Jake Sully, ex-Marine, is recruited into the RDA’s Avatar program after his scientist twin-brother, Tommy, is killed. Since Jake and Tommy share identical DNA make-up, Jake is able to step into his deceased brother’s role as an Avatar driver.
After Jake makes the nearly six-year journey to Pandora, he’s brought to the human settlement of Hell’s Gate and, using a neuro-link, finds himself in a nine-foot tall, blue, cat-like Avatar body. No longer using his wheelchair and able to walk again, Jake, as his Avatar, goes on a field assignment into the terrifying, magnificent Pandoran environment. He encounters trees a hundred feet tall, mammoth six-legged armored creatures and a beautiful young Na’vi woman named Neytiri.
In his Avatar body, Jake is allowed access to Neytiri’s clan – The Omatikaya - because Eywa provided Neytiri a sign of his importance. Mo’at (Neytiri’s mother) and Eytukan (Neytiri’s father) both believe they can learn more about the “Sky People” by keeping him in close proximity. Neytiri is assigned to shepherd Jake’s tutelage, which she reluctantly accepts.
Neytiri becomes charmed by his stubbornness, surprised by his toughness and impressed by his eagerness to learn. She teaches Jake to link to a direhorse so that he understands the interconnectivity between species. She helps him bond with an ikran, a banshee that will become his aerial mount for life. She prepares him for his first hunt and his chance to truly understand the bounty that his kill will provide of itself to the People.
Jake becomes Na’vi in mind as well as body and eventually refuses to help the RDA forces to route the Omatikaya clan from the Hometree, which rests over the one of the largest deposits of Unobtanium on Pandora. The choice is a simple one for Jake, who doesn’t need to deliberate or equivocate when it comes to matters of right and wrong.
During the climactic confrontation with the human military forces, Jake takes a great risk and attempts to bond with the toruk, the Great Leonopteryx. Once Jake embraced a cause greater than himself, he came to understand that anything was possible, and any risk worth the effort.
Jake – as Toruk Makto; rider of the Last Shadow – rallies over 15 clans to his aid, and with Neytiri at his side, he leads the clans against the Sky People and successfully defeats the human invaders. With the help of all of the clans and Eywa, the human virus is expunged from the planet. It is not a permanent cure, but the symptoms of their cancer are alleviated for the foreseeable future. And though the Na’vi can See, most cannot see far enough to understand that the humans will return.
Jake’s story picks up fifteen years after the Battle of the Hallelujah Mountains and the expulsion of 90% of the humans on Pandora, and Jake is now living as a full Na’vi, his consciousness permanently fused into his avatar body.
In many ways, Jake is not the same person we left. Once free of attachments, his world is now full of expectations and responsibilities - husband, parent and clan leader. He and Neytiri are parents now of two boys born in the years immediately following the Battle, an adopted daughter of similar age, and a younger daughter, and their lives have transformed. This new life makes it much harder to take risks; the focus has changed from each other to the kids. Their love story dynamic is altered as well, from romantic love to partnership. The heat of passion has given way to a lifetime commitment between soul mates.
When we find him in the years after the Battle of the Hallelujah Mountains, Jake is no longer the man who wants to commit the Na’vi to total war.