Stephen Lang: I knew a long time ago that Miles Quaritch would be back in Avatar 2

Stephen Lang: I knew a long time ago that Miles Quaritch would be back in Avatar 2
Photo by Luke Tanis / Unsplash

Actor Stephen Lang has starred in Hollywood movies for 40 years, but his most famous work is his role as Colonel Miles Quaritch in James Cameron's Avatar. Despite a dramatic denouement for his character during the climax of the first series, Lang returns, at least in the sequel titled Avatar 2: The Way of the Water. The actor admitted that he knew for a very long time that Quaritch would be returning, and also noted the differences between the two films.
James told you when you were finishing work on the first Avatar that he was planning to bring you back, given the seemingly definitive fate of your character? What did you think at that moment?
I knew from the beginning that there were plans to bring Quaritch back. Jim told me that a long time ago (after the original film came out). He repeated it in January 2010, saying: "You're coming back." What I didn't know was the extent of my return. I didn't know that Quaritch would be so heavily involved. I only guessed that he would either be reacting to events in some way, or that he would be responsible for events taking place. But he really is a key player in this case. To say, "I wasn't ready," is unlikely. I was excited, absolutely happy to be a part of it again.
How did the storytelling and technology work on these new films differ from what you had before the original 2009 film?
In terms of technology in the first film, Quaritch is a completely real character. The only image capture technology episode I was involved in was the final fight between Neytiri, Jake and myself. In the sequels, I almost never do anything without post-processing. First of all, it was great to get involved with the technology. It's absolutely cutting edge because Cameron had to come up with a new way to shoot underwater. He erected a serious obstacle himself and then effectively overcame it, which was not required in the first film. But essentially, the production processes haven't changed in any way. Some things get easier, but some things, on the contrary, are harder. Playing is never easy.
Did you feel the pressure of having to shoot several sequels at once? Because of the need to surpass the initial success, or is it just business as usual?
We're all striving, and we all remember the degree of success that the first film had. Of course, we have hopes, aspirations and wishes for the second one. The best thing we could have done, and that's what we did: take the first step, keep improving all the processes, and make the best movie possible. I think the re-release of Avatar was a very sensible thing to do, even though it didn't necessarily have to pay off. If it didn't do what it did and didn't get universal acclaim, I think it would have been a disappointment in terms of sequels. But that decision seems to have been very well received by people, which fills us all with hope and anticipation.
Avatar 2: The Way of the Water will be released on December 16, 2022.