Avatar 2: How does Quaritch return? Recombinant explained

Cameron Frew
Stephen Lang as Quaritch in Avatar and Avatar 2, The Way of Water20th Century Studios

Colonel Miles Quaritch returns in Avatar 2 as a big bad reborn – so, how does the villain come back in The Way of Water, and what is a recombinant? 

Avatar may be the butt of jokes and claims that nobody remembers the characters’ names, but we’ve never forgotten Quaritch, Stephen Lang’s shredded, all-American endboss. 

From his first “We’re not in Kansas, anymore” speech to his explosive landing in a mech suit, he was one of the best baddies – and the sequel makes him even better. You can check out our review here. 

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However, you may recall him getting a few arrows in the chest in 2009 – so, let’s break down how he comes back, and explain exactly what a “recombinant” is. 

Avatar 2: How does Quaritch return in The Way of Water?

While Quaritch’s human body was killed in the first film, his consciousness is reborn in an Avatar, known as a recombinant. 

Basically, the RDA had an insurance policy for Quaritch. Given the nature of his post, there was a chance he’d be killed in action. So, his memories and DNA were condensed into a tube and sent back to Earth, where his own Avatar was grown and ready to go. 

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Stephen Lang as Quaritch in Avatar 2, The Way of Water20th Century Studios

In The Way of Water, we see him go through a similar process to Jake Sully: waking up and feeling a bit blue. He causes all sorts of chaos before watching a video recorded by Quaritch before his original death, explaining what’s happened and why he needs to execute Jake. 

Lang told Empire: “He comes with a full memory bank up until the time he actually undergoes the DNA transfer. So there are certain things that he doesn’t have any memory of at all. He has no memory of his death.”

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Avatar 2: What is a recombinant? 

A recombinant is an RDA soldier reborn as an Avatar following their death. The essence of their past human life (memories, feelings, DNA, and more) is bottled and transferred to their own Avatar. 

While the name bears some resemblance to “combatant”, it’s actually in reference to recombination, the process of rearranging genetic material and artificially joining different organisms together. 

As Quaritch says, “a marine group can’t be defeated. You can kill us, but we’ll just group in hell.” In this case, hell is Pandora. 

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Recombinants are capable of everything the Na’vi can do: they can bond with the moon’s creatures, and climb and run just as fast. “He can move with the same kind of cunning and feral quality that Sully or Neytiri, or any of the Navi can as well,” Lang explained. 

“I think that only adds to his ammunition, to his toolbox. I think he takes a certain joy in that ability to move in that environment in a way that is confident – that’s a wonderful feeling.”

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Avatar: The Way of Water is in cinemas now. You can read our review here, find out the best way to watch the movie here, and check out the rest of our coverage here.

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About The Author

Cameron is Deputy TV and Movies Editor at Dexerto. He's an action movie aficionado, '80s obsessive, Oscars enthusiast, and a staunch Scot. He earned a First-Class Honours Degree in Multimedia Journalism from Glasgow Caledonian University, accredited by the NCTJ and BJTC. He began his career at UNILAD, starting as a Junior Journalist and becoming Entertainment Editor prior to joining Dexerto. You can contact him at cameron.frew@dexerto.com.