‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ Ending Explained: This Time It’s War

Time to discuss the big finale

20 Century

“Avatar: The Way of Water” is finally here.

James Cameron’s long-in-development follow-up to his 2009 blockbuster, the most successful movie of all time, transports viewers back to the planet Pandora, full of wonderfully weird extraterrestrial life and, of course, larger-than-life manmade threats. This time around we join Jake (Sam Worthington), the former-human-turned-Na’vi and his wife, Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña), plus their kids Neteyam (Jamie Flatters), Lo’ak (Britain Dalton) and Tuktirey (Trinity Jo-Li Bliss), plus their adopted kids Kiri (Sigourney Weaver) and human kid Spider (Jack Champion). This happy brood is displaced when the evil corporation RDA returns to the planet and with them Recombinants – resurrected versions of the evil soldiers from the first movie, this time in Avatar form, led by Quaritch (Stephen Lang).

In order to save his family (and the rest of Pandora), Jake flees to the water and asks for sanctuary from the reef tride, led by Tonowari (Cliff Curtis) and Ronal (Kate Winslet). Of course, the battle always finds them.

But how does “Avatar: The Way of Water” wrap up? And is it clear where the movies are headed since, yes, we have many more installments on the way (the third film is mostly shot and due out for Christmas 2024)? Read on to find out.

Major spoiler warning for “Avatar: The Way of Water.” If you haven’t seen the movie yet, turn back now!

Does “Avatar: The Way of Water” really have an ending?

Yes, it does.

Well, what is it?

Can we back up for a second?


Okay, so basically the last hour or so of “Avatar: The Way of Water” is one big, long action set piece. It’s one of the biggest, one of the longest, one of the most jaw-dropping set pieces in Cameron’s career, which is composed mostly of out-of-this-world set pieces. It concerns the RDA goons, led by Quaritch and a posse of what are essentially evil whalers, as they come for Jake and his family. During the skirmish, the bad guys suffer major causalities (including one of the most satisfying big screen dismemberments in recent memory) but so do our heroes – one of Jake’s children is mortally wounded by the villains. It’s shocking – not only that one of the good guys would die but that a child would fall during this climax. As the family nearly goes its own way, Jake decides that he’s still got some fight left in him – and goes back to battle Quaritch once more.

Wait, which child dies?

Jake and Neytiri’s oldest, Neteyam.


Yeah, it’s pretty intense. And while you think that maybe the bullet has just passed through him, once you get a look at the wound, it’s very clear that he can’t recover. There’s also a fair amount of blood, pushing “Avatar: The Way of Water” way past an acceptable PG-13 but since they’re blue people I guess it doesn’t matter.

What happens with the final fight with Quaritch?

The final fight takes place in the overturned RDA whaling ship and it is just as brutal and intense as everything else that came before it. It seems, at the end, like Jake has finally subdued and drowned Quaritch but if this goon has cheated death once …

Wait, he’s still alive?



After the fight we see that his body has washed up on the shore. Spider, his human (and abandoned) son finds him. He’s still breathing. As he gets up, Spider leaves his father behind, rejoining his Na’vi family. Quaritch is obviously upset.

Does Spider officially join the clan?

Yes. In one of the more tender moments, towards the end of the movie, Spider is officially accepted as a Sully. At the beginning of the movie Jake describes him as more of a lost cat, someone who has unofficially joined the clan but who is routinely chased away and is never accepted by Neytiri. After the loss of her son, she finally opens her heart and lets him in. “A son for a son” is how Jake describes it.

What of the larger war?

RDA has decided to colonize Pandora. They came after Jake because he basically became a terrorist, blowing up an RDA train system and murdering some of their goons. What Jake realizes, at the end of the movie, is that they are going to keep coming. And he can’t keep running. Especially if they return to his new home, the reef. Next time, he’s going to be ready. Next time, they’re going to fight.

Oh dang.


Do we think “Avatar 3” will be even bigger and more action packed?

We do.

How long do we have to wait?

Until Christmas 2024.

That’s a long time.

It’s true. But considering that we waited 13 years between the first and second “Avatar” films, this should be a cakewalk.

“Avatar: The Way of Water” is in theaters now.