When Jake Sully first came to Pandora in Avatar, villainy had a human face: Stephen Lang’s Miles Quaritch. The vicious military commander of the RDA (aka the Resources Development Administration) was the big bad of the original movie – a Na’vi-hating, cigar-chomping, mech-suited menace. Last time around, he met a sticky end when Neytiri stuck him with a pair of giant arrows in the final reel. But in Avatar, death isn’t always the end – and in The Way Of Water, Quaritch is back in blue.
Yes, in the long-awaited sequel, Stephen Lang is returning in the same role – this time in Na’vi form, his consciousness having been added to an avatar body. “He’s bigger, he’s bluer, he’s pissed off,” he laughs while speaking to Empire. “But there may possibly be an aspect of humility. When you take two Na’vi arrows in the chest, that’s gonna have some kind of effect on you.” It’s not just Quaritch who’s been given a big blue upgrade. In The Way Of Water, the RDA has a whole set of Recoms, aka Recombinants – avatars embedded with the memories of human soldiers. A whole new body means a whole new Quaritch. “[He] was always a character who moved in straight lines and at right angles,” Lang explains. “But now he is as lithe as they come. He can move with the same kind of cunning and feral quality that any of the Na’vi can.”
The arrival of the Recoms is just the beginning – the returning RDA mean business. “They are combing back with an armada to take back the prized possession that they lost,” teases producer Jon Landau. This time, they’ve built an entire new city, Bridgehead, and are stripping away the resources of Pandora’s oceans – and they have a weapons-spewing 3D printing facility that means they’re even more tooled-up this time around. “This is RDA scale,” promises Landau. The war for Pandora is only just beginning.
Empire’s Avatar: The Way Of Water issue hits newsstands on Thursday 7 July, with unparalleled access to the film and its cast and crew – heading to Cameron’s Lightstorm HQ and talking to the director himself, as well as producer Jon Landau, stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, Sigourney Weaver, Kate Winslet, Cliff Curtis, and plenty more. Plus, it’s stacked with never-before-seen images, opening up the world of Pandora like never before.
Pre-order a copy online here – and stay tuned to empireonline.com for more major exclusives. Avatar: The Way Of Water comes to UK cinemas from 16 December.