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In a move that should surprise nobody, 20th Century Fox has made a deal with both Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana to have them reprise their roles as Jake Sully and Neytiri in not only Avatar 2, but also Avatar 3 and Avatar 4. Up until this point the only actor actually attached to all of the movies in the franchise was Stephen Lang, who will play the "Darth Vader" of the series and the central antagonist.
The Hollywood Reporter first posted the news about Worthington and Saldana, though they don't have any details regarding exactly what the new movies will be about. Insider sources have told them that Sully and Neytiri will actually have kids together in the first sequel, but there's no information about what kind of role they will play in the plot. James Cameron is co-writing all three of the new films with Josh Friedman, duo Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, and Shane Salerno, and reports from last October said that production is being scheduled to start this fall. The sequels will be shooting back-to-back-to-back, and Fox is planning to release them in successive Decembers starting in 2016.
Interestingly, the article makes only a passing reference to Sigourney Weaver. Back in February 2010 - when Avatar was still in theaters and blowing up at the box office - the actress revealed that there were plans to resurrect her character, Grace, from the dead. Presumably Cameron is still planning on bringing her back, but it's possible that Fox is still trying to work out a contract.
Since getting his big break with Avatar in 2009, Worthington has been keeping busy with a mix of both small dramas and blockbusters like the Clash of the Titans series. Last year his only film in theaters was the surfing movie Drift, but he has a number of projects in store for 2014, including the Civil War thriller The Keeping Room and David Ayer's action flick Sabotage.
While Worthington's work has mostly kept him on planet Earth, Saldana has dug out a nice niche for herself as one of science fiction's go-to actresses. In addition to playing Uhura in both J.J. Abrams' Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, this summer she will be covered from head to toe in green body makeup to play the alien assassin Gamora in James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy. She was most recently part of the fantastic ensemble collected in Scott Cooper's dark drama Out of The Furnace.
If Fox is making deals with Avatar's stars, that may mean it won't be too long until we start hearing about new additions to the franchise. If you were casting the movie, who would you want to see take a part?