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How Parenthood Affected Avatar: The Way Of Water's Jake Sully And Neytiri

"Avatar: The Way of Water" swept the box office away when it came out. People turned out in droves to see the sequel to the highest-grossing film of all time. There are many reasons why this sequel remained at the forefront of people's thoughts despite the original coming out 13 years previously. Viewers wanted to check out the groundbreaking visuals that proved director James Cameron put in the work over the past decade. They wanted to return to the splendor that is Pandora, and above all else, they wanted to witness a heartwarming story about the importance of family. 

Pretty much an equal amount of time has passed between the events of "Avatar" and "Avatar 2" as the releases of the films themselves. During that time, Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) got busy and had their own kids. That includes adopting the Na'vi child, Kiri (Sigourney Weaver), who came from Dr. Grace Augustine. 

It's evident from the start Jake and Neytiri would do anything to keep their family safe. In fact, they leave their home to join the Metkayina tribe so that their kids won't be in harm's way from the invading human forces. And both Worthington and Saldana spoke about how the concept of parenthood changed the characters between the two movies. 

Jake and Neytiri go against their instincts for their family

Jake and Neytiri have gone through a lot in the 14 or so years that have passed between "Avatar" and "The Way of Water." They lived in relative peace for a long time until the Sky People returned, threatening their way of life. We see an early thrilling sequence in the sequel where Jake and Neytiri fight against the humans, but when their kids are in danger, they realize they have more to protect than just themselves. 

In an interview with Screen Rant, Sam Worthington describes his character's development, "I think they always are warriors. That's just what they are, be it a Jarhead or be it the daughter of the head of the clan of the Omaticaya. And I think, it's been thrust upon them in some respect to lead the people. But that responsibility gets far outweighed when you have kids, having kids is the biggest responsibility you can have." If the couple never had kids, their attention would likely go toward protecting their people at all costs, continuing to fight the Sky People until they are finally safe. But with kids in the picture, they must go on the defensive. 

Zoe Saldana backs up this point, "And when do you push, and when do you pull? I feel like that kind of relatable struggle of parents and their children, of loving them so much, but sometimes realizing that you've been loving in such a hard way that you're gripping too hard. And you have to let go." Worthington and Saldana are both parents in real life, so no doubt they drew upon real-life experiences to better flesh out their character arcs.