Warning: The following article contains full spoilers for Avatar: The Way of Water
Typing the words “Avatar: The Way of Water (2022) is now in theaters” is an almost surreal thing to say at this point. After an unprecedented eight delays and well over a decade since the original 2009 hit, the sequel to one of the most lucrative feature films of all time finally makes its way into theaters on December 16th, 2022, just in time for the holiday season. Avatar (2009) as a film has its fair share of critics, but even the most vocal of them have been eager to see what visionary director James Cameron has planned for the first of four planned sequels. 20th Century Studios and their relatively new parent company Disney have also been intrigued to see how audiences will receive future films, hence why Avatar made a return to theaters this past month complete with remastered and updated visuals.
If you have already watched Avatar 2, you have met the biggest mystery of Avatar: The Way of Water less than five minutes into the movie. That mystery is Kiri (Sigourney Weaver), a young Na’vi child who is the daughter of scientist Grace (also Weaver) from the first Avatar.
Avatar 2: Who is Kiri?
Kiri is the “half-breed” daughter of Grace Augustine, who died from a gunshot wound in the first movie. Kiri’s conception remains a “complete mystery”, and it’s not yet known who her biological father is.
Grace died, but she also didn’t deliver her child. But Grace left behind her Na’vi avatar, which was kept in stasis by Neytiri, Jake Sully, and her other scientist friends, as per media reports. Grace’s avatar gives birth to Kiri, and Jake adopts her. Jake describes Juri’s conception as a total mystery. It could be an immaculate conception.
Weaver’s new character, Kiri, is unique, multidimensional, and integral to the plot of the sequel. Grace is a human, so Kiri’s birth as a Na’vi with no human form is miraculous. Jake, formerly a human himself, and Neytiri are extremely loving and never make Kiri feel otherized. However, Kiri’s unknown father is subject to teasing from other children, and her deep connection with nature sees her often ostracized from her peers until she is able to use her powers to save the family in Avatar: The Way of Water‘s final act.
What happened to Grace Augustine in the avatar?
In Avatar, Dr. Augustine joins the side of the Na’vi as they fight against their human colonizers. Ultimately, she’s mortally wounded in the battle and only manages to survive through a connection with Pandora’s life force and deity Eywa.
But it’s not exactly a success. Dr. Augustine becomes brain-dead during an unsuccessful consciousness transfer by passing through the “Eye of Eywa” performed by the Omaticaya clan and guided by Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) and her mother, Mo’at (C.C.H. Pounder). Jake, on the other hand, is able to become a Na’vi and completely abandon his non-blue corporeal form.
When we see her in The Way of Water, she’s still in her Avatar form and suspended in some sort of cryogenic sleep. We learn that she somehow gave birth to a child (Kiri) while in her current. It’s unclear who the father is — but everyone seems to have their own theory (will talk about it later).
Cameron finally clears up the confusion
During a recent interview with Entertainment Weekly, Cameron finally clears up the confusion and reveals the connection between Weaver’s two Avatar characters. The Way of Water director says that Kiri is “born of Grace’s avatar.” Read Cameron’s full explanation below:
It’s just that she’s born of Grace’s avatar. It’s a natural birth, but the avatar is brain-dead, but she’s not. She’s normal.
Why Sigourney Weaver Plays Kiri In Avatar 2
Cameron confirming there is a connection between Dr. Grace and Kiri finally explains why Weaver is playing the role of Jake and Neytiri’s adoptive teenage daughter in Avatar: The Way of Water. Though there were some theories about Kiri being a reincarnation of Grace, that isn’t quite the case. Instead, Kiri’s origins are a little more complicated. She was naturally conceived and born of Dr. Grace’s Na’vi avatar, adopted by Jake and Neytiri, and raised in the rainforest. However, the identity of Kiri’s biological father is unclear, and perhaps that is a surprise reveal being saved for the sequel. Nevertheless, this is a surprisingly straightforward explanation for how Grace and Kiri are connected, though there are some extra elements at play that keep the mystery going.
The trailer of Avatar: The Way of Water teased this connection between Weaver’s two characters. In the trailer, Kiri hears a mysterious heartbeat, which could refer to Pandora’s heartbeat itself given the strong connection the Na’vi have to their native planet. However, considering Cameron’s recent reveal, it is much more likely Kiri is hearing Dr. Grace’s heartbeat after she died at the Tree of Souls and was united with Eywa, Pandora’s deity.
Though the revelation that Kiri is born of Grace’s avatar might have been best saved for the sequel itself, Cameron’s willingness to reveal this information suggests there might be more to the story. If Kiri is in fact hearing Grace’s heartbeat, this would suggest the latter character is still alive after her memories and consciousness were absorbed by the Tree of Souls in Avatar, and perhaps could somehow be brought back to life in the sequel.
Who Is Kiri’s Father
The movie does not reveal much information about the birth of Kiri. It is unclear whether Kiri was conceived before Grace died and her avatar carried her to term. Or the complete gestation was done by the avatar.
The identity of Kiri’s true father is not revealed in Avatar: The Way of Water, but there are hints as to who her father could be.
The most popular guess among the movie’s characters is that Dr. Augustine’s colleague Norm Spellman (Joel David Moore) was the father and Grace conceived Kiri before the end of Avatar before somehow giving birth in her Avatar body. If you remember, Kiri’s brothers joke that the scientist Norm could be her father.
But, Kiri’s birth isn’t the only mystery around her. She can also sense the Great Mother, who is the deity of the Na’vi. This connection with the deity is manifested in different forms. While Kiri sleeps, the grass moves in sync with her breath, and she can unconsciously draw the sacred wood sprites to herself. It is possible that these unique powers that no other Na’vi possesses could come from her parents. So, her other parent may be neither a Na’vi nor a human. The Great Mother herself could be he ..
How Kiri Is Grace’s Biological Daughter
There was no hint of Grace being pregnant at the time of her death in the first Avatar movie, and the healing ceremony to attempt to transfer her human consciousness into her Na’vi body permanently was unsuccessful. However, in Avatar: The Way of Water, it is shown through Kiri’s visions that the remaining humans of Pandora did not give up on rescuing Grace. Other members of her research team held her body suspended in a laboratory, where she would eventually give birth to Kiri. In addition to her visions of her mother, throughout the Avatar sequel, Kiri hears a mysterious heartbeat that no other character can hear.
This heartbeat is a connection between Kiri and Grace, but not as was expected. Early theories suggested the sound was simply Grace’s heartbeat, but a deeper connection between Sigourney Weaver’s two Avatar characters offers a hint about Kiri’s father. Grace was a xenobotanist with a deep appreciation for Pandora’s nature and goddess Eywa. In Avatar: The Way of Water, this knowledge has manifested itself in the form of special abilities for her daughter. Kiri can communicate with nature and Eywa directly, as her mother did in her dying moments. This heartbeat is similar to the sound made by Eywa at the Tree of Souls during the ceremony where Grace died.
Dr. Augustine’s final words to Jake in Avatar are “I’m with her,” breathed out in a sigh of ecstasy and almost implying that there was a divine bond of some sort between the deity and Grace at the time of her passing. Also, she said that she could see Eywa, the Great Mother.
So it is possible that she joined the common neural network of all living beings in Pandora. If that is true, it could be the reason why Kiri could see her when she linked into the Tree of Souls.
Eywa could have impregnated Grace’s avatar with her magical abilities; thus came Kiri. So, Eywa may be Kiri’s second parent. We hope her parentage will be revealed in the next movie.