After seeing Avatar for the second or third time, I'm sure that you've got as many questions as I do. Check out the entired article for some interesting tidbits reaching into the depths of Pandora and her natives.
Source: io9 - The Na'Vi are warriors and stuff. So do the different Na'Vi tribes go to war against each other pretty often?
Greer considered this question in depth, in the process of creating Na'Vi warpaint and war gear. He decided that the Na'Vi don't have wars any more. But they "do put a lot of effort into numerous annual gatherings where they "compete" for their specific tribe's honor and pride in various skills based competitions. I saw these kind of gatherings as the pivotal interaction, on a worldwide basis, between the various tribes." And they are pretty good at killing each other, when the need arises. (But this was something Greer developed internally at Weta, so it's not gospel.)
So why are Pandora's trees green like Earth trees, when everything else is so weirdly colored?
As we mentioned in our previous design feature, there was a huge push among some of the designers to make the foliage of Pandora cyan-colored instead of green. This turned out to be a problem because of creating depth perception, but also Stromberg opposed it — it would have made the "atmospheric haze" harder see because it was also cyan. But also it would have been too much. "We had to have something that the average person could grab onto as a comfort level, so we could capture them, and slowly introduce these things and not hit them over the head with the clown hammer."
What was the inspiration for those weird trumpet-like flowers, that collapse when Jake touches them?
Craig Shoji says those were based on "Christmas-tree worms," that you find attached to a reef underwater. They behave like that, and it's incredibly cool if you ever get to touch one.
The Na'Vi look like a lot of different native peoples on Earth, with their warpaint and their weapons and so on. Were they actually based on Earth tribes?
Designer Craig Shoji says he and other designers used a lot of different real-life items: Inspiration came from many sources, but a lot involved looking at current indigenous people of the world including those inhabiting the rain forest like the Penan tribe, and the Kayapo and Yanomami indians. Also the different tribes in Africa like the Himba, Masai, and Samburu. As well as all the different forms of face and body painting that took place in all the different tribal settings. There were thousands upon thousands upon hundreds upon millions upon mucho reference pictures that we were collecting and looking at. It became sort of an obsession for Seth and myself to constantly have our 'Na'vi-esque' radar on so whenever we saw something we'd automatically buy it, save-as, or take a picture to add to the collection. It varied from those woven toy finger traps found in Chinatown, to images of Lee Bontecou's amazing sculptural work. We'd then analyze it to try and break down what was working and what we liked. Was it aesthetic? The material? The simple, yet sophisticated mechanism in how it worked? And then we'd riff on those concepts to create designs that would live in the Na'vi world.