After 13 years of waiting, the second film in the Avatar franchise finally premiered on Friday, Dec. 16. Warning: Spoilers for Avatar: The Way of Water follow. Avatar: The Way of Water takes place 15 years after the first movie, with Jake Sully (played by Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) creating their life in Pandora, as well as building their family. The pair has two sons — Neteyam and Lo’ak — and a young daughter, Tuk. They also have a fourth child that they consider their own, though she wasn’t born from Neytiri: Kiri. So, who’s Kiri? She’s actually an avatar born from Dr. Grace Augustine (Sigourney Weaver), though nobody knows how exactly she was conceived, or who Kiri’s dad is. Let me explain.
In case you need a refresher after a literal dozen years, Dr. Grace was a researcher who headed up the avatar program. In the first movie, she was fatally injured, so Jake took her human body to the Tree of Souls in Pandora to hopefully transfer her consciousness into her avatar. It failed, though, and before she died, Dr. Grace told Jake she saw Eywa. In the world of Pandora, Eywa is the Na’vi’s deity, and is also known as the Great Mother. Dr. Grace’s last words to Jake were, “I’m with Her now, Jake. She is real.”
After Dr. Grace’s death, her avatar — which is braindead — was brought back to the lab, where it sits in an incubator. As they show in The Way of Water, the unconscious avatar somehow conceived a child, and Kiri was born. (Kiri is also played by Weaver, which is confusing at first, but the animation and voice effects really help the viewer connect Kiri to Dr. Grace without making it feel like it’s the same person.) Jake and Neytiri raised Kiri as their own. So, we know Kiri’s mother is Dr. Grace. But who is Kiri’s father? How was she conceived, considering the avatar that birthed her didn’t have a mind?
Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t really answer that. However, the movie does show that Kiri has an extraordinary connection to the ecosystem and the living beings in Pandora. This is shown most clearly when Kiri visits the Spirit Tree, which is similar to the Tree Of Souls. When she connects and sees her mother, she asks Dr. Grace who her father is. But Dr. Grace doesn’t get a chance to answer before everything basically short-circuits and Kiri suffers a seizure. It’s almost like the connection between Kiri and the world around her is too strong.
Because of this, lots of fans are theorizing that Kiri may not have a human or avatar father, but instead, was created by Eywa herself.
Kiri’s lineage is a huge question that wasn’t answered in Avatar: The Way of Water, but the good news is fans won’t have to wait another 13 years to find out (thank god). Avatar 3 is slated to be released in December 2024, so I’m willing to bet fans will find out a bit more about Kiri and her creation then.