Every Difference Between Avatar 2’s Omatikaya & Metkayina

Avatar: The Way of Water introduces an all new clan of Na’vi known as the Metkayina – and there are a lot of differences between them and the Omitakaya. These water-dwelling Na’vi live in a completely different environment from the Omitakaya, the Na’vi clan that was introduced in the first Avatar movies. This means that the Metkayina have to survive against all kinds of water-based threats and wildlife on the dangerous planet of Avatar‘s Pandora. While they may seem pretty similar at first glance, there are a lot of biological differences between the Metkayina and the Omitakaya in Avatar: The Way of Water.

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Avatar: The Way of Water follows Jake Sully and his family as they flee their home in order to evade the returning RDA soldiers, including the reincarnated Avatar of Colonel Quaritch. The small group of Omitakaya travel eastward, where they run into the Omitakaya clan, a group of Na’vi that have based their society around Pandora’s vast oceans. Although the Omitakaya initially clash with the Metkayina, Jake Sully and his family eventually learn to live in harmony with the sea-dwelling Na’vi, figuring out how to live alongside the new clan, despite their many cultural and biological differences.

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Green Skin

The most apparent difference in the Metkayina Na’vi is their teal-green skin. While the Omitakaya are known for their vibrant blue skin, the Metkayina’s green skin allows them to survive much better in their environment. Essentially, their teal-green skin shade allows them to perfectly blend in with the greenish-blueish oceans of Pandora, giving them the ability to hide from predators while swimming.

Besides the biological reason, there’s also a practical reason why Avatar: The Way of Water changed the Metkayina’s skin color. Having green skin allows the audience to visually tell which Na’vi is part of which clan, as the skin color is much more instantly recognizable than the other differences between the clans. Comparatively, the Omitakaya are fish out of water among the Metkayina, and having different colors allows the film to visually make this distinction.

Finned Arms

Ronal, Tonowari, and the Metkayina clan in Avatar 2

Another major difference that the Metkayina Na’vi have are their thick, finned arms. The Metkayina’s broad forearms act almost as paddles, allowing them to swim through Pandora’s oceans with great force. Their arms also allow the Metkayina to hit harder while simultaneously being big enough to use defensively, blocking incoming hits. Throughout Avatar: The Way of Waterthe Metkayina make fun of Jake Sully’s kids, with their comparatively thin arms being the butt of many jokes.

Bigger Tails

Metkayina Tails

Along with their arms, the Metkayina also have much bigger tails than the Omitakaya. While the Omitakaya have thin, prehensile tails (meaning tails that are capable of grasping things), Avatar‘s Metkayina have thick, flat tails. In the water, the Omitakaya use their tales like rudders, giving them better steering ability in the water. The tails can also be used in combat, with Avatar: The Way of Water showing the Metkayina using their tails to sweep the legs of other Na’vi and hit them with their powerful swings at a distance.

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Transparent Eyelids

Na'vi Underwater Avatar 2 Swimming

Perhaps the most subtle difference between the Metkayina and the Omitakya is the Metkayina’s eyelids. Although they have regular eyelids, the Metkayina also have a second set of eyelids underneath their main ones. These eyelids are translucent, allowing the Metkayina to see underwater without damaging their eyes. The Metkayina’s translucent eyelids in Avatar 2 are actually a real thing present in many marine animals, such as mackerel, milkfish, and jacks. Known as adipose eyelids, this small detail probably went unnoticed by many, making it another example of the meticulous world-building of Avatar: The Way of Water.

Looser Hair

Duke swimming in water with the fish in Avatar The Way of Water

One of the most distinctive qualities of the Na’vi is their hair, with the Omitakaya typically wearing their thick hair in long, black braids. Although the Metkayina all have black hair as well, their hair is much less thick than their tree-dwelling counterparts. Because of this, the Metkayina wear their hair in different hairstyles, preferring looser hairstyles that allow their hair to flow. The different hairstyles present in the Metkayina clan is another example of the many cultural differences between Pandora’s various Na’vi clans, adding another layer of detail to the world of Avatar.

The Metkayina’s loose hair also has a survival advantage for the clan. In the water, the Metkayina’s hair poofs out, showing off the fantastic water and hair physics of the new Avatar movies. It also makes the Metkayina look bigger, possibly warding off the predators of Pandora’s ocean. Many real-life animals instinctively poof their hair out to seem bigger to predators, and it only makes sense that the Na’vi would have evolved this survival instinct as well.

Smaller Ears

Avatar 2 Metkayina Chief

Another minor difference between the Omitakaya and the Metkayina are the Metkayina’s smaller ears. When compared to Jake Sully and his family, the Metkayina’s ears seem much smaller, with their ears also featuring much smaller ear canals. Although it isn’t certain exactly why the Metkayina have this difference, it is most likely an adaptation that allows the Na’vi to take in less water through their ears while swimming. On top of that, the Metkayina probably need to hear less than the Omitakaya. While the Omitakaya have to hear predators over the constant crunching of leaves, the Omitakaya live on fairly flat beaches, making their hearing less crucial.

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Bigger Chests & Skinnier Abdomens

Metkayina Stomachs

One final difference between the two clans of Na’vi is that the Metkayina have different chest and abdomen proportions. In Avatar: The Way of Water, the Metkayina on average seem to have broader chests, while also having skinnier abdomens. Since the Metkayina can’t breathe water, this adaptation most likely came about as a result of their need to stay underwater for long periods of time. By the end of Avatar: The Way of Waterthe Omitakaya Na’vi have been in several situations where they have nearly run out of breath – something that the Metkayina are never shown struggling with.

It is theorized that the Metkayina’s bigger chests allow them to have more room for larger lungs. This ability for increased lung capacity explains why they can stay underwater for so long without coming up for air. Their skinnier abdomens could mean that the rest of their organs are smaller, allowing the Metkayina to be about the same size as the other Na’vi while still making them suitable for their environments. Small details like this are why the world of Pandora is in Avatar: The Way of Water is such a beloved and complex place.

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