It’s been four years since audiences were amazed by Avatar’s stunningly beautiful computer graphics, and James Cameron’s equally stunning decision to not even bother writing a plot. Millions of viewers were moved by the struggle of the Pandoran tribe. Which is why we think it’s important to remember that every single one of them is dead. It’s just a matter of which guaranteed extinction strategy struck the tribe first:
1. Twelve years after Pandoran victory the entire site is glassed by orbital bombardment. That’s six years travel time to Earth, six years return journey to Pandora, not even one minute in between to realize “Hey, it’s actually much easier to mine rock out of the ground if you utterly exterminate everything on the surface first.”
2. The animals didn’t help the Na’vi fight because Eywa liked the English speaking straight white male better than her own entire people, but because she’d recently been infected by a human mind. They downloaded a gutshot, pissed-off Sigourney Weaver into their planetary consciousness! Those animals weren’t just killing marines, they were killing everything, it only looked good because most of the Na’vi were already dead.
The next year makes the seven biblical plagues look like a spot of drizzle, as a rampaging ecology flenses the overgrown surface of everything including itself.
3. The Omaticaya are riven by internal civil war when it becomes clear that their fabled leader, the Jakesully, is impotent. “Of course the avatars are impotent.” explained the bearded scientist who remained on Pandora. “Jesus, it’s obvious. What sort of psychopaths would give a scientific observation tool the ability to inject foreign human-altered genetic material into a native species? What sort of selfish, suicidal, genocidally-genitaled madman would even consider doing that?”
1B. Seriously, what’s the point of carefully lowering an entire spaceship full of robot suits and bombs on the surface, when non-carefully dropping the entire ship would do the same job instantly? Without loss of human life? And the resultant crater would actually make the unobtanium much easier to mine?
4. The unified species is devastated by grief and self-loathing when they find that the Toruk Makto, their mythical hero of legend, abandoned his bonded ikran creature to die alone despite being told they bonded for life. After claiming the giant red great leonopteryx, the Jakesully cast his loyal ikran aside, spitting in the face of the sacrifice the animal had made. This insult against all the life and honor the Na’vi held sacred broke the spirit of the entire race. They faded away within three generations.
5. The Na’vi are wiped out by a disease from one of the remaining human scientists. Limited exposure time and professional military quarantine medical facilities had previously prevented this problem. Filthy bearded humans living in the filthy jungle with nothing but a gas mask did the opposite.
6. The Na’vi are wiped out by their own equivalent of the Hanta virus. Nothing to do with human infection, that’s just the sort of $#!+ that happens when you start acting like nature is a big cuddly mommy instead of an eternal everything-wide competitive murder league.
7. The Borg. Try praying at them you giant cerulean @$$#()!%$. (Or any other species which didn’t evolve blatant morality tales).
8. Recordings of the Na’vi reach Earth. The species is wiped out by sex tourist STDs within a decade.
9. The planet is devastated by an asteroid strike, resulting in a nuclear winter and the extinction of every animal species larger than a vole. Amazingly, an almost identical asteroid is on course to strike Earth at the exact same moment, but is identified months before impact and almost casually shunted aside by our technology.
1C. It’s actually cheaper to exterminate the Na’vi from space than it is to even land and talk to them. The only thing preventing the corporation from doing that in the first place was the negative PR factor. To offset that you’d need something truly shocking, like extended graphic footage of the Na’vi not only killing humans but brutally murdering fleeing and surrendering humans with crude pointed spears and wild animals. But where would you … oh, wait.
10. The Na’vi are riven by internal conflict in the power vacuum when the Jakesully drops dead, because temporary research bodies are only designed to last for three years of active use. He doesn’t even get a fantastic final speech about tears in the rain, instead reading the price tag and barcode off the back of a large print edition of Pocahontas.
1D. The corporation could claim the ship drop was an accident and make money on the insurance, never mind the resulting mining operation. Seriously, the only thing protecting the Na’vi from extermination was a vague sense of morality, and they stabbed it to death while screaming like animals. We’re meant to feel victory at the end of Avatar? They humiliated a parade of military corporate @$$#()!%$, and the look in every single eye was “I’m getting into my ship, going into cryosleep, and in less than a subjective week I’ll be back and the surface of this planet will shine like a cue ball.”
Luke McKinney writes about games, drink, science, and everything else that makes life amazing. He’s acolumnist on Cracked and writes for several beer magazines. He’s also available for hire. Follow him onTumblr and Twitter @lukemckinney.
Luke also chronicled a much more indestructible protagonist in The Incredible, Interesting Hulk.