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It came as a surprise to absolutely nobody when it was announced early last week that both Zoe Saldana and Sam Worthington would officially be coming back for James Cameron's Avatar 2, but as humdrum as the news was for us, it went double for the actors involved in the story. Why? Because apparently they have already known for months that the upcoming sequel would see the return of Jake Sully and Neytiri.
Saldana is currently down in Park City, Utah where she is helping debut the new film Infinitely Polar Bear (which had its world premiere this past Saturday), and while speaking with MTV the actress revealed that she has already been in pre-production for Avatar 2 for months now. Asked about last week's announcement, Saldana said, "I knew. I knew for a while. Then it was confirmed last fall when they approached us, already telling us these are the dates, lock yourself, we would like you to start getting ready around this time."
More than just organizing her shooting schedule, however, she has already made a trip down to where the massive production will be taking place, getting her head around what to expect. That said, she still hasn't seen an actual script just yet, but she does already have an emotional connection to the story just through what the project's director has told her about. Said Saldana,
"I went down to the studio that they've been setting up for the past three years. It was wonderful. Jim took us and gave us a tour of all the reference pictures, telling us the stories. I haven't been able to read the scripts. They're still working on them. We kind of get choked up. [Cameron] gets emotional telling us about the story. I get emotional hearing about it, so I'm looking forward to it."
In addition to Saldana and Worthington, the new movie is also set to see the return of both Stephen Lang's Miles Quaritch and Sigourney Weaver's Grace Augustine (even though both characters were seen dying on screen in the first film). With release dates carved out in December 2016, 2017 and 2018, the plan is to shoot the first three Avatar sequels back-to-back-to-back. Cameron is working on all three of the scripts along with screenwriters Josh Friedman, duo Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, and Shane Salerno. Production is expected to start up late this year, and you can start getting in the mood watching the trailer below:
Before heading back to Pandora for another run as Neytiri, Saldana will be seen starring as a completely different kind of alien in James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy, which will be out this August. The Marvel Studios film also stars Chris Pratt, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, Benicio Del Toro, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Peter Serafinowicz and Gregg Henry.