EXPLAINED: ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ Ending

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Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) and Jake (Sam Worthington) in 'Avatar: The Way of Water' (2022). Credit: Disney

Credit: Disney

The epic story of director James Cameron’s Avatar (2009) continues more than a decade later with Avatar: The Way of Water (2022). The sequel’s epic story of how the Sully clan meet the Metkayina water people and face off against the human resurgence covers a lot of ground, and builds to a conclusion which sets up a path for the three planned sequels still to come. But what exactly does the ending mean? We unpack it…

Lo'ak (Britain Dalton) takes to the water. Credit: Disney
Credit: Disney


The RDA’s relentless pursuit of Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and his family led to a dramatic sea battle between the tulkun hunters, the ressurrected Quaritch (Stephen Lang) and the Na’vi, led by Jake alongside Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña), and Metkayina leaders Ronal (Kate Winslet) and Tonowari (Cliff Curtis).

Tonowari (Cliff Curtis) and Ronal (Kate Winslet). Credit: Disney
Credit: Disney

Also involved in the battle are Jake and Neytiri’s children, Kiri (Sigourney Weaver), Neteyam (Jamie Flatters), Lo’ak (Britain Dalton), Tuk (Trinity Jo-Li Bliss) and human adoptee Spider (Jack Champion). Things are dire for the kids throughout the battle, as they are repeatedly held hostage by Miles Quaritch and his squad and placed in peril amongst the explosions and carnage.

Not all of them make it out alive. Neteyam dies from a bullet wound, sustained while joining his younger, headstrong brother Lo’ak on a mission to rescue Spider from the RDA’s clutches. Neteyam’s death is Jake and Neytiri’s worst nightmare made manifest. Their entire reason for running to the oceans was to keep their family away from the conflict that once ravaged their native jungles. But fate has a way of finding them.

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) in 'Avatar: The Way of Water' (2022). Credit: Disney
Credit: Disney

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After they mourn Neteyam’s death, we see Jake and Neytiri manage to commune with Neteyam once more, through connecting with Eywa, the spiritual deity and planetary nervous system which connects all living life on Pandora. Jake manages to speak to his eldest son again in the context of a moment from his youth.

Seeing how vulnerable they’ve made the Metkayina, and how the humans followed them and brought destruction to the oceans too, Jake and Neytiri approach Tonowari and Ronal to say their goodbyes. They plan to leave them and find sanctuary elsewhere. But the Metkayina leaders dismiss their offer, and instead make their own: the Sullys are part of their clan now, offering them the protection of the seas.

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) in 20th Century Studios' AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. ©2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.
Credit: Disney

Jake takes this in his stride, and with it comes a change in perspective. In the movie’s final moments, Jake declares that they’ll now take their fight back to the humans.

It suggests that if the planned Avatar sequels do happen, we’ll see the Sully clan leading in rallying the Na’vi against the RDA invaders. Neteyam’s death will also have a profound impact on Lo’ak. Throughout the movie, Lo’ak’s worst instincts are tempered by Neteyam’s guidance. Neteyam no longer being there means Lo’ak will have to step up and potentially become the next warrior hero, following in the footsteps of his revered father.

Spider (Jack Champion) in action. Credit: Disney
Credit: Disney

It’s possible that the other children will also be involved. Kiri, the daughter of Dr Grace Augustine, demonstrated a powerful connection to the flora and fauna when connected to Ewya, wielding nature’s might against the invaders. That connection will no doubt continue to develop as the story goes on.

Spider, too, has his complex feelings around his human heritage and his father Quaritch. He saved the enemy’s life at the end of the film, demonstrating he does feel some connection to this man who is identical to his dad. Knowing Quaritch is still alive, he will want revenge against Sully for defeating him and taking his ‘son’.

Jack Champion as Spider in 20th Century Studios' AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios. All Rights Reserved.
Credit: Disney

Spider’s decision will also have an impact on his relationship with Neytiri, who showed willing to sacrifice him during the final confrontation and has previously voiced her distrust of him due to his human heritage.

Let’s hope we get to see the story of the Sully clan continue.

What did you think to the ending of The Way of Water? Tell us in the comments below.

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