James Cameron recently opened up a bit about Avatar 2 while on hand to receive his "Breakthrough Award" from Popular Mechanics, in honor of his achievements in film technology.
Sigourney Weaver was the one who actually introduced Cameron for his award, so naturally, the Avatar 2 talk ventured into the area of Weaver's character, Dr. Grace Augustine, and her rumored return for the sequel [Spoiler Alert]... despite the fact that her character seemingly died in the first installment.
In the forthcoming quotes, Cameron tries to play coy about Dr. Augustine's return in Avatar 2 - a tactic which is totally undermined by the fact that Weaver herself said in another interview that she knows the stories for both Avatar 2 and Avatar 3, and that she would indeed be back. Check out the old quote from Weaver below:
“Don’t worry, I will be back. [James Cameron] says no one ever dies in science fiction. He’s told me the stories for the next two movies and I have to say that they’re absolutely wonderful and there’s a real treat in store. Now we just have to make them.”
Keep that in mind as you read through what Cameron now had to say to Vulture:
Did I say she was going to be in Avatar 2? [Grins.]...Well, I don’t want to disabuse her of that fantasy. But have you ever heard of nonlinear storytelling? A lot happens on that planet before she shows up, and before Jake shows up to join her. She’s there for fifteen years ahead of time. I don’t know, but I wouldn’t jump to conclusions. And I’ve already said way too much about Avatar 2 and 3 here and there, but people piece it together like those voice cameos and tell the whole story!...When you have a science-fiction series, a science-fiction franchise, you’re never dead, unless your DNA is expunged from the universe. And then there’s always time travel!
Notice how that 'you're never dead in sci-fi' idea is echoed in both quotes? Interesting coincidence, or PR slip-up? You decide.
Cameron didn't just talk about Dr. Augustine - he also touched on broader and more interesting topics such as where the Avatar sequels fit in Cameron's busy schedule, what 3D tech he'll develop for them, and the future of the Avatar brand beyond the films. Check out those quotes in the full interview over at Vulture.
In regards to Sigourney Weaver returning for more Avatar: as Cameron said, there are indeed such things as non-linear storytelling (flashbacks), and this is Pandora we're talking about - a place where no spiritually-sound being really dies, so much as they move on to join "Eywa." And, as indicated by the very title - in the world of these films, a body is only temporary in face of an enduring spirit. There are many ways that Grace could be brought back that wouldn't be nearly as problematic as, say, Angelina Jolie's character returning from the dead in Wanted 2 (a plot point that has thankfully been abandoned).
Avatar 2 is slated for release sometime in December of 2014; Avatar 3 would follow a year later.