In an article from the March 2023 issue of Empire, producer Jon Landau talks about how Spider gets the movie’s one allowed F-bomb because the character’s impulsive choice to play rescuer to a complicated father figure meets the impact of the word:
“Spider has never really had a family and he’s been searching for that. In Quaritch 2.0, he can’t help but see a father he never knew, a kindred spirit. When Spider saves him, it was not an easy decision. He’s really torn inside so we used the one F-word we’re allowed.”
The climax of “The Way of Water” is a staggering achievement that further proves that James Cameron can pull off an action sequence like no one’s business. A lot happens though, so when Spider is forced to make the crucial decision to save Quaritch, there’s really no better thing to say. He spends most of the film being tossed back and forth, as he’s not quite human enough to be accepted by the RDA (besides as a pawn), nor is he recognized as a true Na’vi. The internal dilemma prompts him to trust the wrong people, but there are glimmers that he may have actually gotten through to Quaritch in some way or another.
Whether Quaritch takes his expletive-adjacent rescue to heart or not, the ending shows an already strained father-son dynamic that’s only going to be tested further in upcoming installments. Jake may have officially adopted Spider into the Sully family, but I’ll be damned if Neytiri (Zoë Saldaña) is over Spider’s betrayal by a long shot. He’s right to be afraid of her.
“Avatar: The Way of Water” is now playing in theaters nationwide.