Avatar stars Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington have both finalized deals to appear in all three Avatar sequels, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The news isn’t exactly surprising, but it does check off an important box on the way to creating Cameron’s follow-up trilogy to the 2009 smash hit.
The report also adds a note about the story, revealing that the characters Jake Sully (Worthington) and Neytiri (Saldana) will have children when Avatar 2 picks up. It isn’t clear how much emphasis the story will put on the family, but it does suggest that the first sequel will open at least a few years after the end of the first film. Avatar 2 will be released seven years after the original, so a time gap makes sense. It also isn’t clear how the kids will be filmed. Cameron may use real kids in motion capture suits and then layer CGI on top of them, or the kids may be purely CGI.
(For the next bit, beware of a minor spoiler from the original film, and possible spoilers for the sequels.)
Also returning for all three Avatar films is Stephen Lang, who returns to the role of Colonel Quaritch, the primary antagonist in Avatar. The Colonel suffered a fairly convincing death at the end of Avatar, but as Cameron said “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.” Sigourney Weaver, whose character Dr. Grace Augustine is similarly … mortally-challenged, will also appear in at least the first chapter of the new trilogy.
All three movies will film back-to-back-to-back in New Zealand beginning this year, with the first sequel hitting theaters in December 2016. Avatar 3 and 4 will follow in December 2017 and December 2018, respectively.