James Cameron’s tease about the Fire Na’vi in Avatar 3 could hint toward the redemption of the Avatar franchise’s running villain, Quaritch. 13 years after the record-breaking release of Avatar, James Cameron’s long-awaited sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, finally arrived in theaters for the 2022 holiday season. Avatar: The Way of Water introduces the sea-faring Na’vi tribe known as the Metkayina, while also seeing Stephen Lang’s Colonel Miles Quaritch return in Na’vi form to take revenge on Jake Sully and his family.
Avatar: The Way of Water is the first of four planned Avatar sequels, with Avatar 3 to debut in December 2023. The third entry will introduce a tribe of fire-based Na’vi known as the Ash People. James Cameron has also teased the Ash People being the antagonists of Avatar 3. That could also indicate that the fan theory of Quaritch being redeemed from his villainous ways might end up coming to pass.
Avatar 3’s Fire Na’vi Makes Quaritch’s Redemption More Likely
The first Avatar positioned the human characters under Quaritch’s leadership very much as antagonists in their efforts to drive the Na’vi from their land and mine Unobtanium from Pandora. Avatar: The Way of Water‘s antagonists are once again either human or humans in Na’vi bodies, but the arrival of the Ash People in Avatar 3 could change the formula of the franchise. With the Ash People as the villains of the third film, introducing them and setting up their motivations leaves less room for Quaritch’s ruthless ways in Avatar 3.
Furthermore, this would be consistent with Quaritch’s role in Avatar: The Way of Water. Even after Quaritch crushes his human skull in Avatar 2, he is somewhat more humanized in his relationship with his son, Spider. Quaritch’s final scene in Avatar: The Way of Water shows Spider rejecting him and returning to Jake and his family, which clearly affects the previously stern Quaritch. This could also be the first big moment of Quaritch turning over a new leaf.
Quaritch’s Redemption Would Be A Good Move For Avatar 3
While Quaritch has been a strong, determined villain throughout the first two Avatar movies, his brand of villainy does come with a shelf life. As an analogue for racism and xenophobia in his intense hatred of the Na’vi, Quaritch’s perspective is inherently one-dimensional. Quaritch’s motivations will surely need to evolve and develop more depth. Quaritch abandoning his hatred of the Na’vi and redeeming himself for past misdeeds would do exactly that.
The Fire Na’vi of Avatar 3, meanwhile, are much more of a wild card. The “how” and “why” of their villainy is almost certain to be radically different from that of Quaritch, and can add new layers to the story of the Avatar franchise. Just as humans are not innately good or evil, neither are the Na’vi, and Avatar 3‘s potential shift to the Ash People as villains could enable both them and Quaritch to demonstrate that in different ways.
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