Jake Sully's mission is clear: Use his big blue mind-controlled avatar to infiltrate the native Na'vi people of Pandora, become one of them, then bring back his findings so the human colonizers can clear the territory and exploit its valuable natural resources. Things get complicated in James Cameron's
Sully feels a lot more natural flying through the air as an alien warrior — rather than being confined to a wheelchair as an injured ex-Marine — as an exclusive new "Avatar" clip that debuted during MTV News' "Behind the Screen" show makes clear.
Sully and Neytiri soar through the sky on Pandoran banshees, winged creatures whose nervous systems they hook into via tendrils extending from their ponytails. Thusly connected and fully in control of these beasts, the blue aliens go for a ride that is part joy and part business.
"I was a stone-cold aerial hunter," Sully says in voiceover. "Death from above. Only problem is, you're not the only one."
That shadow floating above them? It's trouble: a Leonopteryx, which is like a banshee, only bigger, meaner and hungrier. This yellow, red and black beastie decides these two sinewy bipeds and their flying modes of transportation would make a delicious afternoon snack.
The Leonopteryx, it should be noted, is not some purely evil creature in the minds of the Na'vi. On the rarest of occasions, a Na'vi has been known to domesticate one of these colorful animals, allowing him to fly and hunt with it as one would a banshee. Only the chosen, though, can hope to accomplish such a near-mystical feat, and on this particular day, Sully and Neytiri's only chance of survival is to flee.
They dive down into the forest, hoping they'll be more agile than their aggressor among the trees, branches and foliage. The strategy pays off, and the Leonopteryx flies off with a frustrated roar. Sully and Neytiri land safely on a nearby tree and stare at each other, beginning to laugh. That was a perilously close call, and it won't be long before they're once again hunting and joyriding through these luminous alien skies.