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Avatar: How the Na’vi Bond With Pandora’s Wildlife

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In Avatar, the Na’vi bond with Pandora’s wildlife via Tsaheylu and the linking of neural queues, a process inspired by real-life science.

In James Cameron’s Avatar, the bond between the Na’vi and the wildlife of Pandora is one of the movie’s most fascinating themes, but how the Na’vi form these bonds is even more interesting. Avatar has been hailed for its groundbreaking visual effects. However, thanks to good old-fashioned storytelling, it’s the movie’s lore that seems to have made the longest-lasting impression. From how his creations worship to how they structure their society, to how they eat, sleep, and mate, James Cameron leaves no stone unturned in his efforts to bring the Na’vi to life. So while some have criticized James Cameron for being unoriginal, calling Avatar a ripoff of movies like Princess Mononoke, it’s hard to fault the filmmaker when it comes to world-building. Perhaps the most illuminating of all Avatar’s world-building details, though, is the Na’vis’ relationship with nature.

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On Pandora, everything in nature is connected. The Na’vi worship this connection as a personified deity called Eywa, but it’s more than just a matter of religious faith. Eywa represents a real neural network connecting all the plant and animal life of Pandora. The network forms a collective consciousness the Na’vi and Pandora’s wildlife can tap into via “Tsaheylu,” a process involving specialized appendages called neural queues, which all Pandora’s lifeforms possess. The neural queues of Avatar‘s Na’vi are sheathed in a ponytail, a detail the forthcoming Avatar 2 will explore further. As well as the collective consciousness, the Na’vi can connect one-on-one with animals, letting them think, feel, and communicate with the animal. This includes mounts like the direhorse and mountain banshee which, under the direct control of their riders, become formidable hunting companions.


This one-on-one Tsaheylu, performed by intertwining their neural queues with those of other living things, is how the Na’vi form lifelong bonds with the wildlife of Pandora. In fact, the Na’vi word “Tsaheylu” translates to “bond.” The act features in several of Avatar‘s most memorable sequences, like when Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) first rides a direhorse, and when he catches a mountain banshee, an important rite of passage for the Omaticaya clan of Pandora’s Na’vi. In these and other scenes, the neural queue can be seen in action, its tendrils reaching out and interlocking with the animal’s tendrils like two hands clasping. It’s an out-there concept, even by sci-fi standards, but it has some real-life scientific corollaries.


How Na’vi Tsaheylu Has Real Science Behind It

On Pandora, all plant life is connected by Eywa and acts as a repository for biological memory. Here on Earth, trees communicate with one another via vast systems of fungal mycelia called mycorrhizal networks. Some of the chemicals used to transmit communications, such as the distress chemical glutamate, can be found in plants, animals, and people, perhaps setting a precedent for how the plants, people, and creatures in Avatar might be able to communicate. The exact mechanism for how they might transmit these signals gets a bit more complicated, but it, too, has a basis in science.

It’s no accident that the neural queue (or whip) resembles a neural axon, the whip-like, tendril-tipped projection with which nerve cells (neurons) send and receive chemical messages via neurotransmitters, perhaps suggesting that every living thing on Pandora is an individual nerve cell in the greater hivemind. However, most individual neurons only transmit one type of neurotransmitter, while complex thoughts, feelings, and motor commands (like those shared between the Na’vi avatar of Jake Sully and his mountain banshee in Avatar) require whole cocktails of neurotransmitters. Thus, a more in-depth explanation of how the Na’vi bond with the wildlife of Pandora requires some speculation.


Maybe the neural queues are less analogous to axons than to nerves, which are bundles of neurons, and each tendril is its own neuron. True mind-melding, though, would presumably involve billions of neurons, and thus billions of tendrils, while the neural queues portrayed in Avatar have hundreds at most. So, continuing with this line of thinking, maybe each tendril in a Na’vi’s queue is a nerve with its own bundle of neurons. In any case, by grounding Avatar in science, James Cameron has given audiences plenty to think about.


  • Avatar 2 (2022)Release date: Dec 16, 2022
  • Avatar 3 (2024)Release date: Dec 20, 2024
  • Avatar 4 (2026)Release date: Dec 18, 2026
  • Avatar 5 (2028)Release date: Dec 22, 2028




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Star Wars Throwback Pic Shows Palpatine Actor With a Jedi Mickey Mouse

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In celebration of Ian McDiarmid’s birthday, Revenge of the Sith star Amy Allen shares a throwback photo of the Star Wars actor alongside a Force-sensitive Mickey Mouse. McDiarmid first appeared as the evil Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious in 1983’s Return of the Jedi (before being added to the 2004 DVD release of The Empire Strikes Back). In the original trilogy, the Emperor rules the Galactic Empire as his apprentice, Darth Vader, and the stormtroopers enforce order. George Lucas’ Star Wars prequels unveiled his past as the charismatic politician Sheev Palpatine, who operated as a Sith Lord in secret.

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In Episode I – The Phantom Menace, Palpatine is presented as an altruistic and rational Galactic Senator from the planet Naboo—who’s actually behind the Trade Federation’s blockade and invasion of Naboo. This duplicity continues throughout the prequels as he orchestrates the Clone Wars, lures Anakin Skywalker to the dark side, and executes Order 66, extinguishing the Jedi Order and the Galactic Republic. It’s in Return of the Jedi that Luke Skywalker redeems his father, who then seemingly puts an end to the Emperor and his Empire. Nearly four decades after McDiarmid’s Star Wars debut, he’s one of the most recognizable cinematic villains of all time.


Allen, who played Jedi Aayla Secura in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, recently took to Instagram to wish McDiarmid a happy 78th birthday. In the post, she thanks the actor for “being the nicest Emperor” while showing photos of him at Walt Disney World’s last annual Star Wars Weekends in 2015. Check it out below:

The image of McDiarmid alongside a robed Mickey Mouse is somewhat symbolic of the House of Mouse bringing Star Wars back to vibrant life. Following Disney’s $4 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm in 2012, the sequel trilogy continued the stories of Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Leia Organa, and even Palpatine. Piggybacking off of his Revenge of the Sith monologue about Darth Plagueis and cheating death, 2019’s The Rise of Skywalker reveals the Emperor was behind the First Order, cementing himself as the Skywalker saga’s overarching villain before being defeated by his granddaughter, Rey.


Although Disney’s Star Wars sequels have proven divisive, the franchise and its beloved characters have found new life on Disney+ with The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, and Obi-Wan Kenobi (not to mention the animated shows). For the latter’s season 1 finale, McDiarmid reprised his Palpatine role once again as a hologram telling Darth Vader to let his former master go. While the Emperor likely won’t appear in future movies, he could appear in the Disney+ show Andor, which takes place during his reign. Even if he doesn’t, the Emperor’s presence will always be felt, whether it is through The Mandalorian showing Imperial forces scrambling to assemble Palpatine’s clones or by fans remembering their time with McDiarmid at Disney World.


Source: The Official Aayla Secura/Instagram

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Dwayne Johnson Describes Black Adam’s Brutality In Gruesome Detail

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Dwayne Johnson, producer and star of Black Adam, teases how the titular character’s unforgiving nature contrasts with fellow DCEU heroes.

Dwayne Johnson teases the extent of Black Adam’s brutality as he prepares to make his debut in the DC Extended Universe. The titular villain-turned-antihero’s debut is almost a decade in the making, with 2018’s Shazam! putting the hero’s nemesis on the backburner for a few years. Black Adam is set to reunite Jungle Cruise filmmaker Jaume Collet-Sera, who is directing the project, with Johnson serving as producer.

Once a slave from Kahndaq, Black Adam will follow the merciless killer as he re-enters society after being jailed for over 5,000 years. Though he previously abused his powers granted to him by Shazam, Black Adam is now on the Justice Society of America’s radar, as they attempt to reform his abilities for the betterment of society. The JSA will star Noah Centineo as Atom Smasher, Quintessa Swindell as Cyclone, and Pierce Brosnan as Doctor Fate. Now, Johnson is opening up about Black Adam’s unforgiving and brutal nature, clearly in stark contrast to the typical DC hero.

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During an interview with Variety, Johnson teases just how far Black Adam will go in achieving his goals. Johnson reveals that Black Adam refuses to hold back, even at the price of causing a gory scene. Although he may be helping the greater good, he will stop at nothing, even if it means killing someone. Check out Johnson’s full explanation of Black Adam’s temperament below:

“Superman won’t kill anybody. There’s a code that he lives by and he honors,” Johnson says. “Black Adam has a unique code of ethics too. He will not hesitate—and I like to have a little fun when I’m explaining this—to rip somebody in half.” Does that mean the actor is…kidding? “Literally, he’ll grab someone by the neck and by the thigh and then rip them up, tear them apart,” Johnson clarifies.

While it’s unclear whether his powers will ultimately be used for good, the film’s trailers point to a more reformed, tamed Black Adam, yet still merciless towards his victims. Previously, Johnson has hinted the origin story presented in Black Adam will justify the anti-hero’s actions, highlighting the loss of his family in drastically changing his mindset. Understanding that he will do anything in his power to protect his family, including ripping someone in half, suggests that throughout the film his character arc will turn him away from the dark side.

If this is just how brutal Black Adam can be, then the JSA has a lot of work ahead of them with reigning him in. The highly-anticipated JSA will see each character possessing their own set of powers, which will hopefully be enough to tame Black Adam in defeating the evil in Sabaac. As excitement builds for Black Adam, it’s clear that the antihero’s debut will majorly shake up the DCEU, as he is preparing to be a force to be reckoned with.

Source: Variety

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Ghost Of Tsushima Movie Influences Explained By Chad Stahelski

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Chad Stahelski, director of the popular video game Ghost of Tsushima’s upcoming film adaptation, describes the inspiration behind the movie.

John Wick director Chad Stahelski details the main influences for his latest endeavor, the film adaptation of the popular video game Ghost of Tsushima. The Sony Playstation game, developed by Sucker Punch Productions, made history when it became the fastest-selling original Sony game in Playstation history. The game follows samurai warrior Jin Sakai, the sole survivor of a Mongol army attack on his clan. Set in 1274, Jin’s journey leads him to pursue vengeance and free the island of Tsushima. A film adaptation was announced in March 2021, with director Chad Stahelski and writer Takashi Doscher on board.

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Video game adaptations can be a touchy subject for fans, and Ghost of Tsushima has some big shoes to fill. The game was a major hit, with audiences and critics alike raving about the story, visuals, and gameplay. With a slew of awards under its belt, Ghost of Tsushima is an intimidating project for any director to take on. This is especially true considering the criticisms often faced by video game films, which come with passionate built-in audiences with high hopes to see their beloved stories done right. However, Stahelski is an accomplished director with the perfect background for the martial arts action required by Ghost of Tsushima‘s story. In addition, he has noted his enthusiasm for creating a faithful adaptation that honors the source material.


In a recent interview with Collider, Stahelski discussed his desire to film the movie in Japanese and bring in a Japanese cast. He also described some of his influences going into the project. See what he had to say below:

“Honestly, it’s probably the same things that would scare the sh*t out of most people. It’s a fantasy period piece. It’s done with reverence to Akira Kurosawa, who’s probably in the top five biggest influences of my life as far as film goes. It’s a chance to push technology and people in a story that’s timeless. It’s your typical mythological story of good versus evil, finding a man, watching him change the world or the world changes him. It’s all the Joseph Campbell stuff that you’d love in a story. You put that in with, obviously, so I’m told I have a bit of a Samurai fetish, which is probably true from Manga and anime and stuff.”

Stahelski’s previous comments about the Ghost of Tsushima movie have already built high expectations around the film. His most recent words on the subject go even further, promising exactly the sort of culturally rich, character-driven fantasy epic fans of the video games are hoping for. The reference to Akira Kurosawa also bodes well for Stahelski’s intentions to stay true to the video game’s samurai genre roots. All in all, the director’s encouraging comments tease an exceptional production that combines the westernized format of the hero’s journey with plenty of Japanese influence on a story and filmmaking level.


Ghost of Tsushima is the latest in a renaissance of video game to screen adaptations, including the Ruben Fleischer-directed Uncharted and HBO’s The Last of Us series. Despite the curse that seems to befall many video game adaptations, many are eager to see Stahelski’s rendition of the beloved story. Little else is known about the Ghost of Tsushima film for now, and a release date has yet to be announced by Sony. But Stahelski’s attention to detail and enthusiasm for faithfully adapting the source material is a good sign for the project.

Source: Collider

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