Avatar: The Way of Water director James Cameron reveals a major way that Sigourney Weaver changed her character. Weaver appeared in the original 2009 mega-hit Avatar as Dr. Grace Augustine. While it might seem only natural that she would return to the decade-later sequel, which is hitting theaters on December 16, Dr. Augustine died during the events of the original fun, so this time around Weaver has taken on the surprising mo-cap role of teen Na’vi Kiri.
Recently, THR sat down with Cameron to discuss the impending Avatar: The Way of Water release. During the conversation, while discussing what a perfectionist he is with his work, he shared that “people can still give me s–t.” He shared an example of Weaver making a substantial change to her own character after finding her “too neat and pretty.” The star requested a more awkward and gangly design that better fit the teenager, and got her way.
Although she is a new character, Kiri is going to play a very important role in the overall dynamics of Avatar: The Way of Water. The film will present a brand-new challenge to the inhabitants of Pandora when the humans return, intent on hunting down and exterminating the Na’vi, led by General Frances Ardmore (Edie Falco). The key to surviving this onslaught will be to draw together both as a people (the Na’vi water tribe will be called upon to help out) and as a family (returning characters Jake and Neytiri, played by Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldaña, will rely on the power of their family’s love to triumph).
Kiri is the adoptive daughter of Jake and Neytiri, a teenage Na’vi who has become an essential part of the family. She will form a major part of the film’s overall throughline along with her human brother Spider Socorro (Jack Champion), who was born on the Hell’s Gate base built by the mining company on Pandora and also adopted. So far, most character details for both teens have been kept under wraps ahead of the official release of the film.
However, it has been officially revealed that Kiri is fourteen years old. She is the biological daughter of Grace’s deceased Avatar form, and her connection to her mother means she has forged a stronger bond with Jake than she has with Neytiri, though her teenage sensitivity has necessarily complicated her relationship with both of her parents. During the events of Avatar: The Way of Water, the world of the marine tribe will speak to her, which may lead to even more complications if she decides that she loves it so much that she would rather not return to Jake and Neytiri’s tribe.
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