added to the cast in order to play the Sully and Metkayina children: Jamie Flatters (Neteyam), Britain Dalton (Lo’ak), Trinity Bliss (Tuktirey), Jack Champion (Spider), Bailey Bass (Tsireya), and more. Even though these actors were new to Cameron’s filming techniques, it did not take away from their performances.

That being said, there is unfortunately no sense of time. There is a subtle indication that Avatar takes place in 2154, but what would have helped is one of the deleted scenes that demonstrates the main character Jake Sully’s life on Earth. During the scene, the watcher sees what the creators interpret as a future society, representing advanced technology and an overpopulated city.

However, there is still potential for a further dive into the setting, because Avatar has been announced to be at least a five-movie series. If the five movies are successful, Cameron plans to create a sixth and seventh movie. He has also declared that a possible title for the next movie to come out is Avatar: The Seed Bearer which is to come out on Dec. 20, 2024 – a much quicker turnover than The Way of Water. Following The Seed Bearer, the fourth movie is to be released in 2026, and the fifth in 2028.

The Way of Water left the audience with some questions at the end of the movie, making the audience eager to watch these upcoming movies. In particular, it will be interesting to see how the Sully family will continue to live as Metkayina and how they will continue to endure the “sky people” and Quaritch. Even more mysterious is Kiri’s biological parentage and connection with Eywa.

It can be predicted that as Kiri continues to discover more about her existence, her relationship with her guardians, Sully and Neytiri, will change. It will also be interesting to see the dynamic between Sully and his son, Lo’ak, as he would only refer to his father as “sir” in The Way of Water. After the tragic events that occurred in the sequel, there is hope that the two will become much closer and more loving toward each other.

In the end, Cameron has had some of the most iconic movies of all time such as Titanic, The Terminator, and Aliens. However, The Way of Water has by far been the most well-done project so far. There is no doubt that the approaching movies will continue to touch the hearts of many because “Our hearts beat in the womb of the world.”