13 years after James Cameron’s record-breaking movie Avatar first sprung onto the big screen, its sequel is finally upon us.


Titled Avatar: The Way of Water, the sequel reintroduces fans to Jake (Sam Worthington), Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) and the rest of the tribe 15 years after the events of Avatar, as well as introducing fans to a whole new tribe, the water-dwelling Metkayina.

Of course, being the sequel to the highest-grossing film of all time comes with a certain amount of pressure, but early reactions to the new film have largely been very positive, with critics especially impressed by the stunning visuals.

Crucially, The Way of Water is only really the start of Cameron’s plans, with a further sequel currently scheduled for release in December 2024, and plans for another two films to follow in 2026 and 2028 respectively.

So, how does The Way of Water set up the next film? Read on to find out everything you need to now about the ending, in addition to some answers to other key questions about the latest instalment – such as how Sigourney Weaver was able to return despite her character's death in the first film.

More like this

And be warned – there are major spoilers for Avatar: The Way of Water ahead.

Avatar 2 ending explained

The film begins with the news that the sky people, made up of recombinant Quaritch and his army, are back on Pandora with a dual mission. On the one hand, they want to make the moon a new home for humans – what with Earth dying and all – but in order to do so they first need to track down and kill the leader of the Na'vi insurgency, Jake Sully.

During an early battle with the Omatikaya clan – of which Jake is now the leader – Quaritch and his men take the human child Spider (who unbeknownst to him at this stage is actually his own son) captive and begin to destroy large swathes of the forest that they call home.

Realising that he is the target, Jake and Neytiri make the tough decision that it is best for the Sullys to flee their homeland and seek safe haven in the distant atolls of Pandora, and so they travel to the home of Metkayina clan, where they are taken in despite initially being viewed with suspicion.

Here, they are shown "the way of the water", which involves a whole host of customs and traditions, including knowledge of the clan's spiritual relationship with the tulkun, a species of sentient whale-like creatures that can grow to be 300-feet long.

One of Jake and Neytiri's children, Lo'ak, strikes up an especially close bond with a tulkun named Payakan due to their shared status as outcasts, with Payakan being labelled a killer by the Metkayina clan, even though Lo'ak thinks he is simply misunderstood.

Avatar - The Way of Water
Avatar: The Way of Water. 20th Century

While the Sully kids are being shown the way of the water by the Metkayina clan, they are taken to the Spirit Tree, where Kiri is able to have a brief conversation with her mother. However when she asks who her father is something very odd happens, and she seems to have some sort of seizure. Although this is put down to epilepsy by medical experts, it seems to be something a little more significant.

Anyway, Quaritch has been continuing his attempts to hunt down Jake and has teamed up with a captain called Mick Scoresby who is hunting the tulkun so he can extract a very valuable substance that apparently stops humans from ageing. Together they terrorise a nearby island and kill the clan's tulkun in a bid to force Jake to come to the rescue and give away his location.

With Quaritch moving ever closer to Jake's whereabouts, Ronal discovers that her tulkun has been killed – but the Metkayina clan are reluctant to heed the Sullys advice that they should get their own tulkuns as far away as possible in order to save them.

Lo'ak goes to warn Payakan of the impending threat and his siblings follow him, after which they have an argument and end up coming under attack from Quaritch and his men. There follows a big underwater chase during which the kids are captured – and this finally prompts Jake to go after them and confront his enemy, which in turn leads to another big fight.

Amongst all this, Kiri and Tuk - the youngest Sully child - are held captive by Quaritch while the remaining children team up to finally save Spider, although tragically Neteyam dies in the process.

Jake and Spider arrive to retrieve the kidnapped kids on Mick's ship, and another big fight ensues during which Neytiri – spurred on by the anger about losing her son – is in especially merciless form, killing several of Quaritch's men.

As Jake arrives, Quaritch holds a knife to Kiri's throat in an attempt to get him to back down, but in return, Neytiri does the same to Spider – although Quaritch claims not to care as he is "not even the same species" as his son.

However, when Neytiri then cuts Spider in the chest, Quaritch appears to back down and everyone else runs off while Jake and Quaritch finally fight hand to hand. Amongst the ensuing havoc, Tuk is carried away by a current on the now flooding ship, and Neytiri and Kiri pursue her.

By the fight's conclusion, Quaritch appears to be drowning and Jake also finds himself struggling to survive - but both are helped by their respective sons, Spider and Lo'ak, and are eventually each saved.

Meanwhile, it is revealed that Kiri has an incredible ability to channel the spirit of the Pandoran deity Eywa and after connecting to the Spirit Tree she lights up, saving Neytiri and Tuk and allowing them all to swim to the surface, where they are reunited with Jake and Lo'ak. Spider also drags Quaritch to the surface, but although he has saved him he refuses to stick with him and abandons his father in favour of returning to the Sullys.

At the film's conclusion, we see the Sullys and the Metkayina clan hold a ceremony for Neteyam – during which Jake and Neytiri are told: "Your son lies with our ancestors, you are one of us now.”

Jake then announces: “We are sea people now, this is our home.” They pay a visit to the Spirit Tree in order to briefly be reunited with their deceased son.

As for where this leaves us for the next sequel? There is certainly a lot more to explore regarding the mysteries of Kiri, while Quaritch remains at large and seems unlikely to give up on his antagonistic tendencies towards the Na'vi any time soon.

Expect both of these factors to feature prominently in the next film – while it also seems probable that we'll be introduced to yet more locations in Pandora and more Na'vi clans...

How is Sigourney Weaver back in Avatar 2?

Avatar – The Way of Water 2
Avatar: The Way of Water. 20th Century

Avatar fans will remember that Sigourney Weaver's character Dr Grace Augustine met an unfortunate end in the first film when she was shot by Colonel Quaritch's forces during an escape.

Eyebrows were therefore raised when it was revealed she would be returning for the new film, but it was quickly made clear that she would actually be playing a different character, and that Grace would not be coming back from the dead.

Instead, she plays a Na'vi teenager called Kiri – who it is revealed very early on in the film is the biological daughter of Grace's avatar. Her conception – and the identity of her father – is considered a total mystery, especially given that she was born after Grace's death, but she is adopted by Jake and Neytiri and becomes a fully-fledged member of the Sully clan.

Weaver actually does also make a few appearances as Grace in the film – in both a couple of flashback scenes and in one sequence in which Kiri visits a Spirit Tree which allows her to communicate with her ancestors.

How is Stephen Lang back in Avatar 2?

Another character who was very decisively killed off in the first film is villain Colonel Miles Quaritch, played by Stephen Lang – and yet he also returns in the new film.

But once again, this does not mean that James Cameron has decided to retcon previous events. In this instance, Lang is playing a "recombinant" version of the character, an autonomous avatar made using his DNA and embedded with his memories, although with no recollection of his own death (one scene in the film actually sees the new Na'vi version of Quaritch coming across his own corpse).

Lang is therefore essentially playing a Na'vi version of the same character – and, as he puts it himself, the strength and agility of a Na'vi combined with his military training is "quite a potent mix".

Avatar: The Way of Water is now showing in UK cinemas. Check out more of our Film coverage or find something to watch now with our TV Guide and Streaming Guide.


The Christmas double issue of Radio Times magazine is on sale nowsubscribe now. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to the Radio Times View From My Sofa podcast.