Deep blue: a guide to all the major characters in Avatar: The Way Of Water

Deep blue: a guide to all the major characters in Avatar: The Way Of Water

Yes, Jake and Neytiri are back, but who are all the new Na'vi on Pandora?

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(From left): Tsireya (Bailey Bass), Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña), Neteyam (Jamie Flatters), Lo'ak (Britain Dalton), and Jake Sully (Sam Worthington)
From left: Tsireya (Bailey Bass), Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña), Neteyam (Jamie Flatters), Lo’ak (Britain Dalton), and Jake Sully (Sam Worthington)
Photo: Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

Because it’s been 13 years since James Cameron took movie-goers on their initial journey to Pandora, it’s likely that many of Avatar’s key characters have faded from memory for a lot of viewers. With Avatar: The Way of Water blending multiple returning characters and new faces in the sequel, it seems like a cheat sheet is in order.

To be clear, there are a LOT of new characters. So to help prepare you for the next edition of Cameron’s fantastical franchise, we’ve pulled together a look at the major characters—new and returning—you need to know before settling in for three-plus hours at the cineplex. Don’t worry, there are minimal plot spoilers, especially if you’ve already seen the trailers or read the reviews. So dive in, and prepare to get acquainted, or reacquainted, with some new and old faces.

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Jake Sully and Neytiri

Jake Sully and Neytiri

Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) and Jake Sully (Sam Worthington)
Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) and Jake Sully (Sam Worthington)
Photo: Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

Obviously, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) are still here. They’ve been busy, and they’ve been getting busy, to the point that they’ve had three kids together and adopted a fourth. This fundamentally changes their natures, as does the fact that Jake’s avatar body is now permanently his only one. Where he could afford to be reckless as a remote pilot of it, he’s now bodily vulnerable. And with the safety of his kids more important than his own, he has to think twice about every action reflecting back on them. Neytiri, who was always more emotionally open, screams and cries a lot more as a mom, because kids make you do that.

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Neteyam

Neteyam

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neteyam (Jamie Flatters)
Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neteyam (Jamie Flatters)
Photo: Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

Neteyam (Jamie Flatters) is their oldest son, obviously named after his mother. Old enough to fight, he’s in the unenviable position of having his father also be his military leader, given the Omaticaya tribal structure. As a dad, Jake can be proud, but as a commanding officer, he always expects more and barks orders, which puts a strain on their relationship.

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Lo’ak

Lo’ak

Lo'ak (Britain Dalton)
Lo’ak (Britain Dalton)
Photo: Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

Neteyam also has his hands full with younger brother Lo’ak (Britain Dalton), who’s old enough to want to be a warrior, but reckless and temperamental enough to get into trouble for it. While easily provoked, Lo’ak also takes risks that sometimes pay off, and his interactions with a whale-like Tulkun, resulting from some hot-headed choices, will prove important to the story.

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Tuk

Tuk

Tuk (Trinity Bliss)
Tuk (Trinity Bliss)
Photo: Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

Tuk (Trinity Jo-Li Bliss), short for Tuktirey, is the quintessential little sister, always insisting on being brought along when her brothers break the rules, or, of course, she’ll be telling on them. As irritating and child-endangering as her stubbornness is, it just might come in handy someday.

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Kiri

Kiri

Kiri (Sigourney Weaver)
Kiri (Sigourney Weaver)
Photo: Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

The final member of the family is Kiri (Sigourney Weaver), an adopted child who looks a whole lot like the avatar of the late Dr. Grace Augustine. The movie explains some of that similarity upfront, which we won’t spoil here. But a lot of mystery remains. Weaver’s voice is so distinctive that it’s tough to reconcile it with a teenager, but if you can forget where you know it from, she actually does great work as the moody, confused, teenage version of herself.

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Spider

Spider

Spider (Jack Champion)
Spider (Jack Champion)
Photo: Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

Then there’s “Spider” Socorro (Jack Champion), a human child born on Pandora who has effectively gone native because the Na’vi have the only other kids around for him to interact with. Jake essentially accepts him as part of their extended family; Neytiri not so much.

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Parker Selfridge, Norm Spellman, and other returning characters


Parker Selfridge, Norm Spellman, and other returning characters

Quaritch (Stephen Lang)
Quaritch (Stephen Lang)
Photo: Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

Many returning actors do so for such little screen time that we might assume they’ll have bigger roles in future sequels. Giovanni Ribisi’s clueless, mean boss Parker Selfridge shows up on a video, while Joel David Moore’s Norm Spellman and Dileep Rao’s Max Patel get one major scene and a few establishing shots. There’s little indication their characters have changed greatly, though the Na’vi kids come up with an interesting “fan theory” about Norm.

Also returning, sort of, is Col. Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang), though aside from an archival video, he’s not the same Quaritch. The previous Quaritch’s memories were apparently backed up on hard drive somewhere, and downloaded into a new avatar body. Because the memories inherently only go up to the moment Quaritch originally downloaded them, they don’t include his death. But the question to be asked is how much humans are the sum of their memories. Is he an exact copy, albeit of an earlier Quaritch? Or might he be inherently changed because we are more than what we remember?

Returning in a similar fashion is Quaritch’s second in command, Corporal Lyle Wainfleet (Matt Gerald), whom you may remember as the bald, tattooed former Marine from the first film. In an apparent attempt to acclimate these “Recoms” to their new bodies, they come pre-tattooed to better resemble their human forms. And this time, rather than being bossed around by a tie-wearing weenie like Parker, they answer to a legit general: Frances Ardmore, whom you know is no-nonsense because she’s played by Edie Falco.

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Tonowari, Ronal, and Reya

Tonowari, Ronal, and Reya

Ronal (Kate Winslet) and Tonowari (Cliff Curtis)
Ronal (Kate Winslet) and Tonowari (Cliff Curtis)
Photo: Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

But wait! There’s more! Once the action moves to the Metkayina reef, there’s a whole new tribe to meet, led by the aforementioned, merchandised Tonowari. His wife, the tsa’hik in Na’vi speak, is Ronal, played by Kate Winslet, who can be summed up in three words: pregnant and angry. Their daughter Reya (Bailey Bass), short for Tsireya, becomes Lo’ak’s first crush as she teaches him to free dive and use sign language underwater.

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Aonung and Roxto

Aonung and Roxto

The Metkayina clan
The Metkayina clan
Photo: Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

Aonung (Filip Geljo) and Roxto (Duane Evans Jr.) are like the Bulk and Skull (for non-’90s kids, that’s a Mighty Morphin Power Rangers reference) of the Metkayina clan. Yes, they will bully and haze any newcomers who seem ripe for preying, but eventually, they’ll come around. It takes a lot to earn their respect, though.

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Mick Scoresby and Ian Garvin

Mick Scoresby and Ian Garvin

A Tulkun in Avatar: The Way Of Water
A Tulkun in Avatar: The Way Of Water
Photo: Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

The Metkayina live in an uneasy truce with Captain Mick Scoresby (Brendan Cowell), a human who hunts the Tulkuns for profit, but generally makes sure not to touch the ones that are under the auspices of the clan. Scoresby’s team includes marine biologist Ian Garvin (Jemaine Clement), who’s not a fan of the killing but deals with it in order to expand his research.

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Payakan

Payakan

Lo’ak (Britain Dalton) and a Tulkun
Lo’ak (Britain Dalton) and a Tulkun
Image: Courtesy of 20th Century Studios

And then there’s Payakan. He’s a Tulkun. The less said about him at this point, the better.

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