In our first proper look at Avatar 2, it seems that a familiar face is set to return. James Cameron's sci-fi sequel, the first of four follow-up movies, is bringing back Sigourney Weaver as Dr. Grace Augustine.
Weaver, who was Oscar-nominated for her role as Ripley in Cameron's classic Aliens, is pictured on Twitter alongside producer Jon Landau and actor Joel David Moore. The latter returns from the first movie as geeky scientist Norm.
Of course, we have no idea how this works – Grace died in the first Avatar movie, so we might imagine this is from a flashback scene.
Released in 2009, Avatar was Cameron's first film since Titanic. Like the earlier movie, Avatar redefined what was possible at the box office, becoming the most successful film of all time before Avengers: Endgame toppled it in 2019.
The first movie focused on grunt Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), who arrives on the distant planet of Pandora. There, he learns to control a replicated body of one of the natives, known as the Na'Vi, and experiences a crisis of conscience when he falls in love with their culture.
All four Avatar sequels have been shot back to back, and plan to immerse us in the various environments of Pandora. This includes a much-talked-about aquatic realm, whose challenging environment has forced Cameron to break new ground with motion capture technology.
Bear in mind that the first Avatar movie already achieved that – it took 12 years from conception to post-production to bring the film to the big screen, including two intensive years of work on the complicated visual effects.
The end result, mapping the recognisable features of the movie's actors to the blue bodies of the Na'Vi, was hailed as the most impressive motion capture achievement since Gollum first emerged in Lord of the Rings.
Worthington, Moore and Weaver return in Avatar 2 alongside Zoe Saldana as Neytiri, the Na'Vi warrior with whom Jake fell in love. Michelle Yeoh is also part of the cast, playing a human doctor, and Cameron has said that the previous film's villain Quaritch, played by Stephen Lang, will be returning.
The film also reunites Cameron with Titanic actor Kate Winslet, here playing Ronal, the leader of a free-diving clan known as the Metkayina. Winslet has described her character as "pivotal", although we're yet to see what she looks like.
After a series of delays, Avatar 2 is scheduled for release on the 17th of December 2021, with the remaining movies set to hit us on the 22nd of December 2023, the 19th of December 2025, and the 17th of December 2027.
Looking forward to seeing Sigourney Weaver back in the world of Avatar? Let us know @Cineworld.