Oscar-winning director James Cameron has confirmed the addition of Sigourney Weaver to the cast for three upcoming Avatar sequels.
Weaver’s return was rumored for some time, and was even recently semi-confirmed by the actress. Cameron made her return official this week in a formal announcement. Weaver will now join returning actors Sam Worthington, Zoë Saldana, and Stephen Lang on set. Cameron will begin filming all three movies back-to-back-to-back later this year.
“Sigourney and I have a long creative history, dating back to 1985 when we made Aliens,” Cameron said. “We’re good friends who’ve always worked well together, so it just feels right that she’s coming back for the Avatar sequels.”
Given her character’s mortally challenged status at the end of the original film, there has been some speculation as to how Weaver will reprise her role. In announcing the actress’ return, Cameron hinted at the form she will take in the new movies.
“Her character of Grace Augustine, as fans know, died in the first movie, so she’s playing a different and in many ways more challenging character in the upcoming films,” he said. “We’re both looking forward to this new creative challenge, the latest chapter in our long and continuing collaboration.”
There has been no official title announced yet for the upcoming sequels, which will begin arriving in theaters December 2016, with one premiering each subsequent December through 2018. While it’s no surprise that Avatar is getting a sequel, skeptics have wondered whether the seven years that have elapsed since the original film premiered will make it difficult for audiences to connect with the sequels.
With the first film grossing more than $2.8 billion worldwide, there’s reason to believe it’s a risk worth taking.