While we're still three years away from release of Avatar 2, the franchise is slowly revealing the cast members for the sequels and another actress is returning to reprise her key role from the first movie. CCH Pounder played one of the primary Na'vi characters in the 2009 film, and her involvement in the sequels has just been confirmed.
Director James Cameron announced the scheduled filming of four sequels to Avatar last year, and since then the films have been slowly coming together. Cameron insisted that instead of each sequel being filmed back-to-back, they would be treated like one big production and filmed accordingly. The four films have been given firm release dates running from 2020 to 2025, and many of the primary cast from Avatar were all tapped to return to Pandora and their previous roles. The involvement of Sigourney Weaver was announced despite her character having died, with the inference that she would play someone new. Zoe Saldana is just about to start filming her scenes, and Joel David Moore will also be re-joining the crew along with the lead Sam Worthington.
Another returning cast member is now added to that list according to a report from Deadline. CCH Pounder played Mo'at, the spiritual leader of the main Na'vi populace on Pandora. More significantly she was also consort to the clan leader himself, and the mother of Neytiri who was played by Saldana. Pounder will be playing Mo'at once again in Avatar 2 and also in the later sequels.
In Avatar, like Saldana and all the other native Na'vi characters, Pounder acted via motion capture and state-of-the-art (in 2009) CG work. She is better known in her human guise for her regular role in NCIS: New Orleans, and for several high-profile movies like The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones, and Prizzi's Honor. She also regularly voices the character of Amanda Waller in several Warner Bros. DC animated movies and the Batman: Arkham video games.
The fact that Cameron is attempting to get so many of the original cast into the sequels, is a sure sign that the director is hoping to recapture as much of the original magic as he can. Theoretically, due to the extensive use of motion capture many of the Na'vi roles could fairly easily be taken by different actors. But when your original film set the all-time record for box-office takings, then you really want to get the casting as perfect as possible.
Though many think that Avatar is one of those movies that hasn't aged well, and we've all been dumbfounded by the quality of motion capture work in the likes of War for the Planet of the Apes, Cameron is doing his utmost to ensure that we'll be flocking into to the cinemas to see the magnificent surroundings of Pandora once again. He's even teased the possibility of glasses-free 3D. But at least his attention to detail and commitment to recreating that initial buzz of excitement, means that we'll keep a close eye on the progress of Avatar 2 and its many successors.
- Avatar 2 (2021) release date: Dec 17, 2021
- Avatar 3 (2023) release date: Dec 22, 2023
- Avatar 4 (2025) release date: Dec 19, 2025
- Avatar 5 (2027) release date: Dec 17, 2027