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Way of Water Integrated Spider Into Digital Pandora Environment

Cinematographer Russell Carpenter discusses the challenges of filming a live-action character like Spider on the set of Avatar: The Way of Water.


Avatar: The Way of Water cinematographer Russell Carpenter talks about the challenges of integrating the live-action Spider into Pandora’s digital environment. 13 years after director James Cameron’s original smash hit, Avatar: The Way of Water reintroduces audiences to the world of Pandora and continues the story of Jake (Sam Worthington), Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña), and their new family. In addition to bringing back some familiar faces, Cameron’s sequel also introduces a handful of new characters, including Neteyam (Jamie Flatters), Lo’ak (Britain Dalton), Tsireya (Bailey Bass), and Spider (Jack Champion). Spider, a human, is the son of original Avatar villain Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang), who returns in the sequel as a Na’vi.

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Although most of the central characters in Avatar: The Way of Water are 10-foot-tall Na’vi, Spider is a normal-sized, human teenager, which Carpenter said posed a number of challenges on set. In a recent interview with IndieWire, the cinematographer talks about how audiences’ immersion would have been ruined if his lighting of the live-action character didn’t match exactly with the lighting that would later be baked into the virtual environment of Pandora. Check out Carpenter’s full comment below:

“My mantra was, ‘Russell, you’ve got one job: to make Spider inhabit this virtual world, and to do that while the camera is moving like crazy.’ Your lighting has to be right on the money, because we all know what sunlight looks like, or what shade in a forest looks like, and if you deviate from that and get something wrong, like your contrast or have the light not quite coming from where it should be, you get into trouble pretty fast. The illusion that Spider is right there next to a Na’vi person starts to fall apart.”

Related: Will Spider Become A Na’vi In Avatar 3?


Why Spider Could Be Crucial To Future Avatar Movies

Avatar 2 spider Colonel Quaritch son

Although Avatar: The Way of Water has only just come out, work is already well underway on 3 additional sequels. A third movie was always a guarantee since it was filmed back-to-back with the second, but Avatar: The Way of Water‘s impressive box office performance has now essentially solidified that the fourth and fifth films will move forward as well. Story details for these upcoming sequels remain scarce, but Cameron’s most recent entry in the franchise hints that Champion’s Spider could be a crucial character moving forward. Quaritch remains a violent and ruthless villain in Avatar: The Way of Water, but Spider brings out a more human side of the character.

Even though the Na’vi version of Quaritch is not technically Spider’s father, he has all the memories of the deceased human Quaritch, who was. The first suggestion that perhaps Quaritch genuinely cares for Spider is when he puts an end to General Ardmore’s (Edie Falco) torture of the boy. Although their relationship remains contentious at best throughout the film, the action-packed climax of Avatar: The Way of Water features Spider saving Quaritch from drowning before then swimming back to be with Jake, Neytiri, and the others. This not only confirms that Quaritch will be returning in future Avatar sequels, but that Spider could be the key to eventually turning him against the human invaders.

It remains to be seen how Spider and Quaritch’s dynamic will continue to play out in the upcoming Avatar sequels, but there is clearly more story to tell. In contrast with the essentially unredeemable version of Qauritch that appeared in the original movie, Spider’s inclusion in the sequel now makes Lang’s character a much more complex and interesting antagonist for Jake to face off against. With Avatar: The Way of Water still in theaters, it will unfortunately still be a couple of years before fans get to see how Spider evolves in the third movie.

More: Avatar 2 Already Told You 1 Character Is Doomed In A Sequel

Source: IndieWire

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