In a recent interview with StageRightSecrets, “Avatar” actress Zoe Saldaña explained what inspires her about her character in the franchise, Neytiri. Namely, with regard to how writer-director James Cameron designed Pandora as a society based on equity.


Avatar the Way of Water. Zoe Saldana on feminism in Pandora #Avatar #avatarthewayofwater Professional Performers

♬ Becoming one of “The People” Becoming one with Neytiri – James Horner

Zoe Saldaña wants life to be like Pandora

A recent TikTok from @starlordziggy highlights Saldaña’s comments about how Pandora functions as a collective society. In the interview, she says, “[Neytiri] is a creature living in a world where having to be a feminist doesn’t exist. It doesn’t process through the minds of any males or any females. I liked that.”

Saldaña goes on to explain how she didn’t want to play the avatar character with words like “empowerment” in her mind. Instead, she only worked to capture Neytiri’s “essence.” Because of that, Saldaña was happy with how Cameron built Pandora with that equality already in mind.

She then wraps up her answer on a note of hopefulness. “I’d like to believe that we can finally, one day, get to be in a world where women do not have to actively empower themselves,” she said. “But that it’s just, like, a birthright that nobody thinks of ever touching.”

James Cameron designed Pandora this way on purpose

Additionally, “Avatar: The Way of Water” has been garnering praise for its portrayal of women in Pandora. For instance, Zaldaña’s character in Avatar is pregnant throughout the film. She plunges headfirst into battle anyway, a conscious decision Cameron made for the new film.

In an interview with Variety, Cameron says, “I thought, ‘Well, if you’re really going to go all the way down the rabbit hole of female empowerment, let’s have a female warrior who’s six months pregnant in battle.’ It doesn’t happen in our society—probably hasn’t happened for hundreds of years.”

He adds, “But I guarantee you, back in the day, women had to fight for survival and protect their children, and it didn’t matter if they were pregnant. And pregnant women are more capable of being a lot more athletic than we, as a culture, acknowledge.”

Watch the full interview with Zoe Saldaña here!