After a round of test screenings, Avatar: The Way of Water director James Cameron removed a scene that didn't end up working to finish the film off.
While Avatar 2 made a lot of things work with its extended 3-hour-12-minute runtime, there were still a few moments that were removed from the final cut in order to keep the story flowing.
Part of this deleted material included sea creatures from the Metkayina's home on Pandora, even though the Tulkun still played a huge role in connecting that clan with Jake's Omiticaya people.
And while some of Avatar 2's removed scenes will be reworked and improved for Avatar 3, Cameron's newest chapter of the Pandoran adventure will still have some story details that will never debut to the public.
James Cameron Cut Avatar 2 Ending Scene
Speaking at a fan screening of Avatar: The Way of Water, director James Cameron revealed information on a scene that was cut from the end of the movie.
In the third act of the film, Jake Sully launches an assault on Stephen Lang's Miles Quaritch and the RDA with the help of the Metkayina tribe. However, midway through the battle, the Metkayina are not seen with the rest of the main characters, and remain absent until the final battle is over.
Cameron was asked about this particular moment and revealed there was originally a scene that saw members of the Metkayina reunite with their children at the end of the battle, though it was deleted from the final film due to poor feedback from test screenings.
Cameron explained that the scene ended up being "a bit distracting to the core family" by having that many people involved, attributing the cut to "people [being] bothered by it" during test screenings:
"We had that, we shot it, and we just decided it was a bit distracting to the core family. There are people that are bothered by it and people that don’t even notice it. So it’s just one of those things you never get a perfect score on a movie. And you’re certainly never gonna get a perfect score from 100% of the people."
The director dove deeper into the scene, noting that the moment needed to be focused more at the time, even though it may not have been the perfect decision for all viewers:
"Look, that’s just a little window into the creative process. We had that, the other parents were there, we accounted for them, and we just felt that we needed to narrow the spotlight, and maybe it was not such a great decision, but that was the decision we made at the moment."
How Removing Distraction From Avatar 2’s Ending Benefited the Film
With family being such an important theme in Avatar 2, as it will be for the rest of the sequels, it's no surprise that James Cameron wanted to include both Jake's family and the Metkayina leaders in the ambush against Quaritch. Since both familial units were put in danger, it would seemingly make sense for the clan leaders to join forces in order to get their children back.
But, in the end, having only Jake go in against the main villain helped to keep the story narrowed in for the final conflict, pitting him in a one-on-one battle with Quaritch as he got a long-awaited rematch after the original Avatar movie.
This also allowed Jake to further prove his dedication to the Na'vi people as a whole after learning the Water People's ways through the rest of the story. Risking his own life to save two children whom he'd only known for a short time helped him advance further as a leader, which only made for more drama to close a movie already filled with so much tragedy.
Although the Water People will be substituted for the Fire Clan in Avatar 3, fans will be curious to see how the next movie's final battle turns out, especially with regard to how populated the final battle is.
Avatar: The Way of Water is now playing in theaters.