Hide yo kids, hide yo unobtanium: Colonel Quaritch is back for ‘Avatar’ sequels

It looks like bad guys from 'Avatar' are coming back from the dead for sequels

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Several years ago, little-known auteur James Cameron wrote and directed a low-budget film called Avatar. Just kidding! The world-famous director of The Terminator and Titanic fame released Avatar, the first entry in his magnum opus, in 2009. It remains the highest-grossing film in history, as well as one of the most expensive. In any case, despite the massive success of Avatar, its sequels — which Cameron reportedly plans to produce four of — have been in limbo for years, leading some to doubt whether they’ll ever come to fruition.

Well, we can assure you that the sequels are still happening — or, at least, they are still in the works — and there’ll be more than a few familiar faces in play. Cameron on Tuesday revealed in an interview with Empire that the villainous Colonel Quaritch (Stephen Lang) and his subordinate, Corporal Lyle Wainfleet (Matt Gerald), would be returning, and that Lang’s character will play the main antagonist throughout the entire series of films.

On its own, that may not seem too crazy. If you watched Avatar waaaay back in 2009, though, you might remember that those characters are dead! Quaritch was the lucky recipient of two massive Na’vi arrows, courtesy of Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), and Wainfleet was crushed by one of Pandora’s ginormous CGI dinosaur-things.

Bringing characters back from the dead is far from a rare occurrence — hell, the Night King from Game of Thrones makes a living that way — but it usually comes as a shock to the audience. Cameron’s willingness to disclose this information likely means the bad guys won’t be making a surprise midfilm return. We’re curious to see if they come back as some sort of cyborg characters (or even test tube Na’vi), though it’s always possible they were recovered in the jungle by army doctors, or something like that.

We already know that Sigourney Weaver’s character will return in some fashion, as will Sam Worthington’s and Saldana’s, so the sequels should function as a series of happy reunions.

From Westeros to Pandora

In June, Game of Thrones Oona Chaplin was added to the cast for Avatar 2 (working title) and beyond, which is a pretty strong indication that the movies have not been canceled. Jon Landau, president of production company Lightstorm Entertainment, announced Chaplin’s involvement at Fox’s CineEurope presentation in Barcelona, Spain.

Chaplin, the granddaughter of famous silent film star Charlie Chaplin, will play Varang, “a strong and vibrant central character who spans the entire saga of the sequels,” and is most likely Pandoran (based upon her name, anyway). Chaplin’s role as Talisa Stark on Game of Thrones is not her only work; the Spanish actress has also been in two BBC One television series — The Crimson Field and Taboo — and an episode of Black Mirror.

Barring another set of delays, we will get Avatar 2 in December 2020, with the following sequels set for release in the final month of 2021, 2024, and 2025. Nothing further has been released regarding the plot of Avatar 2 or its follow-ups. Cameron is well-known for his technical approach to filmmaking, as he pioneered a new method of 3D-motion capture to produce the first Avatar. It will be interesting to see if he has any new tricks up his sleeve, given how quickly technology progresses in the film industry.