Avatar Star Stephen Lang Knew He Would Return for an Eventual Sequel in 2010

It’s been 13 years since Avatar released in theaters, and fans eagerly anticipate the return of some of their favorite characters. Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, and Joel David Moore are set to reprise their roles, with Sigourney Weaver returning in a new role. However, most fans didn’t expect another performance from Stephen Lang, who played Colonel Miles Quaritch in the initial movie. Luckily, the actor is confirmed and will come back for Avatar: The Way of Water, although in a “bluer” form, according to a statement made to Empire.

Lang recently spoke with Bleeding Cool, where he claimed he knew he would be in an eventual Avatar sequel since 2010. Most fans were unsure whether a follow-up would ever come to fruition thanks to the lengthy process of getting the first movie on the big screen, but Lang says Cameron let him know there was more to his character nearly 13 years ago.

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“Early on, I knew there were plans to bring [Quaritch] back. Jim told me that a long time ago [following the original’s film release], and he reiterated it in January 2010, saying, ‘You’re coming back.’ What I didn’t know was the extent that I would be coming back to. I didn’t know that Quaritch would be as centrally enmeshed in events. I didn’t know he would be either responding to events in such a significant way or that he would be responsible for events happening. He really is a key player in that. To say, ‘I was unprepared,’ I don’t know. I was thrilled, absolutely delighted to be part of it.”

Lang’s character proved to be quite the foe in Avatar, forcing the Na’vi tribes to band together to defeat his imposing force. Fans expect his character to be just as much of an obstacle in the second film, although we’ve yet to see if he is the primary antagonist of The Way of Water.

Lang Admits There is Some Pressure Surrounding Avatar: The Way of Water

20th Century Studios

Avatar is currently the highest-grossing movie of all time, with four sequels on the way and currently in development. James Cameron has essentially spent the last decade of his career planning out the continuation of the franchise, and The Way of Water needs to be successful for the films to continue. Stephen Lang recognizes some of the pressure, although he tells Bleeding Cool that the cast and crew focused on making the best movie possible with the upcoming films.

“We all aspire, and we all know the extent of the success that the first one had. Certainly, we have hopes, aspirations, and wishes for the second one. The best thing to do, and this is what we did: put one foot in front of the other, keep grinding it out, and make the best movie possible. Then do everything you can to ensure that the success, which is why I think the rerelease of ‘Avatar’ was a very smart thing to do, and it didn’t necessarily have to pay off. If it had not done the business it did and not met with the almost universal acclaim, I think that would have been a downer [laughs] in terms of the sequels. The fact of the matter is it seems it has been embraced by people, which fills us all with hope and expectation.”

MovieWeb recently spoke with Lang for an exclusive interview, where the actor shared what he believes the legacy of Avatar will be. His thoughts can be found here, and fans can see more when his character returns to the big screen. Avatar: The Way of Water premieres in theaters later this year on Dec. 16.