Avatar 2 trailer Navi standing speaking to each other at beach


Jake Sully from ‘Avatar’ is officially a TikTok thirst trap DILF

TikTok is full of horny Na'vi edits. In retrospect, this feels inevitable.


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Posted on Jan 4, 2023

TikTok is hot for Avatar‘s blue-skinned alien Na’vi, and honestly we really should’ve seen this coming.

In 2009, Avatar stans had a rather goofy reputation. But in the TikTok era, it feels a lot more predictable for Jake Sully to inspire a flood of extremely popular thirst trap edits, freely embraced as a fantasy sex symbol.

Public opinion has shifted on the social acceptability of being horny for aliens and/or monsters, and the Na’vi now present a normie alternative to the edgier fare we see on Tumblr. Modeled off conventionally attractive human actors, the Na’vi may be aliens, but they avoid the frisson of danger and genuine inhumanness presented by, say, Venom or Garrus from Mass Effect. This happy medium explains why TikToks like this are currently racking up millions of views:

@avalie_ him #jakesully #avatar ♬ captain save a ho3 by e40 – dany
@r6mvfx Like father like son 🤭#jakesully #loak #avatar #avatarthewayofwater #avater2 #jakesullyedit #loakedit #edit #editor #hot #vsp #videostar #viral #blowup #trend #trending #newtrend #r6mvfx ♬ original sound – 🕷️
@hanansvoid I want your daddy too #avatar #jakesully #fyp #jakesullyedit #hanansvoid #avatar2 ♬ original sound – hanansvoid

In a way, this audience response is great news for The Way of Water. While the first movie sold zillions of tickets, its lack of cultural impact became a meme: Can you even name the main characters? By contrast, The Way of Water has successfully made people care about Jake and Neytiri. Specifically, the fact that they’re hot and tall. Very, very tall:

@island3vil just a peek my jake 😫 #avatar #avatarthewayofwater #jakesully ♬ original sound – Avatar
@kierverse Reclaiming my avatar throne #avatar #jakesully #neytiri ♬ have of yall not even big chile – 🆘

Of course, none of this happened by accident. While Tumblr’s inhuman sex symbols often focus on characters who aren’t intentionally sexualized, James Cameron was pretty up-front about his vision for the Na’vi. Along with conforming to mainstream beauty standards —i.e. tall, slim, muscular, and symmetrical—their costumes are purposefully engineered to skirt the boundaries of a PG-13 rating.

Speaking to Playboy in 2009, Cameron celebrated the role of Neytiri as a sexualized fantasy character aimed at men, focusing particularly on her CGI boobs. “Right from the beginning I said, ‘She’s got to have tits,'” he explained poetically, “even though that makes no sense because her race, the Na’vi, aren’t placental mammals.”

@truemarieclaire The brothers and a water baddie #neteyam #neteyamavatar #avatar #avatarthewayofwater #navi #fyp ♬ under the influence – h

Most of the Na’vi wear nothing but a loincloth and accessories, which presents a logistical problem because you’re not allowed to show women’s nipples in a PG-13 blockbuster. Cameron said that in order to keep the female characters topless, he asked the animation team to hide their nipples with necklaces that use a “physics-based sim” to cover the right areas. “I came up with this free-floating, lion’s-mane-like array of feathers, and we strategically lit and angled shots to not draw attention to her breasts, but they’re right there.” Make of that what you will.

After James Cameron went to all this trouble to sexualize the female characters, it’s (probably?) progress of some sort to see Jake Sully earn a similar reaction from Gen-Z TikTokers. Congrats to Sam Worthington on his newfound status as a CGI DILF.

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*First Published: Jan 4, 2023, 11:56 am CST