What do you need to know before watching Avatar 2? After more than a decade, James Cameron’s finally taking us back to Pandora. Yes, the long-gestating follow-up to Avatar, the highest-grossing movie of all time, is finally about to hit theatres.
Of course, it’s been 13 years since we last saw Jake and Neytiri, and you may have forgotten what happened during the first science-fiction movie. So ahead of you seeing Avatar 2, we thought we’d do you a favour and save you the two hours and forty minutes it would take to rewatch the original action movie by breaking down everything you need to know before seeing Avatar 2.
Warning there will be spoilers ahead for the first Avatar, and if you’ve never seen Cameron’s alien movie because the memes have put you off, then ignore them. The original deserves to be seen.
In 2154, humanity, via the Resources Development Administration (RDA), established a mining colony on the alien world Pandora as they hunt the rare and valuable mineral unobtanium. Unfortunately, this brings humanity into conflict with the native people, the Na’vi, a race of ten-foot-tall blue cat-like people.
To resolve things peacefully, humans developed the Avatar Programme, which builds clone Na’vi-human hybrid bodies that can be piloted remotely via neural link. Jake Sully, a paraplegic soldier, is recruited for the programme after the death of his twin brother as he shares a genetic profile and is compatible with his Avatar.
Jake’s initially sceptical about the scientists researching the Na’vi and is taken under the wing of the aggressive Colonel Quaritch, who believes the only way to get the unobtanium is to force the Na’vi away. Quaritch promises Jake he’ll pay to fix his legs if he acts as a spy for the RDA.
Jake becomes a member of the Omaticaya
On his first mission, Jake’s Avatar gets cut off from the scientists he was escorting and ends up lost in the jungle. Stumbling in the dark, he’s discovered by Neytiri, a member of the Omaticaya clan, who attempts to kill Jake, recognising him as a “sky person”, the Na’vi’s term for humanity.
Jakes is only saved from death by the seeds of the Hometree, which recognise him as being pure of heart. Neytiri then takes Jake to the Omaticaya’s village, where it’s decided he will be taught the ways of the Omaticaya.
Over the course of a few months, Jake slowly comes to appreciate the Na’vi and their culture, learning how to ride an Ikran, a sort of small dragon. He also grows close to the scientists – most notably Doctor Grace Augustine, who has her own Avatar – and falls in love with Neytiri.
Despite his fondness for the Na’vi, Jake has continued to supply RDA with information on the Na’vi, and the humans discover a huge deposit of unobtanium beneath the Hometree.
The RDA and Quaritch then attack, wiping out the Omaticayan village, killing Neytiri’s father in the process, and exposing Jake as a spy. Betrayed, Neytiri banishes Jake from the clan, and the Omaticaya retreat to the Tree of Souls, their most sacred place, which contains the memories of the Na’vi ancestors. Jake and the Avatar scientists are then arrested by Quaritch and locked up for betraying their own people by trying to help the Na’vi.
Jake betrays humanity
Quaritch’s brutality, however, disgusted a small group of RDA members, and they helped Jake and his team escape. Unfortunately, Grace is mortally wounded as she escapes, and an attempt to permanently transfer her body to her Avatar fails, although her consciousness is absorbed into the Tree of Souls.
Retreating to a remote lab with an Avatar neural link, the group helps Jake take control of his Avatar and he decides to prove his worth to Neytiri and the Omaticaya. Climbing to the highest mountains, he bonds with a Toruk, a legendary and widely-feared animal, making him the Toruk Makto.
As Toruk Makto, Jake becomes an honoured figure among the Omaticaya, he’s accepted back into the clan. With the help of Neytiri and the human scientists, Jake begins to plan a counter-assault on the humans who are preparing for an assault on the Tree of Souls. The night before the Na’vi are set to make their move, Jake connects with the Tree of Souls and begs Eywa, the Na’vi’s god, for help.
The Na’vi attack
On the day the humans approach the Tree of Souls, they find themselves attacked by a vast army of Na’vi from across all the clans. While the initial assault goes well, the tide turns thanks to the human’s superior technology. Just when all seems lost, Eywa answers Jake’s prayer and all the animals of Pandora rise up against the human army.
As the human soldiers endure massive losses, Quaritch takes to the battlefield in a suit of powered armour and stumbles across Jake’s remote neural link. The furious colonel begins to attack Jake’s unprotected body, but he’s interrupted by Jake’s Avatar, and the two fight. Quaritch gets the upper hand, but Neytiri peppers him with arrows killing the colonel.
With the RDA defeated, the humans are forced to leave Pandora, and in the end, Jake is permanently transferred to his Avatar body by the Soul Tree.
Avatar glossary and helpful terms:
- Avatar: Human/Navi clone bodies controlled by a neural link. Avatar is not a synonym for Na’vi.
- Na’vi: The indigenous people of Pandora.
- Unobtanium: A silvery grey mineral found only on Pandora, used by humans to generate power.
- Pandora: The fifth moon of the gas giant Polyphemus in the Alpha Centauri System. The Na’vi call it Eywa’eveng (Eywa’s Child).
- Eywa: Known as the All-Mother or Great Mother, Eywa is essentially the Na’vi’s god who they believe keeps the ecosystem in balance.
- Worldtree: Titanic trees that rise high above the jungle canopy. The Na’vi uses them as villages, although the RDA destroyed the Omaticaya’s tree.
- Tree of Souls: A large tree in the Hallelujah Mountains that the Na’vi use to connect to Eywa and the souls of their ancestors. The tree is one of the most sacred locations on the whole of Pandora.
Omaticaya: The tribe to which Neytiri belongs and the group who live in the Hometree.
- Olo’eyktan: Clan leader of the Na’vi.
- Pa’li: Known to humans as Direhorses, these are horse-like creatures who make their home in the plains and forests of Pandora.
- Kenten: Strange fan-like lizards seen on Pandora.
- Angtsìk: A huge elephant-sized creature that looks like a combination of a rhino and a hammerhead shark.
- Palulukan: A panther-like predator that hunts Jake early in the film and later helps Neytiri battle Quaritch.
- Nantang: A small wolf-like creature that attacks JAke while he’s lost in the jungle.
- Ikran: A large flying wyvern ridden by Na’vi warriors.
- Toruk: An even larger flying predator that even the Na’vi fear. In NA’vi culture, bonding with one of these creatures is seen as a legendary feat.
- Toruk Makto: A Na’vi who’s managed to bond with a Toruk. Only six Na’vi in history have ever accomplished this feat.
Avatar 2 The Way of Water arrives in cinemas on December 16, 2022. If you want to know more about the film we have guides on how long Avatar 2 is, how much Avatar 2 cost to make, how many Avatar sequels they’ll be, and the Avatar 2 cast. We also have a guide to the Avatar 3 release date and have taken a looking into the Avatar 3 title rumours.