What’s Next for ‘Avatar’? Rumored Sequel Titles Might Give It Away

After thirteen dormant years, James Cameron‘s epic story has at long last been continued as Avatar: The Way of Water has finally hit theaters. After releasing as the biggest film of all time in 2009, Avatar looked ripe to become the next major Hollywood franchise. However, to the surprise of nearly everyone, director Cameron famously pumped the brakes on the future of his hot new intellectual property to allow for technology to catch up to his grand plans. He didn’t spend the next decade just twiddling his thumbs, though. On top of eventually making The Way of Water, the iconic creative also filmed a second sequel, and outlined a full-blown saga lasting at least five total movies, with the potential for more should the audience demand be there.

While plot details for the remaining films past The Way of Water are sparse, there may be an unexpected source that teases what Cameron has in store. All the way back in 2018, the BBC reported a list of leaked titles they claimed were for the planned Avatar sequels:

Avatar: The Way of Water

Avatar: The Seed Bearer

Avatar: The Tulkun Rider

Avatar: The Quest for Eywa

At the time, fans took the names with an appropriate grain of salt, but it’s easy to see now why that’s no longer the case. The BBC is now 25% correct, which has caused many people to assume the rest of the Avatar title line-up is going to follow suit. In an effort to maintain mystique, executive producer Jon Landau recently stated he and Cameron had already decided on what the sequels will be called, and that online users shouldn’t go by the previously rumored movie names. It’s very possible that the creatives ultimately decided to change the rest of the titles at some point in the development process, but the specificity of the BBC nailing The Way of Water, a fairly non-generic moniker, and referencing a creature from the sequel, the whale-like Tulkun, so many years before it’s release would suggest the other labels were at least correct at some point.

As such, the names may actually lend themselves well to an attempt at deciphering the events set to take place in the next three Avatar projects. Admittedly, combining the remaining titles with the plotlines established in the first two films still only paints a fairly vague picture, but theorizing is almost always fun and it can’t hurt to try. So, Murphy’s Multiverse is going to throw some thoughts at the wall and hope they stick.

Avatar: The Seed Bearer

Weirdly enough, the direct sequel to The Way of Water may be the most difficult to figure out. Unlike the other titles on this list, The Seed Bearer does not reference any specific concept or idea already set in place by the initial films. Luckily, The Way of Water does lay out a few obvious threads for the next movie to pick up on, so one can assume Cameron expands upon those and goes from there.

The end of the second film features Jack Champion‘s human Na’vi appreciator “Spider” rescuing the villainous Recombinant clone of his father, Stephan Lang‘s Colonel Miles Quaritch, from drowning. Given his twisted nature has yet to falter, and the fact he’s confirmed to return in the next sequel, it’s insanely likely that Col. Quaritch once again plays an antagonistic role in Avatar 3. Cameron revealed in 2017 that Lang would act as the baddie of all five written Avatar movies, so don’t expect him to die off in The Seed Bearer either.

It also stands to reason that the children of Sam Worthington‘s Jake Sully and Zoe Saldana‘s Neytiri will continue to play massive roles in the franchise. Each surviving youth seems to possess some sort of important character trait within the world of Pandora. Britain Dalton‘s strong-willed Lo’ak has a natural ability to understand the downtrodden, and is primed to take a leading role following the tragic death of his older brother, while Sigourney Weaver‘s Kiri has a strong, visceral connection to Eywa and the heart of all living things – something Sully is warned could kill her in the middle of The Way of Water before being all but dropped as plot device in the finale. It seems reasonable to say these characters and their development will be a big focus of The Seed Bearer and everything that comes after it.

As for the title and overall plot, it’s still but a loose guess. The Way of Water saw Jake and Neytiri accept the sea-faring Metkayina as their people and new home, but that doesn’t mean the tree-dwelling Omaticaya are never to appear again. The beginning of Avatar 2 revealed much of the Omaticaya’s homeland was destroyed by the return of humans to Pandora, positioning the once-comfortable Na’vi in a fortified, cavernous mountain home as they stay prepared for assaults by their mortal enemies. When the Sully family departed their tribe, Neytiri was notably against leaving her home behind, and only did so out of concern for the safety of her kids. Perhaps The Seed Bearer has Neytiri growing uncomfortable with the Metkayina and her act of abandonment, eventually convincing her husband to travel back into the forest with a plan to save the Omaticaya, defeat the humans, and regrow the Hometree that fell during the events of the first film.

Col. Quaritch would undoubtedly see this as another opportunity to bring down Jake Sully and claim Pandora for Earth, and it’s plausible he uses his undeniable charm to weasel his way back to the front of Earth’s brutal army. The identity of the titular Seed Bearer is hard to pin down, but it could end up being Kiri, whose connection to Eywa and the Tree of Souls might be the key to restoring Pandora to it’s former glory. Especially if she manages to gain access to her unconscious (or deceased) mother’s scientific knowledge of Pandora’s inner workings.

Avatar: The Tulkun Rider

It’s incredibly easy to figure out who this title is referring to. The Way of Water has a major subplot involving the Tulkun, the aforementioned whale-like creatures who form spirit bonds with the Na’vi of the Omaticaya. Specifically, it tells a riveting tale about Lo’ak and his growth into a young warrior, which occurs by way of his bonding with Pandora’s most feared Tulkun – an outcast called Payakan. Following the third act of the second Avatar entry, Lo’ak all but gains the honorary mantle of “Tulkun Rider”, and with his leading franchise role being taken into consideration, there’s a good chance he’s The Tulkun Rider in question.

Yet, this doesn’t explain why the fourth Avatar might be named after him. Fortunately, a little digging gives further hints. In a 2021 conversation with Denis Villeneuve for Variety, Cameron stated that he was forced to film nearly a third of The Tulkun Rider at the same time as The Way of Water and Avatar 3, because he needed the children to stay the same age until a certain point in the movie. He elaborated at the time:

I had to shoot the kids out. They’re allowed to age six years in the middle of the story on page 25 of movie ‘4.’ So I needed everything before then, and then everything after, we’ll do later.

James Cameron

This means that, partway through The Tulkun Rider, there will be a sizable time-jump of around six years. Lo’ak, already a young man in The Way of Water, will probably be allowed to grow into adulthood and find himself after the timeline skip. With the nature of storytelling in mind, there’s a very solid chance The Tulkun Rider revolves around Lo’ak’s ascent to a leadership position within the Na’vi people, and a succession of his father as their most legendary warrior. Potentially, if the third film does go back to the forests of Pandora, he will also be shown as a great unifying force between all of the Na’vi tribes. How the other characters factor into this concept is too difficult to tell, but a betting man would be smart to theorize Lo’ak as the essential lead of Avatar 4.

Avatar: The Quest for Eywa

Another somewhat difficult title to break down, but not entirely impossible. Based on the first two films, viewers know that “Eywa” – also known as the “Great Mother” – is the lifeforce that binds all of Pandora together. She is essentially the Na’vi’s greatest deity, and the power they hold most sacred. Though, if Eywa is something that exists in every living thing around Pandora, how could there possibly be a search for her? If taken at face value, this title sounds as if Lucasfilm titled the next Star Wars project something along the lines of Star Wars: The Search for The Force. A little goofy. Unless, of course, it isn’t.

As mentioned in the theorized plot for Avatar: The Seed Bearer, Sigourney Weaver‘s Kiri has an unusual connection to Eywa and the planet of Pandora at large. She can communicate and direct both flora and fauna at her will, feels the pulse of Eywa at any given moment, and occasionally experiences intense, seizure-inducing visions when bonded with the ecosystem. Her birth is also a bit of a mystery, having occurred after the death of her genetic mother, from an Avatar body, with no known father or signs of pregnancy beforehand. Almost, one might say, a bit Christ-like. When Weaver‘s previous Avatar character, Dr. Grace Augustine, passed, she was connected to both her Avatar and the Tree of Souls. This is quite the pitch, but maybe, somehow, Eywa used this scenario to produce a child that could act as it’s physical embodiment on Pandora.

In theory, Kiri could actually be Eywa. If this is true, then Avatar: The Quest for Eywa may be about the hunt for a missing Kiri, who has been realized as the true savior of her people and an essential part of Pandora’s future. What remains to be asked is this – if Kiri is gone, where did she go? Allow producer Jon Landau to give further insight:

I wasn’t going to talk about it, but I’ve now subsequently heard that Jim has talked about it a little bit. In [‘Avatar 5’] there is a section of the story where we go to Earth. And we go to it to open people’s eyes, open Neytiri’s eyes, to what exists on Earth. Earth is not just represented by the RDA [the franchise’s evil organization known as the Resources Development Administration]. Just like you’re defined by the choices you make in life, not all humans are bad. Not all Na’vi are good. And that’s the case here on Earth. And we want to expose Neytiri to that.

Jon Landau

This quote, taken from a recent Variety interview, might be hiding a lot more than people think. Jake Sully, or any other Avatar character for that matter, doesn’t seem like the type of person to rationally take his native Na’vi wife to Earth as a way of sending a message. It seems as though Neytiri would end up on Earth for a different reason altogether, with Cameron using the experience as a way of progressing her development arc. Neytiri is fierce, and The Way of Water showed she’d do anything to protect her family. Next theory? Avatar: The Quest for Eywa sees Col. Quaritch and the RDA also coming to understand Kiri’s importance, and abducting her to weaken Pandora and advance their studies on Earth. Neytiri, among others, would then go to Earth to retrieve her daughter and restore Eywa to her homeworld.

Along the way, Neytiri gains an appreciation for the common people of Earth, and her attitude toward the next step in Pandora’s relationship with humans begins to differ. This idea is, like the rest of the thoughts laid out here, not set in stone, but it is the best that Murphy’s Multiverse can come up with based on current information. Only an immense amount of time and money will actually pull back the curtain on the puzzle that is Avatar‘s future, and fans of the franchise are sure to be eagerly awaiting when it happens.

Source: BBC, Empire, Variety

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