This will come as a surprise to practically no-one, but James Cameron and 20th Century Fox have decided to make it official anyway: Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana, the keystones of Avatar, are returning for the three sequels.
"Jake Sully is a rare combination of passion, strength, street smarts and soul, which requires a lot from an actor,” Cameron says in a statement. “Sam brought to the role a combination of sensitivity, vulnerability and strength. Zoe captured every aspect of the character I envisioned, bringing to Neytiri a mix of delicacy, fierceness and incredible physicality. I am beyond pleased they'll be returning with us to Pandora."
Worthington’s Jake, of course, was the wheelchair-wrangling former Marine who develops a deep connection with the Na’vi natives of the moon known as Pandora. Specifically, he fell for the fearless, beautiful huntress Neytiri, with the pair united to fight off the resource-hungry human forces that threatened the Na’vi way of life. By the end of the film (spoilers for the 3 of you who missed it) Jake had taken up permanent residence in his Avatar body and was happily settled down with Neytiri, having seen off the human aggressors.
Stephen Lang, who played the nasty Colonel Quaritch (and who, um, died in the first film), is also back. Cameron is working on the scripts for the three new films with writers Josh Friedman, Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver and Shane Salerno, with production set for New Zealand. The first sequel is due in December 2016, with the others following in 2017 and 2018.