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Avatar: The Way Of Water Fans Demand Justice For Norm In The Franchise's Future

Warning: Spoilers for "Avatar: The Way of Water."

"Avatar: The Way of Water" is finally here, continuing James Cameron's legendary epic about the Na'vi and the world of Pandora. Picking up over a decade after the first movie, the sequel shows that Jake (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) live happy lives as leaders of the Omaticaya tribe with their large family of biological and adoptive children. However, the return of the humans forces them back into war.

The three-hour runtime in "The Way of Water" dutifully introduces a long list of new characters, but fans also see some return from the previous film. While Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang) returns as the villain, other characters make nearly-missable appearances. Mo'at (CCH Pounder), Neytiri's mother, shows up briefly, and Parker Selfridge (Giovani Ribisi) quickly appears in a video Quaritch recorded. However, one of the most disappointing returns "Avatar" fans got was Norm (Joel David Moore).

Dr. Norm Spellman played a fairly substantial role in the first "Avatar" movie, connecting Jake with the alien world of Pandora. Unfortunately, Cameron pushed his character to the side in the sequel. Spellman appears in a few early scenes but as a background character. Norm comes to Kiri's rescue after she suffers an underwater seizure, but Neytiri quickly forces him out in favor of Ronal's (Kate Winslet) natural remedies. He then seemingly returns to the forest, not to be seen again.

Avatar fans want more Norm

It didn't take long for fans to recognize the lack of Norm in "Avatar: The Way of Water," with many making their way over to Reddit to discuss the decision to put the returning character in the backseat. ArcaneSketches put things into perspective, saying, "RIP Norm. [He] got his entire storyline cut from the original movie and came back for five minutes." Many other users agreed that there wasn't enough Norm in the movie, but MarvelSonicFan04 took the time to look at what James Cameron could have done with the character, suggesting he would fit perfectly as the Sully children's cool uncle.

Holiday_Parsnip_9841 revealed that this wasn't the first time Cameron cut down on Norm's screen time. "Avatar" originally had a plotline giving Norm a romantic relationship with Trudy (Michelle Rodriguez), but it didn't make the film's final cut. Other users noticed that Norm's low screen time was part of a trend in "The Way of Water," realizing that many characters played smaller roles than expected. Significant-Town-817 stated that Norm, Ronal, and Tonowari's roles were all barely in the movie, while MyAimSucc threw in that the sequel reduced Dr. Max Patel's one line of dialogue (Dileep Rao) to the butt of a joke. 

Mr_MazeCandy looked hopefully into Norm's future in the franchise, saying, "To be honest, I never thought he would have a big role anyway. He might play a bigger role in the future. We shall see."

Joel David Moore loves everything about The Way of Water

Judging by how Joel David Moore talks about James Cameron and "Avatar: The Way of Water," it's clear that he feels invested. Moore understands the "Avatar" story is evolving, taking the focus off the Avatar Program and placing it on the Sully family. The shift means some characters will inevitably get more screen time while Norm takes the backseat, and that's okay.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter at the movie's premiere, Moore said that the main goal is for the older cast to hand the reins down to the younger stars, and the way Cameron accomplished that resulted in a genuinely emotional film. "This is a moving movie," he said. "The first one was about Pandora. And it was about opening everybody's eyes to the richness of what another world could look like. This one is about the family. It's no longer just about the Avatar Program. It's about the Sully family and the kids that have to get along. There's teen angst in it. I mean, I walked out of this movie, and I was crying. It was a gut-wrencher."

Fans can rest assured that even though Norm didn't get much screen time in "Avatar: The Way of Water," Moore is sticking around for future appearances. Deadline reported in 2017 that the actor had signed on to reprise his role in the upcoming sequels, so there's plenty of room for Norm to get the redemption he deserves.