Stephen Lang and  Sam Worthington

While it didn’t look like we would see him again after 2009’s ‘Avatar,’ 20th Century Fox has just confirmed that actor Stephen Lang will return as Colonel Miles Quaritch in their three upcoming ‘Avatar’ sequels. Sam Worthington recently announced that filming will start next October. “Steven was so memorable in the first film, we’re privileged to have him back,” director James Cameron said in a statement. “I’m not going to say exactly HOW we’re bringing him back, but it’s a science fiction story, after all.  His character will evolve into really unexpected places across the arc of our new three-film saga.  I really look forward to working with such a gifted actor, who’s also become a good friend.”

Marking a significant expansion of his much-anticipated ‘Avatar’ sequels, Academy Award-winning filmmaker James Cameron announced in August that the films have grown in number from two to three. Additionally, to help bring his growing ‘Avatar’ universe to life and to expedite the process, Cameron has hired screenwriters Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds), Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planets of the Apes), and Shane Salerno (Savages, Salinger) to collaborate with him on the screenplays for the three films.

The three ‘Avatar’ pictures will be filmed simultaneously with production beginning next year. The release of the first sequel will be in December 2016, with the second to follow in December 2017, and the third a year later. Avatar 2, 3, and 4 will be produced by Cameron and Jon Landau through their Lightstorm Entertainment banner. Like the original film, Lightstorm will work with Joe Letteri and his team at WETA Digital to realize the worlds of the sequels.

‘Avatar’ is the highest-grossing film of all time, and is also the top-selling Blu-ray disc of all time. The film won Golden Globe awards for Best Motion Picture and Best Director; and was nominated for nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, and won Oscars for art direction, visual effects and cinematography. ‘Avatar’ was written by Cameron from an idea he nurtured for over a decade, while working on the technology necessary to realize its wholly imagined world. Working with WETA Digital, Cameron created a fully immersive 3D cinematic experience of a new kind, where revolutionary technology that was invented to make the film disappeared into the emotion of the characters and the epic nature of the story.

The three ‘Avatar’ sequels will mark Cameron’s latest collaborations with 20th Century Fox, a relationship that spans nearly 30 years and marks one of the most successful filmmaker-studio alliances in motion picture history. Cameron and Fox first joined forces in 1985 for ‘Aliens,’ which became a sci-fi classic. Next came ‘The Abyss,’ which revolutionized visual effects technology; then came the blockbuster, ‘True Lies.’ In 1996, Fox greenlighted Cameron’s ‘Titanic,’ which became the most successful film in history, and won a record-breaking eleven Academy Awards, including Best Picture.