Actress Zoe Saldana was confirmed to return as Na'Vi Neytiri in all three upcoming Avatar sequels (including Avatar 2, Avatar 3 and Avatar 4) this past week, and now, for the first time, she is talking about returning to her role in one of the biggest franchises of all time. While being given a tour of the sets by director James Cameron, she admits that she got chocked up, as it was an emotional experience she didn't expect. She confirms that the screenplays are not yet completed, but has learned first hand what the producers' plan to do with the sequels, and her role in them.
Here, Zoe Saldana takes us through what it was like to return to the world of Pandora as she got a firsthand look at what fans can expect in 2016.
"I went down to the studio that they've been setting up for the past three years. It was wonderful. Jim took us and gave us a tour of all the reference pictures, telling us the stories. I haven't been able to read the scripts. They're still working on them. We kind of get choked up. Cameron gets emotional telling us about the story. I get emotional hearing about it, so I'm looking forward to it."
We reported in August that James Cameron hired Josh Friedman to write Avatar 2, Shane Salerno to write Avatar 3 and Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver to work on the Avatar 4 script. Although no budget has been disclosed for the sequels, all three are expected to cost over $1 billion to produce over a nine-month period.
When asked if she was surprised that Neytiri will be coming back for all three sequels, Zoe Saldana says she's known about the plans for her return since last fall.
"I knew. I knew for a while. Then it was confirmed last fall when they approached us, already telling us these are the dates, lock yourself, we would like you to start getting ready around this time."
Sam Worthington and Stephen Lang will also return as Jake Sully and Colonel Quantrich, although no other actors from Avatar have been confirmed to reprise their roles at this time. James Cameron revealed in December that the sequels will show fans new environments and cultures within Pandora, including indigenous tribes who live beneath the ocean. It is expected that Sigourney Weaver, whose character Spoiler Alert! died in the original, may also be back in some capacity.