Why everyone has a thing for Avatar 2’s Jake Sully

Aalmost 13 years of waiting, the second opus of James Cameron Avatar series, Avatar: The Way of the Water, has arrived and is expected to be a box office success. Despite its flaws, the film is a visual spectacle, with stunning images of the planet Pandora’s ecological system and inhabitants, the 10-foot-tall, slender blue aliens known as the Na’vi, rendered in computer-generated footage. computer that look like mind- incredibly real. So real, in fact, that some viewers walked away from The way of the water with a strong fondness for one of the aliens in particular: Marine-turned-Na’vi Jake Sully.

Fancams of Sully, in which music videos of him are edited together and set to a popular song, have been circulating on Twitter and TikTok since before the film was released in December. Fancams, which are usually highly stylized clips of a certain beloved artist, character or actor, took off as art in 2020, thanks to K-pop fans responding to tweets from Twitter accounts of pop culture like Pop Crave and Pop Base with videos from their favorite artists. Slowly, the phenomenon began to move out of the realm of K-pop and seep into mainstream pop culture, as we see now with the rise of Avatar 2 fan cams.

The hashtags #JakeSully and #JakeSullyEdit total 810 million views on TikTok. Some of the videos include snippets of scenes from the first film stitched together with added quick cuts, filters and slow motion. A video uploaded on December 3 has amassed nearly six million views and almost a million likes.

A more recent fanedit shows snippets of the new and old film along with the parody song that covers TikTok, “BigBoys” sung by the SNL and SZA actors. The caption reads: “Maybe not as big in width but definitely big in length.” It has over two million views.

It’s no surprise that this character’s fandom has found a new niche on TikTok as there has been a community of people who have admired this lean, mean man-fighting machine since 2009. On Archive of Our Own, a website where people post fanfiction, there are stories about Sully, his wife Neytiri and many other things dating back to December 2009. Many of the early fanfiction from the early 2010s have thousands of views (the number of times the story has been viewed) . Some of the most recent stories were uploaded today, December 21, with hundreds of hits and growing. The number of these fan stories and fancams will only grow as more Avatar sequels are rolling out, with the next scheduled for 2024.

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Write to Moises Mendez II at moises.mendez@time.com.


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