Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Sigourney Weaver's Unlikely Role In Avatar: The Way Of Water Explained

On the surface, it may sound like an admittedly strange concept. "Avatar" fans are likely to remember that Sigourney Weaver's character in the groundbreaking 2009 film, Dr. Grace Augustine, died at the end of the movie after being fatally wounded in the finale battle. So when it was announced that the "Aliens" star would be reuniting with James Cameron and company for the sequel shortly after the first film's release (via BBC), it obviously left fans scratching their heads. But as James Cameron has often said, "When you have a science-fiction series, you're never dead" (via Vulture). For those who take this saying literally and think that Weaver is playing the same character she portrayed in the first movie, then you're in for a mighty surprise. 

"Avatar: The Way of Water" not only revisits Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña), but also introduces us to their Na'vi children including Lo'ak (Britain Dalton), Neteyam (Jamie Flatters) and Tuk (Trinity Jo-Li Bliss). Possibly more significant than any of their biological offspring, however, is their adopted Na'vi daughter Kiri, played by Weaver. The biological daughter of Dr. Augustine, Kiri is taken in by Sully and his family and comes along with them as they must leave their forest home and live amongst the Metkayina ocean clan. Kiri is far more than an excuse to bring Weaver back into the franchise, however, as the character's significance to "Way of Water" could very well signify big things to come down the line. 

Minor spoilers for "Avatar: The Way of Water" beyond

Kiri's connection with the environment makes her stand out

Kiri is introduced early on in "Avatar: The Way of Water" as Dr. Grace Augustine's biological daughter — although rather than being born human, she is a full-on Na'vi from the start. As director James Cameron explained to Entertainment Weekly, "It's just that she's born of Grace's avatar. It's a natural birth, but the avatar is brain-dead, but she's not. She's normal." This also plays into Kiri's character, as she longs to connect with her deceased mother while remaining self-conscious about living up to her Na'vi family. 

She has a special connection to the environment around her, which takes on a new life when she and Sully's family are forced out of their home by a vengeful Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang) and make base with the Metkayina people. As Kiri explores the lush oceans and comes face-to-face with the water's colorful inhabitants, she also finds new ways to connect and utilizes her abilities in unique ways. She not only connects with the underwater Tree of Souls and claims to hear the heartbeat of the deity Eywa, but is also able to communicate with the sea creatures, which comes in handy during the film's climax.

Portraying the character was one of Sigourney Weaver's biggest challenges, as the Oscar-nominee explains in an interview with D23. Nevertheless, she took the role with excitement, saying, "I was thrilled that Jim [Cameron] would entrust me with such a character. I felt an immediate connection to her."

Kiri's abilities could hold weight down the line

More substantial spoilers for "Avatar: The Way of Water"

Kiri's abilities make her stand out enough from her motion-captured co-stars, but it is her viewpoint on life that could spell a bigger picture for the upcoming "Avatar" sequels. By the end of "The Way of Water," we know that the war between the Na'vi and humanity is far from over. But just as Colonel Quaritch's son Spider (Jack Champion), who shares a close bond with Kiri, has love for both the human and Na'vi world, Kiri's non-violent ways and connection with the world around her could turn the tide by showcasing a different way around the seemingly never-ending conflict. As the "Avatar" franchise is very much about humanity's exploitation of natural resources, Kiri could be the key to unlocking how to better utilize those elements for good.  

On top of that, we still don't know who Kiri's father is, or even if she has one. We know she has her limits, as is evident when she suffers a seizure while trying to connect to the underwater Tree of Souls, so learning more about her origins might be able to help figure out why. Kiri is one of the many mysteries in "The Way of Water," but she's one that Sigourney Weaver is prepared to explore. As she says with D23, "When Jim Cameron calls you and says, 'I have three more parts of this adventure,' what are you going to say? No? ... So, of course I said, 'Let's go.'"