Avatar: The Way of Water concept art revealed fan suspicions about Spider were accurate.
While James Cameron's Avatar 2 reunited many of the 2009 film's original cast, the sequel also introduced several new lead characters, many of which were Jake and Neytiri's children.
Another key member of this new young cast is Spider, a human teenager played by Jack Champion, who's revealed to be the son of the primary villain, Miles Quaritch.
However, apart from Spider being Quaritch's biological son, Avatar 2 audiences had other theories about the character's familial connections.
Avatar 2 Artwork Confirms Spider's Family
Deborah Scott, Avatar: The Way of Water's costume designer, posted a piece of sequel concept art confirming Spider's place among Jake Sully's family.
The artwork, which was shared via Reddit, shows Jake Sully's song cord, with select items and beads representing key moments in his life, including the birth and/or adoption of his children.
Among the items on his song cord is a drop of Spider's blood encased in amber to mark his adoption.
According to the piece, he was adopted after the birth of Neteyam and Kiri's adoption, but before the birth of Lo'ak.
While Avatar 2 didn't specifically say Spider was part of the Sully family, Jake seemed to view the teen as a son at times, especially by the film's conclusion.
James Cameron seems to view Spider in this role as well as, in a past interview, he referred to Spider as one who "connects the two dads together [Jake and Quaritch]..."
But despite these impressions, Jake's Avatar 2 dialogue concerning Spider suggests the opposite, as he says, "He wasn't part of our family:"
“Then, there was Spider. He was just stuck here. Too young for a cryocapsule. Orphaned by the war, he was raised by the lab guys. He wasn’t part of our family. He was like a stray cat just always around. Inseparable from our kids. To Neytiri, he would always be alien. One of them.”
Is Spider a Sully or Not?
Spider's "unofficial" adoption into the Sully family would've made more sense if it happened at the end of the film.
Having him adopted before the birth of Lo'ak, who also happens to be a teen during The Way of Water, simply doesn't gel with Jake's comparison to the boy as "a stray cat" and Neytiri's view of him as "alien."
The explanation, of course, is that this new information came from concept art which only serves to illustrate an idea.
As proof of how this artwork shouldn't be taken literally, Tuk's birth is missing from the song cord as well.
But even though this piece may not be accurate to what played out on screen, it does show how Cameron originally viewed the character of Spider amongst the Sully family.
Also, it's possible that he simply bumped Spider's adoption to the film's conclusion, allowing him to fill the role of a son in Jake's eyes before the next film.
Regardless, audience assumptions about Spider's connection to the Sully family were correct as this artwork confirms that's what Cameron and his team had in mind.
However, Spider's story is far from over as evidence suggests he will continue to play a pivotal role in Avatar 3 and possibly beyond.
Avatar 3 arrives in theaters on December 20, 2024.