Sigourney Weaver is headed back to the planet Pandora for James Cameron's three "Avatar" sequels, Cameron and 20th Century Fox announced Monday. But this time around, Weaver won't be playing the no-nonsense scientist Grace Augustine, who [spoiler alert:] met an untimely end in the 2009 sci-fi blockbuster.
It's unclear, however, what character she will play.
"Sigourney and I have a long creative history, dating back to 1985 when we made 'Aliens,'" Cameron said in a statement. "We're good friends who've always worked well together, so it just feels right that she's coming back for the 'Avatar' sequels."
Cameron added, "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."
Weaver joins returning cast members Sam Worthington as the former Marine Jake Sully, Zoe Saladana as the Na'vi huntress Neytiri and Stephen Lang as the warmongering Col. Miles Quaritch.
Like Weaver's character, the ruthless Quaritch appeared to die in "Avatar," taking two oversized arrows to the chest. When Cameron announced Lang's return last October, he said, "I'm not going to say exactly how we're bringing him back, but it's a science-fiction story, after all."
It's possible that some trace of Augustine could also remain in the sequels, as the character attempted to transfer her consciousness out of her dying human body in the first film.
Cameron is in pre-production on the three follow-up films, which he will shoot concurrently in New Zealand. The first is slated to hit theaters in December 2016, the second a year later and the third in 2018.
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