As sci-fi fans, one thing we can never get enough of is Sigourney Weaver. That means that the fact we’re going to get Avatar 2, 3, and 4, and that she is going to play a big role in all three sequels, is good news. You may wonder exactly how they’re going to pull off that feat—her character dies in the first film, so they have that problem to work around—but the 64-year-old actress recently provided a few hints about her role in the upcoming chapters.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with James Cameron’s 2009 science fiction adventure—there must be at least a couple of you, maybe—it is the single highest grossing film of all time. Set on the alien world of Pandora, the story has often been compared to Kevin Costner’s Dances With Wolves, and follows a former Marine who inhabits an avatar in order to infiltrate the planet’s native population so humans can mine for a rare substance called unobtanium. No, that last part is not a joke. He, of course, falls in love with a girl, realizes what shitbags the people are being, and switches sides.
Weaver played Dr. Grace Augustine, a human biologist who also controls an avatar, and who advocates peaceful interactions between humans and the Na’vi, the Pandoran natives. Talking to Vulture, she indicates that, while she will appear in all three sequels, her appearance and role will change along the way. Dancing around the subject, unable to give specifics, she says, “my part is a little different in each one…I’ll transform somewhat.”
What that means remains to be seen. If I remember, it’s Grace’s avatar that dies, and though we all presume that means she’s dead, I don’t recall exactly if that’s the case or not. It’s been a while since I saw the movie so the details are a little bit fuzzy.
Cameron and company plan to shoot all three films back-to-back-to-back. There’s no concrete date for the start of production, but it should be fairly soon. The director has said that all three scripts will be finished in a matter of weeks, which is import with such short turn around. As of now, Avatar 2 is scheduled to open in December 2016, with the others following in 2017 and 2018. If they stick to this timetable, we have to assume that the ball will get rolling before too long.
Locking key pieces like Weaver-and co-stars Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana-in early is a good first step. She says, “It’s going to be an adventure…It will be awesome. I can’t even imagine what I am taking on—and what James Cameron is taking on—with filming three Avatars at once, but … Peter Jackson did it with the Hobbit films, so we have that to look to.”
Avatar is an incredible looking film, but it is the lack of depth in the story that draws the most criticism. Visually, Cameron ins a master filmmaker, and while he wrote the script for the first movie, he brought in some help for the new screenplays. The team includes Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), Shane Salerno (Savages), and Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, the duo behind Rise of the Planet of the Apes. This is a good move. Not only is writing three scripts a mammoth task for anyone, but this should help smooth over any lingering story and character issues.