Before it hit theaters, Avatar, which has amassed $1.3 billion at the worldwide box office, seemed to many in Hollywood like a crazy gamble. But not only did director James Cameron always believe that the film would be a hit — he was even planning a sequel during production. “I’ve had a storyline in mind from the start — there are even scenes in Avatar that I kept in because they lead to the sequel,” Cameron says. “It just makes sense to think of it as a two or three film arc, in terms of the business plan. The CG plants and trees and creatures and the musculo-skeletal rigging of the main characters — that all takes an enormous amount of time to create. It’d be a waste not to use it again.” Sam Worthington is already signed to play Jake Sully again, and he e-mailed EW some plot suggestions for the sequel: “Jake should have abused his avatar and be fat and unfit and demand Neyteri to get him a beer.” Even actors whose characters got killed at the end of the movie are keen on a repeat performance. “You think those two arrows in my chest are going to stop me from coming back?” barks Stephen Lang, who plays the evil Colonel Miles Quaritch. “Nothing’s over so long as they’ve got my DNA.”

For more on Avatar, plus what’s next for the film’s cast members, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands January 15th.

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