With so many franchises on the horizon, one that has taken a backseat in the minds of the audience, to a certain extent, is the Avatar series. But the creator of Avatar, James Cameron, is still hard at work on the four planned sequels to the original 2009 sci-fi blockbuster. Recently, Stephen Lang, who played the main villain in Avatar, Colonel Miles Quaritch, spoke about his excitement for returning to the world of the planet Pandora.
“It’s very satisfying to know that the character was valued enough and made enough of an impression to [have Cameron] say ‘we’re not done with him yet’. That, initially, was kind of wonderful, to me. My job is really to advocate the role that I’m playing, and so it’s satisfying to have that much more time to discover Quaritch, find out what makes him tick, talk about him, and hopefully defy expectations that people have for the character, to create new expectations.”
Stephen Lang has been a part of many cult classic films in the past, including Death of a Salesman and Don’t Breathe, but this is the first time he is coming back for a sequel. In fact, the actor has confirmed in the past that all four of the planned Avatar sequels will have the character of Quaritch returning as the chief antagonist. At a time when every other franchise tries to find new villains to up the ante with every new installment, James Cameron has once again gone against the grain to make Quaritch the Darth Vader of the Avatar universe. According to Lang, this approach has allowed him to dig deeper into the character of Quaritch.
“I’m working now with a much broader canvas than I was with the first Avatar, and it keeps me in concert with James Cameron to really go to town and examine the character in detail. That, to me, is totally tremendously satisfying and challenging.”
While Avatar was the highest-grossing movie of all time upon release, and it took Avengers: Endgame a full decade to beat that record, James Cameron did not rush to cash in on the craze by spitting out one sequel after another. Instead, he waited years, writing the scripts for all the planned sequels and working with the most cutting-edge technology Hollywood has to offer to film the underwater scenes that are a big part of Avatar 2 going forward. All that took a tremendous amount of work, so much that Lang frankly admitted not being able to recall how much of the movies he has already shot for and how much is still left.
“I’ve given up trying to keep track. The whole thing gets a little confusing.”
Knowing how James Cameron does not believe in doing things by half-measure, viewers can be assured that the esteemed filmmaker will keep working on the franchise until it is the best possible version of the vision Cameron has in his mind, no matter how long that takes. And that approach does tend to produce better films than studio-mandated movies with heavy doses of executive meddling.