This post contains spoilers for "Avatar: The Way of Water."

Aside from all the visual splendor and massive action set pieces leaping off of the screen in James Cameron's "Avatar: The Way of Water," there's also a central mystery at the heart of the much-anticipated sequel that could have a monumental impact on future films. Kiri, the teenage adopted Na'vi daughter of the Sully family, was born out of extraordinary circumstances. Technically, she is the biological daughter of Dr. Grace Augustine's (Sigourney Weaver) comatose avatar, who miraculously gave birth after the human version of Grace died in the first film. Grace is undoubtedly Kiri's mother, but who or what is Kiri's actual father?

The question of Kiri's parentage is obviously important to Cameron, who establishes Kiri's mysterious birth early on in the movie. There are a number of possibilities to explain how Kiri came to be, and her creation ties back to events in the first film, while also setting up a potentially universe-shattering revelation that could catapult the third "Avatar" movie into some seriously weird territory. Whether the answer to Kiri's birth comes in the form of a person from Grace's past or from some sort of miraculous conception, humans and the Nav'i will both likely be significantly impacted once her true origins are finally known.

Cameron's love of technology, science, and nature intertwines in "Avatar: The Way of Water," and the mystery behind Kiri's father will possibly combine all of his passions into one singular character. The almost freakish nature of Kiri and her connection to Pandora point strongly in one direction, but it's still fun to theorize about all of the possibilities.

Why Does It Matter Who Kiri's Father Is?

It's been over a decade since Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) joined the Na'vi and left his old life (and body) behind to become their next leader, the Toruk Makto. During this time, Jake and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) built a family that's four kids strong (or five, if you count the human child, Spider). Time has passed on Pandora, just as it has for us, and as a result, the characters in "The Way of Water" are much more complex this time around. Forced to hide amongst the Metkayina water clan to avoid detection by the bloodthirsty Colonel Quaritch (now in avatar form), the Sullys face real challenges as a family — they might be nine feet tall and blue, but they're relatable.

Understandably, Kiri is a little depressed about their new life, and she's bullied for being different. She hasn't found her identity yet, and discovering who her father is could be the only way she'll find her true purpose. Caring about that mystery also makes the late Dr. Augustine a more dynamic character who may have been hiding some secrets — what was happening off-screen in this world that we weren't allowed to see?

Finding out who Kiri's father is could also be the key to unlocking Pandora's secrets. The anti-aging material extracted by human hunters from the whale-like tulkun could become even more valuable, potentially. And if Kiri really is a part of the life force of Pandora, she could be captured and experimented on, giving Earth's invaders even more reason to destroy the planet. Inversely, Kiri could be the only way for the Na'vi to finally defeat the humans and restore balance.

Does Kiri Have Two Moms?

In what now looks like the pivotal scene in 2009's "Avatar," the Na'vi try to permanently transfer Grace's consciousness into her lab-grown avatar body. When the ceremony fails, both Grace and her avatar are connected by the glowing tendrils of the Tree of Souls. How much of Grace's human self was felt by Eywa, the deity of Pandora that's connected to all things? It's possible that while connected to both Grace and her avatar, Eywa might not have been able to tell the two apart. That confusion could have led Eywa to reincarnate Grace into her own avatar body, creating an entirely new version of a Na'vi child.

The Sully children are hybrids differentiated by having five fingers, like humans, rather than four. Coming from the womb of Grace's avatar, Kiri is no different. It's interesting, however, that when Kiri visits the lab early on in "The Way of Water," she talks to Grace as if she's an actual daughter talking to her mother. Does Kiri know something we don't? Kiri is also seen wearing Grace's indigenous necklace throughout the sequel.

The answer to Kiri's existence could also be as relatively straightforward as her being a clone of Grace. There are many real-life examples of creatures unable to reproduce that actually clone themselves, such as a mutant crayfish recently found in Europe. This scenario is almost more fascinating than the immaculate conception theory, and one that firmly plants Cameron's world on solid scientific ground.

Or Maybe It's Just Norm The Scientist?

Kiri's brothers and sisters even joke about Norm (Joel David Moore), one of the best characters in "Avatar," possibly being Kiri's dad. Norm and Dr. Augustine did work pretty closely together, and some of those research nights must have been long and lonely. Norm was also an avatar driver. There must have been some speculation about what would happen if two lab-made avatars attempted to procreate, right? In any case, Norm was incredibly loyal to Grace and respected her a great deal.

Since it's literally a joke in the sequel that Norm is Kiri's father, it's unlikely that James Cameron would go down this road. My guess is that Norm does know something though, and may offer some guidance to Kiri at some point. There is, after all, a reason why Grace's avatar is kept in stasis by Jake and the remaining human scientists still maintaining the lab. Another possibility, for example, is that Norm or someone else manipulated Grace's avatar somehow, perhaps by injecting the body with some of the natural riches of Pandora, which then intermingled with the avatar's DNA.


No way, right? There is a clear parallel between Grace and Kiri's situation and the family bombshell that Quaritch uncovers early on. He learns that the feral human child named Spider (Jack Champion) is actually his long lost son. It's never revealed who Spider's mother is, setting up a kind of poetry that mirrors Kiri's uncertainty about her own father.

Spider was a baby when the Na'vi drove humans off of Pandora the first time, and was apparently too young to be moved off-world. Was Spider really the only baby conceived around that time? It seems possible that Quaritch broke the chain of command and had a quick fling with another marine, but who knows? As the oldest characters in the story, Grace and Quaritch are probably around the same age. They could have more in common than we think, and maybe they shared some secretive moments during the events of the first film that we weren't privy to.

The fact that both Quaritch and Kiri share this unlikely common bond probably means that there will be some kind of connective tissue when the full family tree is finally charted.

A Love/hate Affair With Selfridge?

Granted, Parker Selfridge (Giovanni Ribisi) was a little too distracted ordering the destruction of the most sacred lands of the Omaticaya clan to be too interested in a little rest and recreation. His greedy obsession to secure the incredibly valuable rare-earth mineral, unobtanium, was the driving force behind Earth's invasion, and the main source of frustration for Dr. Augustine, who constantly had to play politics to get what she wanted. Could the two, however, have had some kind of love/hate relationship that boiled over one stormy night?

In the re-release of "Avatar" in theaters, there is an extra scene with Selfridge that should be mentioned here. When Jake, Neytiri, and the other Na'vi warriors watch over the surrender of the humans, Selfridge stops and says, "You know this isn't over." If Kiri's origin story winds up resulting in even more riches worth exploiting, it's completely conceivable that we could see Selfridge return to Pandora. And since Sigourney Weaver performs as Kiri, there could be some potential fireworks between both characters if they ever meet.

David Thewlis In The Third Film?

In an exciting addition, actor David Thewlis ("Wonder Woman," "The Sandman") will appear in the third installment in the "Avatar" franchise. Thewlis has confirmed that he will be playing a Na'vi character, most likely from one of the other 15 clans besides the Omaticaya and the Metkayina, that audiences haven't seen yet.

One of the possible titles for the third movie is "Avatar: The Seed Bearer," which, without being crude, could offer up a clue about the origins of life on Pandora and the mystery surrounding Kiri's birth. Is it possible that the character that Thewlis is playing somehow ties into the family drama unfolding?

Thewlis has said before that he will be in more than just the next "Avatar" installment, if all goes right with James Cameron's master plan. "I'm going to be in 'Avatar 3,' which was shot at the same time as 'Avatar 2,' and the plan is that I will be in 'Avatar 4' and '5,' as well," he clarified some time ago.

Kiri and Thewlis's yet unknown character will likely have some screen time together in what's shaping up to be a world war of sorts, judging by the ending of "Avatar: The Way of Water."

Any Clues In The Video Games Or Theme Park Attraction?

Currently, the Ubisoft open-world game, "Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora," is set to release sometime between April 2023 and March 2024. Originally, the plan was to have the immersive game coincide with the release of "The Way of Water," but it has been delayed. Could there be any Easter eggs or tidbits in the game that could offer any insight regarding the whereabouts of Kiri's father? "Avatar" producer Jon Landau pretty much put that idea to bed recently when he told Polygon that the game's storyline would be canon but would not overlap with the overarching narrative of the films.

While the game design does sound like it's more about the experience of playing vicariously and interacting with life on Pandora, it could lead to some more information about how Eywa and the Na'vi co-exist together. If something new is revealed about that harmonious relationship, it could be extrapolated to apply to Kiri's conception. The idea of endlessly exploring within the "Frontiers of Pandora" game with that idea in mind may make gamers want to investigate even more.

The Answer Will Likely Be Revealed In The Third Film

No matter what happens with subsequent sequels, I'm going out on a limb and saying that the mystery of Kiri's origin will be unveiled in the third film. Seeing how it's a similar but smaller revelation, it's probably safe to assume that Spider's mystery mom will be found out as well. That is, if Quaritch and Neytiri don't get into another hostage situation again, threatening the lives of each of their kids.

The "Avatar" films are starting to feel like James Cameron's version of a campfire story, a high-tech recounting of alien lore and family lineage passed down from one generation to the next. Cameron's interests in advanced technology and oceanography have the opportunity to come together in a profound way, which is probably why the filmmaker keeps expanding and improving upon this imaginary world when he could literally make any movie he wants.

Kiri's father, or whatever force created her, will almost certainly be a pivotal plot point in "Avatar 3" that could potentially set up whatever mind-blowing idea Cameron has for "Avatar 4," which apparently blew the studio away when they heard it. Any answers we get about Kiri's father, however, will sadly have to wait until at least December 2024, when "Avatar 3" is set to premiere in theaters.

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