Opening Pandora's Box

Who is Kiri's father? Avatar 2’s biggest mystery sets up a shocking twist

Sigourney Weaver returns from the dead as her own 14-year-old daughter in Avatar: The Way of Water. Confused? Let's break it down.

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James Cameron can’t help himself. The master of blockbusters has a thing for writing in Sigourney Weaver as the hero (see: Aliens). He did the same for Avatar. And even though Weaver’s badass and brilliant character, Dr. Grace Augustine met her maker at the end of that movie, the actress still manages to return in Avatar: The Way of Water. But that return raises more question than answers about the world of Pandora and the future of the Avatar series.

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

Who does Sigourney Weaver play in Avatar 2?

At the beginning of Avatar 2, ex-Marine and ex-human Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) narrates a bare-bones explanation as to why Weaver is still in the cast. In short, her character Grace may be brain dead (more on that in a minute), but her Avatar body survives— as does its ability to bear a child. Surprise: it’s a Na’vi girl! And she’s played by Weaver!

What happened to Sigourney Weaver's character in Avatar?

Dr. Grace Augustine perished in Avatar but was resurrected (sort of) in Avatar 2.

Lightstorm Entertainment/Disney

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.

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. However, the more interesting theory is that Kiri is literally the child of Eywa due to some sort of immaculate conception.

Dr. Augustine may have been blessed by Eywa with Kiri. Her 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. In video recordings shown in Way of Water, Weaver describes Pandora as exhibiting some sort of neural network that connects all life forms on the planet. But perhaps in her final moments, she realized what she was really seeing was Eywa.

So if Kiri was born through immaculate conception and her father is basically God, does that make Kiri the Pandora equivalent of Jesus? Let’s take a closer look.

Is Kiri (Sigourney Weaver) Pandora’s savior?

Sigourney Weaver returns to Avatar 2 as Kiri.

Lightstorm Entertainment/20th Century Studios

Science-fiction, horror, and fantasy writers and directors have always loved inserting religious allegory and symbolism into their works. James Cameron is not immune to dabbling in Biblical inspiration — most notably with The Terminator and its sequel. Now, he’s diving deeper into the theological themes established in the first Avatar (Jake = Moses), with a slightly too on-the-nose messianic savior in Avatar 2. Roll your eyes (like Kiri) all you want! Here’s why we think this messianic theory isn’t too far of a stretch.

There are a couple of qualities that Christ-like figures in literature, television, and cinema tend to have: they have some sort of obscure birth, they’re the “Chosen One” of the story, despite being outsiders they gain a group of devoted followers, they are betrayed, and there’s some sort of literal or figurative crucifixion, resurrection, and salvation or promise for a better world after their “second coming.” Bonus points if these characters have any prophetic visions or dreams.

Kiri marks almost all of these boxes. She’s...

  • Immaculately conceived— or, at least, it’s heavily implied by the film that she is.
  • “Superpowered”— in the sense that she has a bizarre, inexplicable relationship with Pandoran flora and fauna (undersea and on land water) that goes a touch beyond reverent and into the spiritual domain. She can manipulate that relationship to her benefit. Kiri can, in a way, perform miracles with Eywa’s divine intervention.
  • An outcast— because not everyone appreciates Kiri’s highly empathic nature or her otherworldly connection to nature itself, which is why she sometimes gets teased by her family and bullied by her peers.
  • Had visions— and epilepsy is likely not the cause of the intense surge of energy that overwhelms Kiri when she connects with the Metkayina’s version of the Tree of Souls, followed by a vivid re-encounter with her dead mother, before being awoken from her coma with a spiritual ritual.
  • Been betrayed— little does Kiri or any of the other Sully family members know that Spider (Jack Champion) saved the avatar clone of his father, Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang), who has sworn to defeat Jake Sully, his wife, and their remaining children. If Kiri is Pandora’s “Jesus,” then Spider is Pandora’s “Judas,” which may foreshadow his ultimate role in the planned Avatar sequels to come.

And if the blatant angelic imagery of Kiri wearing “undersea wings” and controlling a legion of glowing water sprites to save her family wasn’t enough to convince you, the most obvious reason why we think Kiri is the Chosen One of Pandora is because she’s (as we have speculated) a hybrid between human, Na’vi and the divine. This holy genetic combination may, perhaps, be exactly what Pandora needs in order to be saved and bring about peace.

Kiri may ultimately be the Sully we need to pay the closest attention to in Avatar 3-7.

Avatar: The Way of Water is splashing in theaters now.

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