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In the movie Avatar (2009), why are all the Na'vi people blue in color?

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According to a 2009 interview, James Cameron explains:

“We wanted to say that there was an otherness, an alien-ness to them. But we wanted to keep them human enough that we could understand their emotions. So, they were going to have two eyes, and they were going to have a mouth.” Cameron made a point to say that he took particular pride in creating the wholly original world of “Avatar” at a time when so much of Hollywood is spinning their wheels with sequels, remakes and adaptations of old material. And, like his best films, he made sure that a romantic subplot was in the mix — which placed added requirements on the Na’vi character Neytiri, played by Zoe Saldana.

“At a certain point, we realized this is going to be a love story,” he explained of Neytiri’s relationship with Jake Sully, a human-in-Na’vi-form portrayed by Sam Worthington. “So, Zoe’s character had to be beautiful and accessible and relatable emotionally.”

Looking over at his fellow Q&A participants — the Dominican/ Puerto Rican Saldana and Western Australian Worthington — the Canadian-born Cameron said that the Na’vi’s blue skin also allowed him to comment on race. “[I was thinking], ’What are the differences that we can deal with, without it becoming a barrier?’ Skin color is great, and it’s also great thematically, because skin color is obviously such a big issue on our planet,” he explained with a grin, looking at his actors and teasing Worthington. “All the warm tones — from pallid Canadian pink, to beautiful warm browns and, well, pallid Australian pink — were all taken.

“So, we were down to blue and green basically — and green had been taken by all those Martian movies with the little green men,” he remembered of his reasoning. “So, we have big blue women, not little green men.”

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    Dear James - If by "Wholly Original" you mean "Stolen directly from the 40+ years of work by artist Roger Dean", then you succeeded beyond your wildest dreams. – Johnny Bones Jul 8 '15 at 13:06
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    @JohnnyBones - more like "splice these two animals together! Good! A catdog! How original!" – Davor Jul 8 '15 at 13:42
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    @JohnnyBones Not to mention that it's just Pocahontas in space. – Matthew Read Jul 8 '15 at 14:27
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    @JohnnyBones I was a Dean fan years ago too -- got immersed in "Views" and "Magnetic Storm" -- and had to complain to my wife through the whole movie that Roger came up with most of the visuals before James. – BrettFromLA Jul 8 '15 at 16:53
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    @JohnnyBones I have to agree with the judge. Maybe you see something more in there, but to me, the similarities are way too vague - sure, you've got flying islands and arches, but that's hardly groundbreaking. They look as dissimilar as two flying islands and arches can be. Look at the beautiful magnetic-field-copying pattern of Avatar's arches! Dean's arches look to me just like any other natural arch we have on Earth, Avatar's distinctly do not. Both also have trees, but that didn't seem to catch your attention :D Even the flying islands look nothing alike, and the idea long predates both. – Luaan Jul 9 '15 at 9:53
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The gist is:

James wanted to be different (not green martians nor human like skin color & tone) without being a radical as the purpose wasn't to desensitize us from the Na'vi people. He wanted to be able to raise an issue / difference that is a president factor with the audience i.e. Skin color and race. Something that can be visually referenced and different whilst having human like characteristics.


As he said in an interview:

Cameron said that the Na’vi’s blue skin also allowed him to comment on race. “[I was thinking], ’What are the differences that we can deal with, without it becoming a barrier?’ Skin color is great, and it’s also great thematically, because skin color is obviously such a big issue on our planet,” he explained with a grin, looking at his actors and teasing Worthington. “All the warm tones — from pallid Canadian pink, to beautiful warm browns and, well, pallid Australian pink — were all taken.

“So, we were down to blue and green basically — and green had been taken by all those Martian movies with the little green men,” he remembered of his reasoning. “So, we have big blue women, not little green men.”

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    This quote is identical to the other two answers. – Catija Jul 9 '15 at 13:20
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    not really, I summarized, unlike the others and at the same time placed additional content if people wanted further reading – PikeTheCrow Jul 9 '15 at 13:31

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