Avatar actor Stephen Lang explains character’s return in The Way of Water – despite having been killed off

Actor Stephen Lang has explained his character’s return in Avatar: The Way of Water, despite having been killed off at the end of the original.

Lang played the nefarious Colonel Miles Quaritch in James Cameron’s record-breaking 2009 blockbuster.

In the film’s climax, Quaritch meets his demise at the hands of Neytiri (Zoe Saldana), after waging war on the indigenous Na’vi population.

Though Lang’s involvement in the forthcoming sequel has been publicly known for a while, it has not been clear how his character could return.

Speaking to Empire, Lang shed some light on the circumstances surrounding Quaritch’s comeback.

Lang will play a “recom” or “recombinant” version of Quaritch – an avatar that has had the Quaritch’s mind and emotions uploaded into it.

“He’s a genetically engineered autonomous avatar,” said Lang. “He has been downloaded with the mind, the emotions, and even more interestingly, possibly the spirit of Quaritch. Now, that’s all pretty esoteric stuff.

“He comes with a full memory bank up until the time he actually undergoes the DNA transfer. So there are certain things that he doesn’t have any memory of at all. He has no memory of his death.”

Lang went on to explain that Quaritch’s presence in the original Avatar was “really a function” – serving the role of the film’s antagonist.

Stephen Lang in ‘Avatar' (Mark Fellman/20th Century Fox)
Stephen Lang in ‘Avatar' (Mark Fellman/20th Century Fox)

“He was a colourful function – a personality-filled function, but he really was there to provide conflict,” Lang added. “Now, he still has that function but I also think, just because of the depths of what Jim is exploring here, he’s quite a bit more than that.

“We’re seeing parts of him that we have not seen hitherto. That only makes sense because we don’t want to be massaging the same territory over and over again. We need to go to new places and indeed he does.”

While no reviews for Avatar: The Way of Water have been published so far, filmmaker Guillermo del Toro was able to give fans his verdict on the new movie.

It will be released in cinemas – in 3D – on 16 December.