The Avatar Deleted Scene That Would've Set Up The Sequel

Prior to "Avatar: The Way of Water," James Cameron had only directed one non-documentary film in the 21st century, but it happened to be the highest-grossing film of all time. The first "Avatar" movie was a bona fide cultural event that shaped the movie landscape for years to come, making 3D glasses a staple of the multiplex. It's arguable whether that was a good thing, since most other would-be blockbusters at the time were post-converting to 3D, hoping to reap the benefits of a movie ticket surcharge, as opposed to filming in native 3D as Cameron had.

Just when it seemed like people were in danger of forgetting about his Smurf-ified "Dances with Wolves" remake, Cameron went and did the only logical thing: He licensed "Avatar" out to Disney so they could build a theme park land based on his movie. In the summer of 2017, Pandora – The World of Avatar opened at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Florida, thereby ensuring that Floridians, if no one else, would remember "Avatar" and be willing to fork over money to see it again. Two years later, Disney acquired Fox, the studio behind "Avatar," so now it owns the movie like it owns the souls of all children.

It remains to be seen whether the general public still has an appetite for four "Avatar" sequels, but movie history has shown that you shouldn't bet against Cameron. If nothing else, the trailer views for "Avatar: The Way of Water" would suggest that netizens remain interested in Jake Sully and the Na'vi, who are still famous enough that they only need be identified by name (right?!). Yet there was a deleted scene in the first "Avatar" movie that could have set up "The Way of Water" even more than all this has.

'New life keeps the energy flowing'

Getting in bed with Disney had the added benefit of making "Avatar" freely available to stream on Disney+ in perpetuity. If you go back and watch the movie, there's a scene at the end where the evil human unobtanium miners of the RDA (Resources Development Administration) file back onto their spaceships in dejected lines. "The aliens went back to their dying world," Jake narrates, referring to our own planet Earth. "Only a few were chosen to stay."

The "Avatar" deleted scene setting up its waterlogged sequel (via Republic World) would have come right after this part. In it, we see the Na'vi swinging from jungle vines into a watering hole, where at least one of them stands pregnant as she draws back a bow and arrow. Another has a baby Na'vi strapped to his back. Jake (Sam Worthington) continues his voice-over, talking about how "the forest will heal with the hearts of the people" and how "new life keeps the energy flowing," as we see him touching the belly of Zoe Saldana's character, Neytiri — implying that she, too, carries new life in her womb.

The scene never made it past the previsualization stage, but fast forward 13 years, and now we're looking down the barrel of "The Way of Water." The first "Avatar" sequel is finally becoming a reality after all these years, and a quick gander at its aforementioned trailer teases a plot that is very much in line with the deleted scene.

Like the "Fast & Furious" franchise, "Avatar" is now all about family. The "Way of Water" trailer is heavy on visuals; it features almost no dialogue, except a line at the end, where Jake's familiar narrator voice says, "I know one thing: Wherever we go, this family is our fortress."

It's all about family (and ocean life)

In "The Way of Water," it seems Neytiri has already given birth to three children. According to Empire, their names are Neteyam, Lo'ak, and Tuktirey, and they're played by Jamie Flatters, Britain Dalton, and Trinity Bliss, respectively. Jake and Neytiri also have two adopted kids — a Na'vi daughter, Kiri, played by Sigourney Weaver, and a human son called Spider (Jack Champion) — so you might say they have a full treehouse. This delivers on the promise of pregnancies and "new life" from the "Avatar" deleted scene.

"The Way of Water" also takes us across the water on the backs of banshees — and underwater, where we see Jake shaking hands (or fins) with a whale. The ocean's depths have been a careerlong source of fascination for James Cameron, from "The Abyss" to "Titanic" to his two documentaries, "Ghosts of the Abyss" and "Aliens of the Deep," the former of which saw him and his scientist pals exploring the real shipwrecked Titanic in submersibles (one of which was even named "Jake," but after John Belushi's "Blues Brothers" character, not Jake Sully).

The new aquatic setting of "Avatar: The Way of Water" is the natural outgrowth of the preoccupation on Cameron's part. While including the deleted scene in the first "Avatar" might have helped add some more connective tissue between it and "The Way of Water," the movie was already over two-and-a-half hours long. And considering how long it has taken to bring its first sequel to the big screen, it's refreshing that Cameron decided to make "Avatar" more of a stand-alone experience and not worry about adding in a tag at the end to set up the sequel.

Let's face it: "The Way of Water" will probably have moviegoers filing into the theater the way the humans filed off Pandora, just the same.