Casting News

It's Almost Like the First 'Avatar' Never Happened

Because being dead is only temporary

Stephen Lang in Avatar
Stephen Lang in Avatar
Photo: 20th Century Fox

Not only will Sigourney Weaver return as the deceased Pandora scientist Dr. Grace Augustine, we now learn the deceased super soldier, and Avatar villain, Colonel Miles Quaritch, will also be returning for Avatar 2, Avatar 3 and Avatar 4 with Stephen Lang ready to step back into Quaritch's shoes.

Deadline broke the news with director James Cameron quoted saying, "Stephen was so memorable in the first film, we're privileged to have him back. I'm not going to say exactly HOW we're bringing him back, but it's a science fiction story, after all. His character will evolve into really unexpected places across the arc of our new three-film saga. I really look forward to working with such a gifted actor, who's also become a good friend."

He then goes onto suggest all the ways dead characters can return in a sci-fi story saying, "When you have a science-fiction series, a science-fiction franchise, you're never dead, unless your DNA is expunged from the universe. And then there's always time travel!"

Great, let's waste time explaining the silliness of how we brought a one-note character back to life rather than invent new characters. Of all the characters in Avatar, Lang's was the most annoying. Here's a snippet from my review:

One character that also weighed on me as the film went on was Stephen Lang as Marine Colonel Miles Quaritch. Miles is a hard ass and you are reminded of it over, and over, and over, and over again. He takes a licking and keeps on ticking. He's got scars on his face to prove he's tough and if you still don't believe it he'll just run outside and play "Who can breathe the toxic air longer?" game to prove it. It's a clich├ęd and predictable character, but I have a feeling over the course of repeated viewings he's someone you come to love to hate as opposed to being annoyed by. That verdict is still out though.

I've seen Avatar only one time since the first viewing and can say the "verdict" I mention above is no longer out, he's simply a character I don't like and the news he's returning doesn't exactly make the prospect of more Avatar movies any better.

Sam Worthington, who will be returning as Jack Sulley, recently said he expects production on the next three films, which will be shot back-to-back-to-back, is expected to begin around October 2014 with scripts from Josh Friedman, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver and Shane Salerno.

Avatar 2 is expected to hit theaters December 2016 with one year separating each subsequent film, all of which hoping to make $2 billion or more.

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  • http://www.silverscreenriot.com SmartFilm

    Maybe that blue panther thing was just going in for an exaggerated lick?

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/TheLastEquivocationofBrist/ TheLastEquivocationofBrist

    This just in, Avatar 2 will be a shot-for-shot remake of Avatar.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Fox/ Fox

      but in 37462fps 4D

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Winchester/ Winchester

    He is right though, Science Fiction has long been the one genre where death is rarely an impediment to returning to the fray or permanent.

    I'm not an 'Avatar' knocker however, I let the other kids get their kicks with that, but neither am I counting down the days to the continuation of the universe. Far too far away.

  • TVsRoss

    We really need to start differentiating between sci-fi and "space schlock."

  • http://couchpotatodigest.blogspot.com Matt Taylor

    His line about DNA being "expunged from the universe" made me laugh- it sounds like something from a spoof movie.

    At this point, I don't care about the "Avatar" sequels or if they are ever going to be made. I liked the first film just fine, and don't think it's anywhere near as bad as some make it out to be, but I don't care about a sequel, especially if it's going to be a retread of the original.

  • http://letterboxd.com/criterion10/ Criterion10

    Le sigh.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ian/ Ian

    James Cameron is a hack as a storyteller yet his movies make more money than anyone else's. I guess that makes him the winner where it matters (the checkbook), but I respect what's left of the art in cinema so I won't be seeing these.

    • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/jaybob/ jaybob

      He's a filmmaker, not a storyteller. And a very good filmmaker who's made critically acclaimed films that are considered classics in their genre. And no, bringing up one or two bad films does not prove me wrong. Because you can do that with any filmmaker.

      • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Ian/ Ian

        Filmmaking is storytelling. If you're not good at both the technical and the story aspects you need to find someone who can write a good story. To Cameron's credit he's bringing on additional writers for the first time on these sequels but the few details we know so far certainly don't sound like there will be any kind of originality. And if you don't understand the connection between filmmaking and storytelling then I don't think you understand the point of cinema.

        • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/jaybob/ jaybob

          But there are different forms of storytelling. Some have no plots and a completely character driven. Some have no endings.

          Also, I want to point something out about the word "hack", I think you misused it like a lot of people. Hack does not mean bad. You can be a great filmmaker and still be a hack. You can't be a terrible filmmaker and not be a hack.

          Hack is someone with no personal vision or style. Someone who does it for the money. That is what a hack is. Cameron does not fit this definition at all. He has talent. He has a personal vision and style. As for money, I think if all he cared about what making money, he'd be doing Michael Bay type stuff.

  • robotsrule

    hmm. I thought that guy dies at the end of Avatar.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Chris138/ Chris138

    Likewise, I have only seen Avatar once since it was in theaters (where I also only saw it once) and never cared for this character for all the reasons you mentioned above. Nothing I'm hearing about these movies is enticing me to want to see them.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/andyluvsfilms/ andyluvsfilms

    i wouldn't even pirate this nonsense, the first one is now unwatchable.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/Corbin/ Corbin

    James Cameron can do what he wants. He's in the Avatar business, not the movie business.

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/RonOnealFresh/ Ron Oneal Fresh

    I wonder If people are as unenthusiastic about the Avatar sequels as I am.

  • Adam James

    Admittedly, the film's technology already deals in cloned bodies, but the first film's whole plotline hinges on the idea that it's a very expensive process... the main character was only involved because the corporation wanted to save some money rather than scrap a completed clone.

    I have to wonder what the logic is in cloning a grunt who led a losing fight against a race armed with spears and arrows.

  • theJackal

    While I enjoyed the characters of Grace and Quaritch, I'm very disappointed to learn that will both be returning for the sequels. Are you running out of ideas or something there, Cameron? I've learned to never doubt the director after his massive success with Titanic and the first Avatar, so let's hope he still knows what the hell he's doing. While they're at it, they might as well bring back Michelle Rodrigeuz's character.

    Thems the facts

    • Paul Hennen

      I'd prefer the resurrection of Michelle Rodriguez over any, that would actually make a lot more sense given she could've survived the battle-maybe she'd become a navi' like Sully did in the end.

  • Paul Hennen

    I really do not see the point in returning the central villain when there are probably dozens if not hundreds willing to take his place in the world of Avatar, but who knows. There is a lot of possibility in a world where people can take hold of an Avatar body and use it like their own. I mean, if you can do that, travel to another planet, fight a far of man and machine versus the navi and bird things who have a odd connection to trees and their world on a biological level, what actually is impossible here?
    I thought it was kind of a "of course" thing that he'd come back in the prequel, we'll just have to see what happens with 2, 3, and 4. I still am wondering what James Cameron can possibly have on mind to continue this story for four films, but if anything it should've been him helming Alien sequels so we'll see. Only time will tell...literally says James suggests time travel!

  • http://www.ropeofsilicon.com/profile/jaybob/ jaybob

    Even the worst James Cameron film is better than most other films. That was true of Hitchock and it's true of him. Though I did like Avatar. Great action movie by the best action director who actually knows how to direct. No bullcrap fast cutting and shaky cam.

    Say what you want about Avatar but at least it's well filmed. I always thought that Cameron of all modern directors, would fit perfectly in classical Hollywood cinema.

    • theJackal

      I agreed with everything you said until the Nolan dig at the end. Say what you will about the Batman films, but Memento, Insomnia, The Prestige, Inception? He and Cameron are two of the finest directors working today.

  • Tommy

    Because indie films are so much better.... Sure these movies have no sense of depth or story, but they are big entertaining blockbusters. Why can't anyone get that.