Avatar 2: What is Amrita? Tulkun whales explained

Cameron Frew
A Tulkun whale, the source of Amrita, in Avatar 220th Century Studios

Forget unobtanium, Avatar 2 has introduced a new, ultra-powerful substance to the world: Amrita, closely linked to the Tulkun whales – but what is it?

You’ve gotta give it to James Cameron: the plot of Avatar revolves around the humans mining Pandora for a precious metal, a material so scarce and nigh-on impossible to find, that he called it “unobtanium.”

It was the whole reason behind the RDA’s original mission on Pandora, resulting in Hometree being demolished so they could pilfer its resources, before they were marched off the planet and sent home to their rotting world.

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In Avatar: The Way of Water, Cameron’s long-awaited sequel to the highest-grossing movie of all time, unobtanium is barely mentioned. This time, the eyes are on a new prize: Amrita.

What is Amrita in Avatar 2?

Amrita is a rare, golden chemical fluid drained from the Tulkun, a large whale-like species on Pandora that’s highly intelligent, arguably even more so than the Na’vi.

Whales round up the Tulkun, kill one of the mothers, and inject a huge needle into her body’s central nervous system. It’s a bit like the Tree of Souls, except every Tulkun has one inside them, allowing them a breadth of emotions far beyond what humans would ever understand.

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“A tulkun is, like, 300 feet long. They are a sentient species and as intelligent in their own way as the Na’vi are in theirs,” producer John Landau told Empire.

In the movie, Amrita is described as the “ounce for ounce, the single most valuable” asset in the universe, with a small vial worth more than $80 million. Here’s the really crazy part: it stops human aging completely, apparently. This is mentioned as a brief aside in the movie, but we can expect this to play a larger role in the forthcoming sequels.

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As for the name, Amrita is a Sanskrit term for immortality and nectar. According to the Collins English Dictionary, it comes from Hindu mythology, referring to a drink also known as soma, which was given to the gods to help them achieve immortality.

“Amrita, the liquid of immortality is like nectar… it exudes from the Chandra center in the center of the head, deep behind the eyebrow. The juice is saltish, similar to ghee, with the consistency of honey,” the Hatha Yoga Pradipika explains.

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“Who swallows this clear liquor dripping from the brain into the heart and obtained by means of meditation, becomes free from disease and tender in body like the stalk of a lotus, and will live a very long life.”

Basically, it’s already an immensely powerful substance, but the Tulkun are sacred to the Na’vi and especially the Metkayina clan. Given the fourth movie is believed to be titled “The Tulkun Rider”, we definitely haven’t seen the last of Amrita’s glow in Pandora.

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Avatar: The Way of Water is in cinemas now. You can read our review of the movie here, learn the best way to watch it here, and find out more about the sequel 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.