Sigourney Weaver is more than ready to head back to Pandora again… and again… and again.
“There’s a very good reason why it turned out to be four sequels,” she tells EW of the sequels planned for James Cameron’s 2009 sci-fi drama Avatar. “Having read all four of them, I think they’re absolutely extraordinary and worth the wait.”
Weaver calls the follow-ups, which will star Game of Thrones alum Oona Chaplin, “a big, big story” that examines the same issues around race and the environment the original did. “These films are very much about the peril of this beautiful planet, and [Cameron] is continuing the same themes of greed and callousness of the corporations and plight of the indigenous people,” she explains. “At this point after a long and very satisfying career — I can’t believe it’s been 40 years, but anyway — I’m very excited to be able to work on these four stories.” She laughs. “I can really, really appreciate it.”
And though Weaver’s character Dr. Grace Augustine died in the first film (and she’s keeping mum on how exactly she’ll return), she says she’ll begin working on the sequels this summer. “I love the way we’re doing them, we’re kind of doing 2 and 3 simultaneously and it’s going to work very well,” she says. “A lot of the heavy lifting has already been done in 1, opening up the world and the characters and everything and I think that Jim has had a wonderful time writing these four, and it’s going to be very exciting bringing them to life.”
“It’s the most ambitious project by far I’ve ever been involved in, and the most moving, the most astonishing, beautiful,” she adds, pointing out that movie technology has once again advanced since Avatar ushered in an age of 3-D filmmaking. “I think all of us who get to be a part of it are just in awe when we see the artwork. It’s just incredible to be living now when we can bring this kind of film experience to the public. Because I think as much as Avatar changed what people want in a film experience, this goes a hundred times farther.”
Still, fans of Avatar will have to wait years to see the Na’vi again: The first sequel has been slated to hit theaters on Dec. 18, 2020, the second on Dec. 17, 2021, the third on Dec. 20, 2024, and the fourth a whopping eight years from now, in Dec. 19, 2025. In the meantime, visitors to Walt Disney World can experience Pandora in the newly unveiled World of Avatar.