Avatar: The Way of Water ending explained: what happens in Avatar 2 ending?

Stephen Lang in Avatar: The Way of Water
Stephen Lang in Avatar: The Way of Water (Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

With a three-hour plus runtime, Avatar: The Way of Water covers a lot of ground, returning moviegoers to the world of Pandora and introducing the new characters (and re-introducing old ones) that make up the Avatar 2 cast. So by the time you leave the movie theater, you may have a few questions about the Avatar: The Way of Water ending. If that's the case, we're here to break it down for you.

Avatar: The Way of Water offers viewers a quick summation of what has happened since the last movie, most notably that Jake (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) have started a family of four with their children Neteyam (Jamie Flatters), Lo’ak (Britain Dalton), Tuk (Trinity Jo-Li Bliss) and their adopted daughter Kiri (Sigourney Weaver). The main story picks up more than a decade later, as the humans have returned to Pandora to once again try to conquer it.

Jake and Neytiri lead their clan in raids against the human invaders, but that soon makes them enemy No. 1. To stop them, the humans deploy an avatar that has been uploaded with the memory and personality of the first movie's villain, Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang). When Quaritch and his team first encounter the Sullys, it forces them to go on the run and seek refuge with the Na'vi ocean clan, the Metkayina. The Sullys are allowed to stay and are taught the ways of the Metkayina, though some have reservations and the kids, particularly, get picked on. 

But Quaritch continues to track them down, using the help of a human teenager, Spider (Jack Champion), who grew up on Pandora and with the Sully children because he was too young for space travel when the humans left. Spider also just so happens to be the son of Quaritch; making the relationship between Spider and the avatar version of the dad he never knew a complicated one.

Quaritch eventually teams up with a team of poachers who hunt tulkun (Pandora's version of whales) to track down the Sullys. He eventually does, kidnapping some of the Sully kids, leading to the climactic battle sequence.

How does Avatar 2 end?

Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) in Avatar: The Way of Water

Sam Worthington in Avatar: The Way of Water (Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

The fight between the Sullys and Quaritch takes place on the water, with a tulkun that has bonded with Lo'ak helping them to level the playing field. The Na'vi are able to damage the ship, causing it to starts to sink. Jake is able to get on the ship to rescue the kids. However, as they are trying to make their escape, Neteyam is shot and dies, while Kiri and Tuk are recaptured. Jake and Neytiri are forced to put their grief aside and face Quaritch to rescue their kids.

On the sinking ship, Jake and Quaritch fight, with Jake appearing to have the edge. But Quaritch grabs one of the Sully kids and threatens to kill them if Jake doesn't surrender. Neytiri, however, has gotten a hold of Spider and threatens to kill him. Despite some posturing, Quaritch gives up the Sully kids in exchange for Spider. As Jake and Neytiri attempt to leave, Quaritch goads Jake into one more fight.

As that is going on, the ship continues to sink and Neytiri and Tuk get trapped, with water rising around them. Jake is able to defeat Quaritch, leaving him to drown. However, he is wounded and also is in danger of going down with the ship. But Kiri, using her connection to Ewya to find and guide Neytiri and Tuk out, and Lo'ak, using what he was taught by the Metkayina, are able to save them.

Quaritch also survives, because Spider could not let his father figure drown. However, when Quaritch tells him to come with him so they can regroup and continue to hunt the Sullys, Spider abandons him and rejoins with the Sullys.

The Sullys believe that they need to go on the run again, but the Metkayina leaders tell them they are one of their people now, allowing them to stay.

Does Avatar 2 have an end-credits scene?

After the three-hour epic that is the main story of Avatar: The Way of Water, do you need to stick around for an end-credits scene? 

Nope.

Though many of us have been conditioned by Marvel to stick around to the very end of the credits for potential teasers and Easter eggs, there isn't anything additional scene tagged on mid or post-credits in the Avatar sequel. However, the first round of credits do feature some more gorgeous underwater imagery and, if you're so inclined, it is nice to take a few minutes to recognize the hundreds (if not thousands) of people who worked to bring this movie to audiences.

Avatar: The Way of Water is now playing exclusively in movie theaters.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd (opens in new tab).