Stephen Lang Teases Quaritch's Return and the Challenges of Filming 'Avatar' Sequels (Exclusive)

Despite dying in the first film, Lang’s Colonel Quaritch will be back — and spending a lot of time underwater — in the sequels.

A little over 11 years after the first “Avatar” movie, the franchise is still finding ways to shatter box office records … before a single sequel has hit theaters.

Over the past ten days, the 2009 movie has reclaimed its top-grossing film of all time title from “Avengers: Endgame,” following a rerelease in China. During the movie’s initial run, it became the biggest blockbuster ever, only to be bested by Marvel and “Endgame’s” $2.79 billion haul. This week, however, “Avatar” got back on top with $2.83 billion and counting.

Four sequels are on the horizon, all in various stages of development and with a number of the original cast members returning. TooFab caught up with one of them, Stephen Lang, this week, where he shared his reaction to reclaiming the crown and teased his appearance in the future films.

“I remember when ‘Avengers’ overtook it. There was kind of a feeling kind of like, ‘Oh.’ It was just kind of a little twinge, you know, it’s cool,” he said. “And then I remember [producers James Cameron and Jon Landau] put out a full page in the trades, congratulating Marvel on it and that was the right, that’s cool, that’s the right thing to do.”

“So, it was a total surprise the other day when we were back in first place,” he added. “I was like, ‘Yeah, that felt good.’ But wouldn’t make too much of it, it’s a nice place to be.”

It’s also pretty nice to be included in all four upcoming sequels, especially after Lang’s character Colonel Miles Quaritch seemingly died in the first one. Cameron previously confirmed he’ll be the main villain across the future films — the first of which we know will include a ton of underwater sequences.

“That character … I love the Colonel and he wears well on me. I feel like he, whenever I get into gear and just get on the set, I feel like the character is there,” said Lang of returning. “And the underwater stuff is interesting too because, I would say, that the water is not naturally in that character’s element.”

“There are beings in Avatar who, when they’re in the water, that’s just where they wanna be, that’s just what they’re doing, but I would say less so for Colonel,” he added. “A lot of times if he’s in the water, he’s trying to get out of the water. Working on it’s a kick, just working on it was amazing. Just learning the skill involved, that was a full-time job — like going to school.”

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Considering it’s taken this long to get a second movie released and the production involved in the additional sequels, it’s no wonder Lang has said juggling the world of Pandora with his other work — he’ll be seen in this week’s new release “The Seventh Day” and a sequel to “Don’t Breathe” this year — has been slightly challenging.

“There have been times during the whole process where it has been a little challenging or complicated because I might be really in the middle of something with Avatar, that we’ve just spent three months on, but now I know I’m going to be off for three months before they get back to me, for whatever reason,” he explained. “And so, kind of keeping that fire burning, or in the back burner is something you have to manage.”

“You really have to sometimes turn it so far down that it might as well be off because you get deeply involved in another thing,” he continued. “But it’s been going on for a while and it ain’t done yet, so I’ve learned to manage it.”

He said he has regular check-ins with the filmmakers and that’s been something that’s just become part of his planning and preparation for “everything” at this point. Lang added the ongoing series also means he has to keep the Colonel’s intimidating figure.

“I can’t really fall out of shape until I’ve made it to Avatar 5, it gives you great incentive to stay in shape,” he said. “There are roles that are different from that and you can kind of go in a different direction, physically and mentally for a month or so. Avatar is just a constant.”

Lang’s latest, “The Seventh Day,” is in select theaters and On Demand March 26. “Avatar 2” is set for a December 16, 2021 release, with additional sequels out December 2024, 2026 and 2028.

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