Editors Note: This article contains spoilers for Avatar: The Way of Water.
Two of the biggest surprises that we got cast-wise when Avatar: The Way of Water was announced, was that both Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang would be back in the franchise – and not only that, they were credited in future installments. While it was a little easier to accept Weaver’s return due to the fact that she’d be playing a different character, Lang’s general Miles Quaritch would be back as himself, although in a different form.
Throughout the sequel, Quaritch (whose retrieved memory is implanted in an Avatar) forms both a bond and a rivalry with his son Spider (Jack Champion) while hunting Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), which ultimately leads the kid who’s been brought up among the Na’vi to save his biological father – or his father’s memory at the very least – from drowning. Of course, his survival means there will be a lot more father-son drama to be unpacked in Avatar 3, but in an interview with Variety, co-screenwriter Amanda Silver explained that it’s ok if people felt angry that Spider decided to have second thoughts:
“The movie allows Spider to explore these ambivalent feelings he’s having, and, I mean, I think it’s fine that the audience is like, ‘Don’t rescue him!’ But the idea that Spider is compelled to rescue Quaritch is interesting from a character point of view.”
Dying Is Easy, Surviving Means Drama
True enough, Quaritch’s survival puts him in debt with his own son, which for a villain that never lets go of his pride is practically equivalent to humiliation. At the same time, Spider might be the character that forces Quaritch to reconsider why the heck a human would stand against their own species to protect the blue Na’vi. In the same interview, co-screenwriter Rick Jaffa revealed that, while they were writing the script with director James Cameron, no decision was taken lightly:
“Almost every idea that came up in the room was vetted and thought about and talked about and worked on and reworked on and thrown out and brought back. When we were working in the room, Jim set the tone: There was a kind of tirelessness and fearlessness to just keep going. If someone has an idea, we would go down that road, sometimes for two or three days — just exploring one idea. By the time it gets through that kind of vetting system, then you’re totally locked in. I think that translates.”
Avatar: The Way of Water takes place 14 years after the events of the first movie. Now, Jake Sully and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) have several kids and they have to fight once again to protect Pandora from an alien threat. The cast also features Kate Winslet, Giovanni Ribisi, Jemaine Clement, CCH Pounder, Bailey Bass, Cliff Curtis, and many others.
Avatar: The Way of Water is playing now in theaters. You can watch our interview with James Cameron below: