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James Cameron Owes Us A Giant Tulkun Whale Fight In Avatar 3

Contains spoilers for "Avatar: The Way of Water"

Just as James Cameron's groundbreaking 2009 film "Avatar" brought a wealth of new fantastical characters to the big screen, its sequel, "Avatar: The Way of Water," introduces even more spectacular computer-generated creations to its audience. The ocean-dominated land of Metkayina is full to the brim with a literal sea of eye-popping creatures that are sure to astound audiences, and the film dedicates much of its meaty three-hour runtime to getting to know them. But as beautiful as they all are, probably the most significant to the story are the tulkuns. As described by "Avatar" producer Jon Landau on Empire, "A tulkun is, like, 300 feet long. They are a sentient species and as intelligent in their own way as the Na'vi are in theirs." Landau also said of the tulkuns' creation, "The idea was to create a creature that was on the scale of Pandora."

The whale-like creatures navigate the seas and share a special bond with the Na'vi people of Metkayina, who become distraught when they learn of whalers going after the gentle giants. While their inclusion does make the anti-poaching metaphor as subtle as an actual whale leaping out of the water, they are, nevertheless, a welcome addition to the world, adding to the film's themes of spirituality and our connection with nature. And that's not even to mention their wicked design. It makes it all the more frustrating that we don't get to see the behemoths making waves during the final act, as the film's centerpiece action sequence only uses them in the most minor of ways. 

It only makes sense to have them fighting along the Na'vi

It seemed that "Avatar: The Way of Water" was setting up something grand with the tulkuns. We are first introduced to Payakan, an outcasted tulkun who is shunned from the others for killing in the past. He then befriends Lo'ak (Britain Dalton) after saving his life. The tulkuns live in a pacifist society, and the Metkayina, who see them as siblings, follow suit, with both parties collectively shunning any who have broken that rule, even if the killing was done out of self-defense. Even when the hunters go after the massive animals, they do not fight back. Payakan is the only one who breaks this mold, fighting alongside the Na'vi to take down the hunters and helping save Jake Sully's (Sam Worthington) family by the end.

With their rich society and intelligence, it's compelling to see the creatures have their way of life challenged, but it still could have gone further. Just as the film plays with themes of change in the way that Sully's family and the Metkayina must adapt to their circumstances, it would have made sense to see those themes mirrored with the tulkuns learning from Payakan. By pushing themselves to fully fight alongside the Na'vi, it would show that violence, while it should never be the first resort, is sometimes what it takes to make a stand. Will that nonviolent mindset stick with them for the rest of the film series? 

Why they need to fight in Avatar 3

With the ending of "Avatar: The Way of Water" setting up that Jake Sully and his family will be hanging around the Metkayina for a little while longer and James Cameron confirming that "Avatar 3" is on its way at the very least, its more than likely that we'll be seeing the tulkun return. If this is the case, then it's time to up the ante and have a fight scene with these giants. Whether it's against one another or an outside threat, the potential in seeing these guys in action is endless. As the film's end sees the Na'vi readying themselves for even greater battles to come, it seems like more than an appropriate time for the tulkuns to follow suit and stand alongside their Metkayina brethren to save their homeland. 

On top of that, doing so would bring a sweet resolution to Payakan's arc, which proved to be one of the most endearing elements of "The Way of Water." Having the gentle giant who, as far as we know, is still outcasted from his society by the end of "The Way of Water," receive the love he deserves from his clan and possibly even lead them into battle would make for a fitting and heartfelt conclusion to his story. No matter what way you look at it, if the idea of Na'vi riding on the back of whales into battle doesn't get your blood pumping, we don't know what will.