Stephen Lang says that James Cameron's Avatar sequels will very much have "political parallels" to events in the real world. The original Avatar didn't exactly shy away from politics either, with its story about humans exploiting the alien moon Pandora and waging war against its native population, the Na'vi. Cameron's movie was also a monster hit at the box office that grossed a record-obliterating $2.79 billion in theaters around the globe, thanks to its then-cutting edge blend of CGI, motion-capture, and 3D filmmaking techniques.
It took eight years, but Cameron's Avatar sequels (Avatar 2 and 3, anyway) finally began shooting last year. Plot details are still being kept mostly under wraps at this point, but it has been confirmed that the sequels will focus in no small amount on now fulltime-Na'vi Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), as well as Jake and Neytiri's still-young offspring. Cameron has further suggested that the Avatar sequels, like their predecessor, will dive into timely political issues - much like what Lang told us on the set of the film Mortal Engines.
Despite the character's apparent death in the first Avatar, Lang is reprising his role as the hard-edged, heavily-scarred Colonel Miles Quaritch in Cameron's upcoming sequels. While Lang is (naturally) staying tight-lipped about how, exactly, Quaritch returns from the dead, he hasn't refrained from hyping the Avatar sequels' underwater settings and bigger scope, among other things. He also had this to say on the Mortal Engines set last year, when Screen Rant asked him about the Avatar sequels' political overtones.
"It kind of goes with the territory that journalists will and should kind of find the - draw political parallels from anything. They certainly will with Avatar. There's no question about that. And I think with this one, you know, absolutely."
It stands to reason that humankind won't be done trying to claim Pandora's resources by the time the Avatar sequels pick up, even after their defeat (or, rather, forced withdrawal from the moon) at the end of the first movie. Cameron has further indicated that Quaritch will serve as the main villain throughout all four Avatar sequels, signaling that for him the mission to retake Pandora will be personal as much as anything else. At the same time though, the director has dropped hints about Quaritch's arc in the films, suggesting that he might not be as clear-cut a bad guy this time around.
Either way, it will be interesting to see if the Avatar sequels draw any clear parallels between Quaritch and certain people in the real world, in the way that Lang suggested. The Quaritch character may indeed prove to be central to how the films build on the original Avatar's environmental concerns, along with its metaphors about the exploitation of indigenous populations in human history. Considering that Avatar has long been criticized for taking a heavy-handed and regressive approach to those topics, one just hopes the sequels are a bit smarter about how they go about tackling the same issues.
- 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