Stephen Lang Reveals How He Returns In Avatar 2

By Matthew Creith | Published

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In 2009, James Cameron broke multiple records with the debut of his film Avatar, starring Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Michelle Rodriguez, Sigourney Weaver, and Stephen Lang. For more than a decade, all of the actors have moved on to other franchises and worked with talented directors, but Cameron continued working on a sequel to the movie that has now become Avatar: The Way of the Water. With most of the cast reprising their roles, actor Stephen Lang has recently confirmed to Empire that his character returns in Avatar 2 as a Recombinant, stating “He has been downloaded with the mind, the emotions, and even more interestingly, possibly the spirit of” his original character Colonel Miles Quaritch from the initial film.

Stephen Lang portrayed Colonel Miles Quaritch in Avatar, the main antagonist of the film, who ends up dying at the hands of Zoe Saldana’s Neytiri in order to save the Na’vi people. Many fans did not expect a sequel to Avatar to take as long as it has to be produced, nor did many of them believe that Quaritch would be back in the mix as part of the growing franchise. Stephen Lang’s confirmation that his character will appear in Avatar 2 by way of recombinant DNA will make it so this newer character has some of the same genetic components that made Quaritch so dislikable the first go-around.

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Playing Colonel Quaritch seems to be a dream come true for Stephen Lang, as his reintroduction to Avatar 2 will most likely be met with joy from fans who liked his antagonistic character. Lang helped propel Avatar to become one of the most talked about movies of the last 20 years, with an eventual box office gross of over $2.9 billion against a budget of $237 million. The first film in the franchise is currently ranked the highest-grossing movie of all time, beating out Avengers: Endgame and Cameron’s other epic, Titanic.

For the sequel, writer/director James Cameron has assembled an incredible visual effects team that will continue to use CGI to depict the Na’vi population. Joining Stephen Lang in Avatar 2 will be franchise veterans Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, and CCH Pounder. New to the sequel will be frequent Cameron collaborator Kate Winslet, who famously starred in Titanic for the director opposite Leonardo DiCaprio.

With the hefty haul that the first film took in when it was released in theaters in 2D and 3D options in 2009, Stephen Lang and the team at 20th Century Studios will most likely be hoping fan nostalgia fuels a big opening weekend for Avatar 2. Movie theaters have so far struggled to take in pre-COVID box office numbers in the past year or so, despite big blockbusters like Black Panther: Wakanda Forever holding strong leads for several weeks. The sequel to Avatar has a bigger budget than the original movie, with rumors swirling around that it was made for around $400 million, so a mass migration of moviegoers to theaters will most likely be needed for the studio to see a healthy return on their very expensive investment.