James Cameron Reveals Avatar Sequel Details
James Cameron is not someone who does things by halves. The man who rebuilt the Titanic is currently hard at work on four sequels to Avatar, the first of which won't land until 2020. However, there are a few things about the upcoming sequels that fans will find familiar, not least of all the principal villain. Warning: Spoilers ahead.
It's long been confirmed that Stephen Lang's Colonel Quartich would return (despite taking a pair of four-foot arrows in the chest), but talking to Empire in our September issue, Cameron reveals that Quaritch won't be relegated to a supporting role or appear solely in flashbacks. Rather, he will continue to menace Jake, Neytiri and the other Na'vi throughout all five movies as the saga's main antagonist.
"The interesting conceit of the Avatar sequels is it’s pretty much the same characters," he says. "There are new characters and a lot of new settings and creatures, so I’m taking characters you know and putting them in unfamiliar places and moving them on this greater journey. But it’s not a whole bunch of new characters every time. There’s not a new villain every time, which is interesting. Same guy. Same motherfucker through all four movies. He is so good and he just gets better. I know Stephen Lang is gonna knock this out of the park."
Was Quaritch's body smuggled off-world by the departing Selfridge? Will he return more machine than man? Or, after being skewered deep within the Pandoran forest, might he himself end up transposed into an Avatar body, bringing a blue-skinned, eight-foot Na'vi Quaritch to bear on our heroes? The mind boggles.
Cameron's mammoth undertaking, shooting four sequels back-to-back is not only ambitious, it's a feat of scheduling that Stephen Lang himself described as "a Mongoian clusterfuck". Cameron's inspiration for said clusterfuck? One Peter Jackson.
"I said 'It’s your fault I’m doing this, motherfucker!'" He recalls. "It’s one big story. But I would say a little bit different from The Lord Of The Rings, which you knew was a trilogy and that allowed you to accept a sort of truncated ending for movies one and two and then a fulfilment. This is a greater narrative broken up into four complete stories.
For the complete, in-depth career interview with Cameron, covering everything from Terminator 2 to Aliens, Titanic and The Abyss, pick up the September issue of Empire, on sale from Thursday 10 August. Subscribe here.