Avatar: The Way of Water Heightens Tension by Focusing on Family Dynamics

Even amid its action scenes, the Avatar sequel is about the family drama and their struggles to stay together.

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Image for article titled Avatar: The Way of Water Heightens Tension by Focusing on Family Dynamics
Screenshot: YouTube

In a press conference this week for Avatar: The Way of Water, James Cameron said that after revisiting the first film, he wanted to develop a sequel that would honor Avatar while pushing the universe forward. One way he did that was by taking inspiration from stars Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington. The director and actors are all parents, and “we wanted to get into the family dynamics, and the responsibilities of having kids.”

In Avatar: Way of the Water, “[Cameron] wanted to explore what this family dynamic is, the natural extension of this love story,” Worthington said. Saldana also got very personal when she described her character Neytiri’s journey: “In my personal life, when I became a parent, fear entered my realm. The fear of losing something that you love so much, you know? When I read the second script, that was her, that was Neytiri.”

Cameron was quick to add on, stating that “You can be fearless when you don’t have kids, but you learn fear when you have kids, when you have something greater than yourself that you could lose. And that’s what both of your characters are dealing with... You know, Sam plays a character that would leap off an [Avatar creature] leonopteryx, go flying through the air with no parachute, to land on the biggest, meanest predator on the planet, in order to solve his problem. Would he do that as a father of four? I’m thinking probably not.”


Avatar: The Way of Water opens December 16.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water.