In 2020, over a decade after the first installment hit theaters, Avatar 2 will be released. Allegedly. The following years will see three more sequels set in the world of Pandora, as director James Cameron is filming all four films back-to-back in New Zealand. Little is know about what shape the series will take, other than the franchise will star the main characters from the first film: Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana).
Now, in an interview with Empire Magazine, Cameron has revealed another character will return for all four future installments: the villainous Colonel Quartich. Played by actor Stephen Lang, Cameron is setting the Colonel up to be the Big Bad™, or at least a recurring villain, in the Avatar world.
“The interesting conceit of the Avatar sequels is it’s pretty much the same characters. There are new characters and a lot of new settings and creatures, so I’m taking characters you know and putting them in unfamiliar places and moving them on this greater journey. But it’s not a whole bunch of new characters every time. There’s not a new villain every time, which is interesting.”
There’s only one problem: Colonel Quartich was killed in Avatar. Well, as dead as anyone can be when you live in a future where you can plug your brain into another meat suit and keep walking around like you didn’t take two giant spears to the chest cavity while piloting a construction mech suit. Cameron obviously didn’t elaborate on how Quartich will return; whether he’ll simply have made a full recovery from the final battle in Avatar or be in a new and improved body (mechanical or otherwise).
However, this reveal by Cameron did once again hammer home for me how little culture impact Avatar has had. Despite being the highest grossing film of all time, little of film stuck in our collective pop culture craw. Without Googling, I’m having a difficult time recalling Quartich’s face, much less his motivations for attacking the Na’vi. Something to do with Unobtanium, I’m sure. But was Quartich just following orders? A rogue agent? Some third thing? I honestly can’t remember.