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Played by: Sam WorthingtonA disabled former Marine who becomes part of the Avatar Program after his twin brother is killed. His military background helps the Na'vi warriors relate to him.
- Backup Twin: What kicks off the film. Jake is on Pandora because his deceased brother was involved in the Avatar Program, but now that he's dead, only his genetically identical twin can use his Na'vi body.
- Becoming the Mask: The last line you hear is his narration "I can't be late to my own party. After all, it's my birthday." He means he will be joined to his Avatar permanently. This a Call Back to the Navi belief that every member of their clan is born twice. The second time is when they join the clan. Jake's second birth was permanently swapping bodies, as well as becoming a full member of the clan.
- Evil Cripple: The humans probably saw Jake as having been this when he turned against them in favor of the Na'vi.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: Jake's (Avatar) hair changes after he becomes Toruk Makto. Also, how human Jake's hair grows out from the start of the film as he starts to live more in his other body.
- Going Native: After falling for Neytiri and spending time with the Omatikaya.
- Heel-Face Turn: He ends up siding with the Na'vi against the Humans.
- Honor Before Reason: Lampshaded. "We're going up against gunships with bows and arrows...and I was hoping for a plan that didn't involve martyrdom."
- I Just Want to Be Badass: Part of Jake's motivation. It starts as I Just Want to Be Normal (restoring his legs back to healthy condition), but Jake is implied to have been a pretty badass marine before his crippling wound, and embraces the life of a Na'vi hunter/warrior very quickly.
- Interspecies Romance: With Neytiri.
- It's Personal: After the sky people try to squash him and his girl with a bulldozer, kill his future father-in-law and an unspecified number of future distant relatives, burn down his new home and generally trample all over the Moral Event Horizon, you can be sure that Jake will be hell-bent on revenge.
- Meaningful Name:
- Jake's departed twin's name was Tom, or Thomas, which means "the twin."
- Sully is also meaningful, regarding the human actions on Pandora.
- Messianic Archetype: Jake uses a legend he heard to tame a dragon and become this in Na'vi eyes. It's implied that this is what all the previous "messiahs" did as well: They knew they needed to unite their people, so instead of sitting around waiting for their goddess to do it for them, they did the one thing they knew would get everyone's attention.
- Mighty Whitey: Whether it is subverted or played straight is subject to some debate.
- Na´ve Newcomer / Audience Surrogate: Jake is this both to the Avatar Program and Na'vi society, introducing the audience to the world.
- Oh, Crap: Jake does this when he pisses off a Titanothere. He recovers...and then immediately does it again when attacked by a Thanator.
- Rousing Speech: Jake gives one to the Na'vi after becoming Toruk Makto.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Jake at the beginning of the movie. Surviving human soldiers at the end.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: During the final fight, Quaritch asks Jake how it feels to betray the human race, to which Jake replies with a hiss characteristic of the Na'vi threat response.
- Throwing Off the Disability: A major part of his motivation is getting his legs back; however, he discovers that he prefers his Avatar body anyway...
- Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: With Neytiri in his human body.
- Took a Level in Badass: Jake takes about ten levels during the movie, going from poking Pandoran flora just for the hell of it to riding the moon's biggest aerial predator and taking out two huge gunships, almost single-handedly. It's possible that he is simply restoring his badass levels from his human life; he used to be a tough marine who served in Venezuela before his spinal injury left him wheelchair-bound.
- Training Montage: When Jake goes native and learns Na'vi customs the hard way.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Jake jumps off his Banshee, which has paired with him for life, to catch a bigger ride. His Banshee is never seen again for the remainder of the film. Made even more obvious by Neytiri's obvious distress at the death of her own Banshee later in the film. At the end, Jake narrates that the Toruk Makto is no longer needed, and indeed the Toruk is shown flying away. Jake probably "explained" the plan to his Banshee ("You're not gonna like this...") and they reunited after Toruk left.
- Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Quaritch thanks Jake for giving him a perfect excuse to blast the Na'vi and their tree to smithereens by saying that the humans don't have anything the Na'vi want and the Na'vi will never agree to leave Hometree. Naturally, Jake is not amused.
Dr. Grace Augustine
Played by: Sigourney WeaverAn exobiologist and head of the Avatar Program. She is also Sully's mentor and an advocate of peaceful relations with the Na'vi, having set up a school to teach them English.
- Cynical Mentor: Grace plays this part to Jake, then warms up to him.
- Deadpan Snarker: Not even being shot can stop her from snarking. "This is gonna ruin my whole day."
- Expy: Many viewers just can't help comparing Grace with Ellen Ripley, Trudy with Pvt. Vasquez (especially since the latter dies a heroic death) and Selfridge with Carter Burke, characters from one of Cameron's previous movies. This is frequently lampshaded by referencing the said film.
- Heel-Face Turn: Along with everyone else on the Avatar Project.
- Meaningful Name: A name like Grace Augustine is perfect for a merciful and caring character who is perceived as something close to a saint by the Na'vi.
- Must Have Nicotine: Her very first scene has her demanding a smoke. "Where's my goddamn cigarette?!"
- Not Good with People: Max even says that she has a better connection with plants than people.
- Oh, Crap: Grace almost literally does this when she learns Jake and Neytiri are mated.Oh, shit!
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Grace wrote the book (literally) on Pandoran botany, but she also appears to be a sociologist. And a xenolinguist. And a schoolteacher.
- Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: For a big name star, Sigourney Weaver gets no mention at all in at least some of the trailers.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot
- Sugar and Ice Personality: Grace, like Dr. Chiba, is considerably more comfortable—nay, downright joyful—as her Avatar alter-ego.
- You Monster!: Grace calls Selfridge one when Quaritch destroys Hometree.
Dr. Norm Spellman
Played By: Joel David MooreA xenoanthropologist who studies plant and animal life as part of the Avatar Program. He arrives on Pandora at the same time as Sully and operates an Avatar. Although he is expected to lead the diplomatic contact with the Na'vi, it turns out that Jake has the personality better suited to win the natives' respect.
- Badass Bookworm: After his Avatar body dies, with him in it, he just picks up a gun, and an exopack, and keeps kicking ass. He went through death once, and it didn't stop him.
- The Rival: Norm understandably feels this way at the beginning, when he, the Ph.D who's spent years studying Na'vi culture and the Avatar Program, gets showed up by the unschooled, last-minute replacement jarhead. Eventually, he puts the research above his own ego and assists Jake.
Played By: Michelle RodriguezA combat pilot assigned to support the Avatar Program who is sympathetic to the Na'vi.
- Expy: It doesn't help that Michelle Rodriguez has made a career out of playing characters like Vasquez.
- Going Native: Although possessing no Avatar of her own, Trudy becomes a Na'vi warrior in spirit when she dons their warpaint on herself AND her scorpion to take on Quaritch's dragon.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right: The reason she dies is her defection from burning the Hometree.
Played By: Giovanni RibisiThe corporate administrator for the RDA mining operation.
- Big Bad: He is the one in charge of the mining on Pandora.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: The only reason he didn't want to initially genocide the natives is he was afraid of a publicity backlash, though he is quite visibly disturbed by Hometree's destruction.
- Deadpan Snarker: "┐Comprende?"
- Expy: Of Carter J. Burke from Aliens, another James Cameron film. He is shown to be a somewhat better guy than Burke, however.
- Heel Realization: It is shown that he feels guilty about Hometree's destruction.
- Jerkass: Though slightly downplayed. He may only care about getting the minerals for money, but is still clearly reluctant about more extreme methods being used for it.
- Karma Houdini: His only punishment was being made to leave Pandora. To be fair, he did seem to regret everything he did.
- Meaningful Name: Selfridge = "selfish."
- Also probably a reference to retail tycoon Harry Selfridge.
- Mr. Exposition: Selfridge explains to Grace why they're on Pandora—the $20m/kg Unobtanium. Of course, Grace would already know this, yet she doesn't tell him to stop treating her like an imbecile. It's probably more of a sarcastic reminder that Unobtanium is the only reason Grace gets to do what she does, so she shouldn't neglect it. It's condescending, but still reasonable for someone to take such a tone in Real Life.
- My God, What Have I Done?: Not stated, but implied with a few instances of Parker feeling some slight guilt over the actions he's taken. Watching on a monitor, he's forced to look away at the bloodshed of the final battle and Grace and Jake get through to him enough that he allows them a final chance to negotiate peace before Hometree is destroyed.
- Non-Action Big Bad: He may be in charge but it wasn't his idea to destroy Hometree. Ultimately, Quaritch is the main antagonist.
- Obliviously Evil: Selfridge isn't actively malicious or evil; just frustrated and willfully blind.
- Office Golf: Selfridge does this, despite being on a moon where they probably don't make golf clubs. He probably did have it made on-world, given how insanely expensive interstellar travel is. Or alternatively, he is simply self-obsessed enough to have brought them there with him despite the cost.
- Smug Snake: Honestly, the guy seems completely oblivious (quite possibly willfully) to anything that doesn't have metaphorical dollar signs painted on it. To the greedy bastard's credit, his humanity finally bled through when Grace reminded him that Quaritch was going to kill babies if he didn't stop the bloodthirsty general, and showed genuine horror and sadness when Quaritch did, but was absolutely powerless to stop it from happening.
Col. Miles Quaritch
Played by: Stephen LangThe head of the RDA mining operation's security detail. Fiercely loyal to his military code, he has a profound disregard for Pandora's inhabitants that is evident in both his actions and his language.
- Affably Evil: He'll do everything in his power to keep the people under his charge alive and safe (and his men obviously adore him for that), and he seems to be a fairly nice -if strict- person to have around... as long as you're not a Na'vi or a sympathizer of theirs.
- Anti-Villain: Ultimately subverted. He initially comes off as a Reasonable Authority Figure, but is revealed to be (probably) the most ruthless character by the end of the film.
- Armies Are Evil: The SecOps troops are a private security detail retained by RDA, but many of the same aspects apply, and they are obviously meant to draw parallels with Blackwater (now Xe).
- Blood Knight: The good colonel seems to love combat as much as the Na'vi. For about the half of the movie, he keeps talking about going to war. You can feel the tension between Selfridge (who is going for a peaceful solution) and Quaritch (who very obviously resents being kept on a leash and is looking for an excuse for some good old violence).
- Colonel Badass: For very good reasons.
- Colonel Kilgore: Of course. It helps that the character was based off him. Right down to the casual coffee-drinking while leading an airstrike against Hometree.
- The Determinator: Quaritch never gives up, not even when he's on fire, lacks breathable air or when all the other soldiers have been killed and he's the last of them standing.
- Dissonant Serenity: During the attack on Hometree, while incendiary missiles are going off left and right and Na'vi are being slaughtered, Quaritch calmly observes the carnage from the flight deck of his gunship, enjoying a steaming cup of coffee.
- The Dragon: To Selfridge.
- Dragon Ascendant: Ultimately, he takes all of Selfridge's power over the mining and becomes the main antagonist.
- Dragon-in-Chief: Selfridge may be nominally in charge, but Quaritch is the biggest threat, and by the end of the movie, he's effectively calling all the shots on the human side—and it's clear they both know it.
- Evil Colonialist: More "violent warmonger" than "smug colonizer," but still.
- Evil Mentor: To Jake.
- Fantastic Racism: Fantastic Institutional Racism, as he is being paid to lead a private military force against a whole species of war-like aliens.
- A Father to His Men: Zigzagged. He's seen as genuinely caring for his men right from the get-go with an impassioned speech of "It's my job to keep you alive...I will not succeed" with genuine remorse. He's also sincere in his offer to get Jake's legs fixed and is respectful of his men, cautioning them, congratulating them and never resorting to using them as throwaway pawns. Of course, besides sentimental reasons, he has very practical reasons for this as well: he's not getting any reinforcements for several years to come. Every soldier lost is gone for good. Having good relations with your men in such situation means a difference between life and death.
- Subverted in that, when informed most of his men have been killed or are retreating, he reacts with annoyance rather than being upset.
- Fearsome Foot: The first scene of the Colonel is an establishing shot of his combat boots striding purposefully towards the main window of Hell's Kitchen (Hell's Gate's main cafeteria/briefing area) as he addresses the new recruits.
- Good Scars, Evil Scars: He has evil scars on his head.
- Incendiary Exponent: Quaritch climbing into his AMP suit inside of the crashing Dragon gunship with everything on fire. Including his shoulder.
- It's Raining Men: Bails out of a burning gunship while inside an AMP suit that has no parachute, landing thrusters or shock absorbers, yet lands on its feet none the worse for wear.
- Knife Nut: He keeps a AMP suit sized combat knife in a quick draw position on his AMP suit as a backup weapon. Pandorapedia states this is an optional feature, as well as having shades of Awesome but Impractical/Rule of Cool about its design in-universe.
- Large Ham: A bit. It's Stephen Lang, so it's not unheard of.
- Made of Iron: Survives being set on fire and dropping out of a burning gunship to land feet-first in his AMP suit.
- Kingpin in His Gym: Col. Quaritch's second scene has him lifting weights, commenting on the fact he needs to keep his muscles in top condition in Pandora's low gravity.
- Not Quite Dead: According to James Cameron, Quaritch will appear alive in the other movies in the tetralogy.
- Pre-Asskicking One-Liner:Quaritch: Nothin's over while I'm still breathing.
Jake: I hoped you were going to say that.
- "Come on, come to papa!" Said before stabbing Neytiri's attacking Thanator to death with his AMP suit's machete.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: His sidearm of choice.
- Rugged Scar: Has three scars on his head. Presumably it's a claw wound of some sort, most likely from a viperwolf. He got it on his first day outdoors.
- Slasher Smile: Makes one late in the film, when he's in his AMP suit and about to attack Jake's Avatar link unit.
- Unflinching Walk: When Quaritch jumps out of the Dragon Gunship before it explodes. It lands, burning behind his AMP, and he takes a second to look at it before walking off.
Played By: Matt Gerald
- Action Girl: Pretty much every female Na'vi except Mo'at (who may have been one in her younger years).
- Aliens Speaking English: Justified, since the younger Omatikaya learned English at Grace's school; also, the Avatar drivers have studied, or are studying, Na'vi.
- All Genes Are Codominant: The Avatars look mostly like the Na'vi, but have five-fingered hands and smaller eyes like humans. Grace has a human-style nose and possibly smaller ears (hard to get a clear sighting), presumably as she was one of the first successful Avatars created. Also, male Na'vi have hard ridges at the base of their sternum in the middle of their chests, while Jake retains his human-shaped chest in his Avatar form. They may have just started with Na'vi genes and done the minimum amount of tinkering needed to make them into something that a human would feel comfortable in. That would mean five fingers and eyes similar enough to normal human ones that a human could process the input from them.
- Bishie Sparkle: The Na'vi have bioluminescent 'sparkles' on their body (see the picture of Neytiri for the example).
- Brain Uploading: Personalities of Na'vi, and humans, can be uploaded into the lunar consciousness from within the sacred groves. Downloading into a new body is also possible, but we don't know how common. Large numbers of other Na'vi chant during the upload ceremony, although this seems no more necessary than, say, chanting while backing up your iPod. Unless all of the chanting Na'vi that are noticeably linked into the local network are acting as parallel-processing units and local storage. While the global network is big, it's also spread out over the entire moon; having the wetware locally available to act as buffer storage and additional processing during an upload would be pretty handy—especially if you're doing a transfer.
- Con Lang: Cameron hired an USC linguist to invent the Na'vi language, then let the actors endure boot camps and line-by-line rehearsals over and over again to learn to speak it flawlessly.
- Death Course: The Na'vi education system as experienced by Jake includes a lot of running and jumping in absurdly high places without safety nets or harnesses.
- Death Glare: Jake gets a nice long one from almost everyone in the Omaticaya during his first night at Hometree.
- Doomed Hometown: Hometree is destroyed by Quaritch.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The Na'vi and Native Americans, at least the Theme Park Version of them.
- Friend to All Living Things: The Na'vi to the flora and fauna of Pandora. They are even able to neural link with them. Doesn't stop some of the flora and fauna from trying to kill them—nor does it stop them from killing said flora/fauna. They just apologize to it afterwards.
- Goal-Oriented Evolution: The Na'vi are "more evolutionarily advanced" than humans (according to tie-in media), implying that evolutionary processes have 'levels' rather than just...results. Could also be taken to describe the level of integration with their surroundings (even if this wasn't intended, it still seems to hold). However it happened, they did evolve the ability to link into wildlife like Neo plugs into the Matrix, so one could argue an extreme amount of adaptation to their environment could qualify.
- Good Eyes, Evil Eyes: The Na'vi, being the epitome of good, naturally have enormous eyes.
- Half-Human Hybrid: The Avatars are specially built to be a hybrid of Na'vi and an individual human's DNA.
- Humanoid Aliens: In a meticulously designed alien ecosystem full of truly bizarre creatures (for example, giant six-legged blue horses who drink plant nectar), the Na'vi are strongly humanoid, despite their otherwise Bizarre Alien Biology.
- Humans Are Cthulhu:
- The simple mining operation on Pandora has brought in a whole range of sanity- and reality-shattering stuff to the moon's inhabitants—swathes of land transformed overnight into burning, barren wastes, hovering monstrosities capable of deafening the ears and engulfing whole settlements in fire and choking fog, a city (itself an otherworldly concept) of unnatural spires and Alien Geometries, line-of-sight weaponry that can spit instant death and, last but not least, Half-Na'vi Hybrids serving as vessels for these supernatural beings' spirits.
- Which lends itself to Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu? (or more accurately, Summon Bigger Fish) for the film's climax.
- For an added kick, the guy responsible for the Avatar Program is a Mad Scientist by the name of Dr. Lovecraft, who initially called his brainchild the "Dark Dreamer" project.
- Humans Through Alien Eyes: We humans are the aliens to the Na'vi, and we don't seem to come in peace. Rest assured, they do fight back.
- Innocent Fanservice Girl: Almost every Na'vi is very scantily clad and completely comfortable this way. A notable exception is Mo'at.
- Made of Iron: The Na'vi have bones of carbon-fiber.
- Magic Skirt: The Na'vi tend to wear nothing but a skimpy loincloth. There are improbably few wardrobe malfunctions.
- Noble Savage: Played straight, but justifiable as it is not Jake's status as a human (or Half-Human Hybrid) that makes him "special" but rather, his different cultural background allows him to view things from a different perspective.
- Non-Mammal Mammaries: The original Na'vi concept art envisioned a reptilian-like species; at this point, James Cameron said "Right from the beginning I said, 'She's got to have tits,' even though that makes no sense because her race, the Na'vi, aren't placental mammals." However, averted in that the final design of the Na'vi are mammalian, unlike the early concept art◊.
- Nubile Savage: Only Jake ever gets dirty, and only because he's inexperienced. Every Na'vi has perfect teeth and skin.
- Only Six Faces: Definitely averted. There are CG cartoons that can't seem to avert having most background characters or stars with extremely similar features, but most of the Na'vi all look as different as humans would. Except they're all blue. This is probably because the Na'vi, while CGI, are based on actual actors, particularly in that the Avatars look particularly like their human counterparts.
- Serkis Folk: Every Na'vi and Avatar to appear onscreen.
- Thong of Shielding: The loincloths basically don't cover their rears at all. Of course, since we see Jake's butt completely unobstructed when it's hanging out of his hospital gown, I guess Na'vi butts just don't count.
- Translation Convention: Averted. When Na'vi are talking among themselves, even ones who speak acceptable English, they speak in Na'vi (and we don't always get subtitles, only for critically important lines, although all the Na'vi lines are understandable to a speaker of the language). When Jake is speaking to the elders and to other clans, and it's really, really important, he asks Tsu'tey to translate for him.
- Unusual User Interface: The Na'vi's tool of communicating with the creatures and the Tree works like a tentacle-y USB.
- You No Take Candle: The Na'vi (especially Neytiri) speak accented and broken English when addressing Jake at the start of the movie.
Played by: Zoe SaldanaThe daughter of the leader of the Omaticaya (the Na'vi clan central to the story). She is attracted to Jake because of his bravery, though frustrated with him for what she sees as his naivetÚ and stupidity.
- Action Girl: A self-sufficient badass and capable fighter.
- The Chief's Daughter: The romance of Jake and Neytiri follows the classic Chief's Daughter trope, complete with Jealous Betrothed Warrior Prince. Jake even calls her this at one point, word for word.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: She acts quite hostile towards Jake at first, but she softens up to him once they get to know each other better, and eventually she falls in love with him.
- Green-Skinned Space Babe: Or blue-skinned as the case may be. The Hero falls for her, of course.
- Interspecies Romance: With Jake, a human.
- Magic Skirt: Averted in that Neytiri's nipples are clearly visible in many scenes.
- Proud Warrior Race Girl: Neytiri, like all the Na'vi, is extremely proud of her culture and takes great offense when people don't understand it.
- Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: With Jake in his human body. His head fits quite easily into the palm of her hand.
- Tsundere: For Jake.
- Vapor Wear: Neytiri's "top" is basically an extra-large necklace made of string and some beads.
- Violently Protective Girlfriend: When Tsu'tey is about to kill Jake, Neytiri attacks him and crouches protectively over the latter while snarling.
- She does the same thing after shooting Quaritch.
Played By: Laz AlonsoThe finest warrior of the Omaticaya. He is heir to the chieftainship of the tribe. At the beginning of the film's story, he is betrothed to Neytiri.
- Arranged Marriage: Or betrothal, anyway, to Neytiri.
- Badass: Tsu'tey is the tribe's fiercest and most dangerous warrior, save for Neytiri.
- Character Death
- The Native Rival: He's well-respected among his people, is heir to the chieftainship and a marriage has been arranged to the chief's daughter. When Jake comes along, Tsu'tey instantly pegs him as someone he needs to take down.
- The Rival: He strongly dislikes Jake, and is his main enemy among the Na'vi. Tsu'tey is the Na'vi that takes the longest to come around to liking Jake. Considering the entire reason Jake is there, you can't really blame him. And Jake mated with his girl.