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Avatar: The Way of Water - Everything You Need to Know About Na'vi

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It’s been thirteen years since we first saw the spectacle of Avatar in theaters and the anticipated sequel, The Way of Water, is ready to return to the silver screen this December. In order to become acquainted with the sequel, we reveal everything you need to know about the franchise’s alien race – the Na’vi.

James Cameron has been working on the franchise for over a decade and the creator has another three Avatar movies in the pipeline, with the fifth not expected to appear until 2028.

Directed by Cameron with a screenplay by Rick Jaffa, and Amanda Silver, Avatar: The Way of Water serves as the long-anticipated sequel to the 2009 feature, based on a story the writers created with Josh Friedman and Shame Salerno.

Avatar: The Way Of Water | Official Trailer

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Avatar: The Way Of Water | Official Trailer
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Origins of the Na’vi Alien Race

The alien race featured in the Avatar franchise is called Na’vi, which translates to “The People” in English.

The race’s origin is contained within the First Songs – recordings of the Na’vi’s first interaction with Eywa – and instead of being a written record, they are spoken through tales passed down through generations.  

One legend, called the Toruk Makto, describes three youngsters – Entu and Ralu of the Omaticaya clan and Tsyal of the Tawkami clan – who embarked on a mission to save the Tree of Souls from an active volcano and Entu became the first Toruk Makto – rider of the winged Toruk. Jake Sully also became a Toruk Makto in the first Avatar movie.

Avatar: The Way of Water – Cr. 20th Century Studios UK, YouTube.

Anatomy

Na’vi carry a humanoid anatomy combined with feline features, such as pointed ears and a tail that they use for balance.

They are known to have four times the strength of an average human and are protected by a skeleton fortified with a naturally growing carbon fiber.

The most notable feature of the Na’vi is their blue skin caused by a cyanin pigmentation that can darken or tan to a purple color after enduring prolonged sun exposure. Their darker skin markings and bioluminescent freckles are known to change when they experience different emotions.

The Na’vi also possess something called a neural queue encased in a protective layer of skin and covered by their hair. This queue has a set of pink tendrils that are extensions of the Na’vi’s nervous system and connecting one queue to another allows the Na’vi to communicate emotions, memories, and sensations, demonstrated between Neytiri and Jake in the first movie.

Their slender build is supported by a diet of meat and plants, adhering to their omnivorous species, which is a sustainable menu considering the Na’vi are in constant peak physical condition.

Since Pandora has gone through few changes to its ecosystem and has been mostly free of external threats, the Na’vi of The Way of Water’s time are very similar physically to the first tribes that inhabited the moon.

Clans

There are twelve known clans belonging to the Na’vi race, all of which reside in different biomes around Pandora, including deserts, tundras, mountainous regions, and tropical reefs.

Each clan consists of around 300 members led by a leader, or Olo’eyktan, and a spiritual leader, or Tsahìk, with the rest of the clan made up of hunters, warriors, and artisans.

Despite dwelling independently, all clans come together in times of crisis or celebration and we have outlined them all below:

  • Anurai clan – Humans targeted this artisan clan for their precious artifacts.
  • Hulanta clan – From the Wetlands.
  • Kekunan clan – Banshee riders.
  • Mangkwan clan – A welcoming clan close to the Omaticaya clan.
  • Metkayina clan – From the reefs of the Pandoran ocean.
  • Olangi clan – A horse clan.
  • Omaticaya clan – Dwelling in the jungle near Hometree.
  • Rey’tanu clan – From the arid highlands.
  • Tawkami clan – Known for their knowledge of chemistry and botany.
  • Tayrangi clan – From the eastern sea region.
  • Tipani clan – Known for their strength and armor.
Avatar: The Way of Water – Cr. 20th Century Studios UK, YouTube.

Culture

Built around their worship of Eywa, the Na’vi have a social structure based on craftsmanship, hunting, and foraging, and their consistent goal is to protect the balance of life on Pandora.

Different clans may adhere to their own history, art, and dress code, however, all clans follow the Three Laws of Eywa, also known as the Na’vi Way:

  • “You shall not set stone upon stone.”
  • “Neither shall you use the turning wheel.”
  • “Nor use the metals of the ground.”

These concrete laws somewhat explain why the Na’vi remain primitive without technological advancements, driven to keep the ecological system of Pandora in harmony.

Na’vi are primarily monogamous and take on one mate for life with a reproduction system similar to Terran mammals. However, Na’vi nurse their young through belly buttons, similar to humans, but their internal makeup is still somewhat a mystery.

Little clothing is worn by the race with a majority of their slender build exposed, but most Na’vi wear a combination of flora and leather. Clothes also symbolize a Na’vi’s ranking in their clan, with higher-ranking individuals carrying more artifacts and colorful apparel.

Lastly, while the Na’vi are primarily a peaceful race, some conflict has erupted between clans but this very rarely leads to any sort of war. Conflict is normally resolved quickly between clans following a process of brief fighting leading into negotiations towards a humane solution.

Avatar: The Way of Water – Cr. 20th Century Studios UK, YouTube.

Language

The common language spoken by the Na’vi remains nameless and they communicate with speech, sign language, and body gestures.

The Na’vi tongue has not changed in thousands of years, however, different dialects exist within the clans.

Since Na’vi only have four fingers and four toes on each limb, their counting system revolves around the number eight and they have no words for numbers higher than sixteen (mevol). A number greater than this is called pzay (many), as they do not count more than their fingers and toes.

Furthermore, Na’vi use a mnemonic device known as a songcord to communicate their personal history – a long-standing tradition of the race – adding an item to their cord to represent each significant event in their life.

By Jo Craig – [email protected]

Avatar: The Way of Water will release in theaters on December 16, 2022.

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Jo Craig
@shingeekyjo

Being a pop culture writer and a proud geek of all trades, Jo loves to dissect fandoms and marvel at their insides. The entirety of The Lord of the Rings, superhero origins, the Ghost of Tsushima score, the Wings of Freedom, and the endless search for a sleepy Tyranitar are but a few of Jo's passions, with a penchant for contributing to the geek culture community.

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