What's Going On With Avatar's Villain, According To Stephen Lang

Quaritch going in for the kill in Avatar

We still don't know much about the plot of the upcoming Avatar sequels, but one puzzling thing we do know is that among the cast are a few actors whose characters were presumed dead at the end of the first film. Among those actors is Stephen Lang, who played the merciless Colonel Miles Quaritch. Stephen Lang recently shed a little light on what is going on with his villain in the Avatar sequels, saying:

I can tell you that we're deeply, deeply into the shooting. We're by no means finished. Quaritch, his place in this particular universe has gotten more complicated. And that's kind of the extent of his involvement in the world. The world begins to -- the world of Pandora -- begins to affect him quite deeply in ways that he either refused or it did not affect him. And it gets under his skin.

The Quaritch we saw in 2009 was very much a standard villain. He was inflexible in his views, and the only thing that really changed over the course of the movie was the amount of force he chose to exert to achieve his desired outcome. Based on Stephen Lang's comments to Slashfilm, it sounds like the villain will have a much different story in the Avatar sequels and one that actually digs into his psyche as a character.

In the first Avatar, Quaritch knew his job, his goals and the role he was meant to play on Pandora. As Stephen Lang says, his place has now gotten more complicated. And I have to imagine that that has something to do with the fact that he is no longer dead, even though he almost certainly was after taking a couple Na'vi arrows dipped in neurotoxin to the chest at the end of the first film.

We've been wondering since it was announced that Stephen Lang was returning how exactly Quaritch will come back from that. James Cameron hasn't revealed how he will come back, but has reminded everyone that this is a science fiction story. Couple that with Stephen Lang's comments here, and it sounds to me like Quaritch might be brought back by Pandora itself.

Stephen Lang says that Pandora will affect him deeply, and what happens gets under his skin. So I'm thinking that somehow, the biology on Pandora, which borders on magic, will revive Quaritch. But he will not be the man he once was, at least, not entirely. The only problem with this is that the first film showed Pandora and Eywa as sentient, so why would it bring back someone hell-bent on hurting it?

Quaritch has been described as the Darth Vader of the sequels, and James Cameron has said that the character will "evolve" over the course of the saga. Whatever brings Quaritch back may slowly take over him, and see him evolve into something that is more Pandora than man, much as Anakin became more machine than man.

This would definitely create an interesting internal struggle for the character, and that sounds like Stephen Lang is describing. In such a scenario, Quaritch would be brought back and be benefitting from the very thing he is trying to destroy. If whatever brings him back also confers upon him new powerful abilities, that could explain how he'll prove a foe for Jake Sully and his family over the course of 3-5 films.

Moviegoers still have a ways to go to find out. Principal photography is finished but as Stephen Lang says, the films are by no means completed. There is still a ton of work to be done on these blockbusters before they awaken from cryosleep in 2020 to dominate the box office.

Avatar 2 arrives on December 18, 2020. For movies arriving a little bit sooner, check out our 2019 Release Schedule.

Nick Evans

Nick grew up in Maryland has degrees in Film Studies and Communications. His life goal is to walk the earth, meet people and get into adventures. He’s also still looking for The Adventures of Pete and Pete season 3 on DVD if anyone has a lead.