20th Century Fox

20th Century Fox

It’s not exactly a surprise that Sigourney Weaver would be showing up again in the Avatar universe for the remaining three (count em!) sequels, but the question of how she’d manage to do so has been somewhat puzzling, seeing as she (gentle spoilers for a five-year-old film) died at the end of the first film. Dr. Grace Augustine may have been hit by a bullet from an angry Quaritch while his men are destroying the Hometree, but according to director and writer James Cameron, that doesn’t mean that Weaver’s talents can’t be used elsewhere.

In the production that begins later this year (all three sequels will be shot concurrently), Deadline reports that Weaver will join her previous costars Zoe Saldana (Neytiri), Sam Worthington (Jake) and Stephen Lang (Quaritch), who interestingly, was also killed at the end of the first film. It is still unknown what the plot of any of these sequels (again, three!) will detail, but knowing Cameron and knowing his penchant for going big or going home, whatever he’s set up for Weaver and her cohorts will be grandiose and sprawling. As he told Deadline, his decades-long relationship with the actress means that she’s pretty much down for anything he throws at her creatively. Even if that means coming back to a series where her character is already dead, as someone completely new:

“Sigourney and I have a long creative history, dating back to 1985 when we made Aliens,” Cameron said. “We’re good friends who’ve always worked well together, so it just feels right that she’s coming back for the Avatar sequels. Her character of Grace Augustine, as fans know, died in the first movie, so she’s playing a different and in many ways more challenging character in the upcoming films. We’re both looking forward to this new creative challenge, the latest chapter in our long and continuing collaboration.”

Now, as Cameron has said even himself, the sci-fi world is open to many a possibility when it comes to opening up worlds, and wormholes, and different timelines. There are versions of her character to be explored; she could be a clone or spirit or anything that Cameron sees fit to conjure up. After all, Pandora isn’t exactly working on the same plane as our own universe; who’s to say that anyone who dies is really, truly dead? Perhaps the Grace Augustine we knew in the first film died, but she’ll come back as a strange, (maybe blue), unrecognizable version of herself?

The first Avatar sequel is due to drop December 2016, so we’ll have plenty of time to think about what Cameron’s plotting.

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