The long-awaited sequel to 2009’s mega-hit Avatar looks ready to finally begin filming, according to star Stephen Lang.
Lang was speaking at a panel at Wizard World Comic Con Chicago to promote his new horror film Don’t Breathe, which opens in wide release this Friday, Aug. 26.
Panel host Bruce Campbell, a longtime friend and collaborator of Don’t Breathe producer Sam Raimi, asked about the extent to which filming the delayed Avatar sequels would fill the veteran actor’s schedule for the next few years.
“As the New Year turns, we start to shoot for the Avatar sequels,” Lang said. “I think that the whole process of making the films and opening the films will go to about 2023.”
After Avatar pulled in an astronomical $2.7 billion at the box office — it remains biggest moneymaker of all time — the sequel was at one point expected as early as 2014. That date was later pushed back to 2016, and earlier this year Cameron announced that the second Avatar would be finally released in 2018, with three additional sequels to follow.
Lang will reprise his role as Colonel Miles Quaritch, Avatar’s villain who appeared definitively dead at the end of the film after taking several huge Na’vi arrows through his chest. Despite that setback, Quaritch is expected to be resurrected in some way and will appear in all the remaining sequels.
“His character will evolve into really unexpected places across the arc of our new three-film saga,” Cameron told Deadline in 2013.
Campbell, wearing a Joker-themed purple suit with a green shirt and socks, asked Lang about Cameron’s directing style.
“Is he the bossiest director you ever worked with?” Campbell asked. “Because he seems like a bossy, bossy, bossy director.”
“Michael Mann is bossier than Jim,” said Lang, who worked with Mann on 2009’s Public Enemies and 1986’s Manhunter. “Cameron is really the Leonardo of our age.”