Stephen Lang's Colonel Quaritch is back in Avatar: The Way of Water as seen in a new image from the film. The image, released via Empire, sees Lang playing the same character he played in the original, record-breaking Avatar film from 2009 (which is set to return to theaters in September, just a few months before the sequel debuts). However, Quaritch is now in Na'vi form. As Lang tells the magazine, "He's bigger, he's bluer, he's pissed off. But there may possibly be an aspect of humility. When you take two Na'vi arrows in the chest, that's gonna have some kind of effect on you."
Lang goes on to say that transformation goes beyond appearance. "[He] was always a character who moved in straight lines and at right angles," Lang says. "But now he is as lithe as they come. He can move with the same kind of cunning and feral quality that any of the Na'vi can."
Quaritch's return has been a long time coming, but now Avatar is ready to return for the long hall. Director James Cameron described the process as comparable to adapting The Lord of the Rings, but with the added challenge of having to come up with the source material himself.
"What I said to the Fox regime at the time was, 'I'll do it, but we've got to play a larger game here. I don't want to just do a movie and do a movie and do a movie. I want to tell a bigger story'," Cameron told Empire of his original pitch for the Avatar sequels. "I said, 'Imagine a series of novels like The Lord of the Rings existed, and we're adapting them.' Now, that was great in theory, but then I had to go create the frickin' novels from which to adapt it."
Avatar: The Way of Water releases later this year and is the first of four planned Avatar sequels. The fourth and fifth films; releases will depend on the success of The Way of Water and its still-untitled follow-up.
"The big issue is: Are we going to make any damn money?" Cameron told Entertainment Weekly in December 2021. "Big, expensive films have got to make a lot of money. We're in a new world post-COVID, post-streaming. Maybe those [box office] numbers will never be seen again. Who knows? It's all a big roll of the dice."
Avatar: The Way of Water opens in theaters on December 16th.