It’s been 13 years since fans fell in love with Pandora and its inhabitants in Avatar. James Cameron’s long-awaited sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, is now just a week away from releasing in theaters and just as fans have lived a life full of experiences since the first film released, so have the characters they met in the first film. At the heart of the film was a love story between Zoë Saldaña’s Na’vi character, Neytiri, and Sam Worthington’s Jake Sully, a Na’vi-human hybrid.
The new film finds the pair over a decade later and with a family of their own which means much of who they are now was shaped by events that happened off-screen. During the global press event for Avatar: The Way of Water, Worthington talked about stepping back into the role and the lengths that Cameron went to in order to make the transition seem as authentic as possible, which included a fully-realized script for “Avatar 1.5” “[Cameron] gave me a script that was Avatar one point five that you know, unto itself is amazing and detailed and full of what they’ve kind of gone through over that gap,” explained Worthington.
Worthington explained that Cameron seemed to understand that while Avatar: The Way of Water will focus on Sully and Neytiri fighting for their way of life, knowing exactly what their way of life had been for the past 10 years and the dynamic within the family they protect was an essential part of his prep for the role.
And I think it was part of, you know, Jim realized that story was about them being warriors, and taking on the battles of the clans and things like that. But it almost didn’t feel… as you said, you wanted to explore what this family dynamic is, the natural extension of this love story. But it gave us a good jumping-off point to understand how to fill in that gap that’s missing, you know? To be honest, most people would, would’ve stuck on that one, but not this guy. It was pretty amazing, yeah.Sam Worthington
Fans won’t have the added benefit of going through the experiences contained within Avatar 1.5, but from all early accounts of the film, it’s much more emotional which makes it sound like Cameron’s investment in writing it paid off.
Avatar: The Way of Water opens in theaters on December 16th.