Despite being nearly a decade removed from Avatar, James Cameron has had no problems rounding up the original cast to return for Avatar 2. A lot of people from the original film are back on board for the sequel, whether their characters were heroes or villains, dead or alive. The latest actor to reprise his role from 2009's Avatar is Dileep Rao. The actor played Dr. Max Patel in the original film, a scientist working in the Avatar program who comes to side with Jake Sully and help him in his fight against Colonel Quaritch.

Dileep Rao is the latest actor to be announced for the next entry of the Avatar franchise, which is hoping to recapture the magic of the original film that still stands as the highest grossing film of all time. After many delays and false starts, Avatar 2 finally began production last September and this latest casting reported by Deadline is just another sign that things are really ramping up, and that this movie is actually going to happen and might even meet its current release date. With virtually no real plot details about Avatar 2, other than death doesn't matter, it is impossible to say how Dr. Max Patel will factor in to the upcoming film. Those who defended the Na'vi and Pandora from Quaritch were allowed to remain, while the rest of the military and civilian personnel of the Resources Development Administration were sent packing back to Earth. One imagines that Dr. Patel will still be a part of what remains of the Avatar program while continuing to defend the Na'vi and exploring Pandora in an ethically responsible way.

With Avatar 2 and 3 definitely happening, and the potential for Avatar 4 and 5, Dileep Rao may be hanging out on Pandora for quite some time, and he'll be in good company while he does. With the sequel films now in production, the cast has filled out with both new and returning faces. Dileep Rao will join most of the original cast, including Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana and Sigourney Weaver. The expectation is that these sequel films will branch out and continue to explore the beautiful Eden of Pandora and its various peoples. As such, the ensemble continues to swell with newcomers including, Kate Winslet, Oona Chaplin and Cliff Curtis.

The first Avatar film was an unprecedented success, but these sequels may have even more riding on them. The reported budget is astronomical, and the media landscape and the relevance of Avatar in pop culture has changed since the first film. Originally a Fox film, the Avatar sequels should have a huge future if the Disney and Fox deal goes through. There is already an Avatar themed land at Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom, and the success of this franchise would continue to drive fans to that destination.

In addition to Avatar, Dileep Rao has also been seen in Inception and Drag Me To Hell. Avatar 2 is currently scheduled to arrive in theaters on December 18, 2020. For movies hitting theaters a little sooner, you can check out our 2018 release schedule.

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