Avatar: The Way of Water, the long-awaited follow-up to the 2009 film Avatar, was released in cinemas earlier this month.
Cameron has repeatedly stated that he intends to make another three films in the franchise (though he may not direct the fourth and fifth entries).
Minor spoilers follow for Avatar: The Way of Water – you have been warned!
The Way of Water brought back many of the actors from the original Avatar, including some of those whose characters had been killed off.
Sigourney Weaver played the scientist Dr Grace Augustine in Avatar, who died after being shot by Colonel Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang). In the sequel, Weaver plays Kiri, a Na’vi teenager born from Dr Augustine’s avatar body.
Lang, meanwhile, also appears in The Way of Water despite being killed off during Avatar’s climactic battle. He plays a Recombinant, an artificial body that has had Quaritch’s mind and emotions uploaded into it.
Recombinants did not feature in the first Avatar film – but their introduction in The Way of Water has teased an intriguing plot development for future instalments.
The first Avatar began with Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) speaking about his twin brother’s death: it is only because of this that Jake travels to Pandora in the first place, to make use of his brother’s expensive avatar body.
However, the existence of Recombinants raises the possibility that Jake’s brother could return at some point, having been revived through the same technology that “brought back” Quaritch.
YouTuber Heavy Spoilers was among those to posit this theory, suggesting in a video: “I think the Recombinant angle adds a lot of avenues to the movie, and I’d love it if we have a twist where it turned out that his brother was still alive.
“His body was cremated, but if his mind was duplicated, there is the potential that they could bring him back. Him being a twin as well, Jake looking at him in his avatar would add an extra dimension to all of their interactions. Jake would pretty much be faced with the way he used to look. And his brother would represent the past that he left behind.”
Others also shared similar theories on social media, with one Twitter user writing: “You know who they could have a backup of… Jake’s identical twin brother that he was replacing in the first movie.”
“I thought about this too,” someone else replied. “It would be interesting to have Tom come into play somehow... like there’s some really interesting stuff to explore in the fact that Jake isn’t even inhabiting his own avatar, it’s his brother’s avatar.”
Since being released in cinemas, The Way of Water has stormed its way past the $1bn mark in box office earnings – but shockingly, that’s still no guarantee that the film will break even.
The Way of Water has drawn mixed reviews from critics – including a three-star write-up from The Independent’s Clarisse Loughrey.
Some viewers have complained about a plot hole in the film’s third act, while certain indigenous activists have called for a boycott of the film over its cultural appropriation.
Avatar: The Way of Water is out in cinemas now.