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After years of sitting in production purgatory, it's beginning to look like the Avatar sequels might actually happen. Real living humans are claiming that filming is about to get started and all four of the upcoming movies have been given release dates. Now, the first actor who wasn't in the original film has reportedly been cast. Fear the Walking Dead's Cliff Curtis has signed on to not just appear in Avatar 2 but all four of the scheduled sequels. If this keeps up I may actually believe these movies are really coming.
The news from Entertainment Weekly goes beyond simple casting and actually gives is a bit of detail about who Cliff Curtis will be playing, which in turn gives us the smallest piece of information about the story itself. According to the news, Curtis will play the part of Tonowari, the leader of the reef people clan called Metkayina. While this doesn't tell us a great deal, it at least confirms that there are different tribes of Na'vi beyond the one we met in the first film, and that we will be meeting at least one of them in the next film.
Way back at the beginning of this decade, when we thought Avatar 2 was coming sooner rather than later, James Cameron said that that Avatar 2 would take place primarily within the oceans of Pandora. While we've heard essentially nothing about the plot of the next film since then, the fact that the reef people will be part of the story would seem to indicate that there's a good chance that plot is still intact. Considering how much time it took James Cameron to get his script right, it was possible that things had changed over the last seven years.
Cliff Curtis joins returning stars Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana, as well as, somehow, Sigourney Weaver and Stephen Lang, who will both be back even though they didn't survive the first movie. We would expect that this first piece of new casting news for Avatar 2 will be the first of several announcements. Since production is reportedly underway on all four sequels at once, that means that casting is likely being handled right now for roles that may not even appear for a sequel or two.
Avatar 2 has been given so many different release dates that I've honestly forgotten what year it was first supposed to come out in. However, it's now set for a December 2020 release, with Avatar 3 set for a year later. Then we'll get a break before Avatar 4 and 5 are released in 2024 and 2025 respectively.
Considering the likely massive production schedule, and the fact that Cliff Curtis is on a show where people tend to die, one has to wonder if he'll survive there much longer. Either way, fans will get to see him on the big screen as a Na'vi, eventually.