Stephen Lang on His Villainous Return in ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’

In 2009’s Avatar, Stephen Lang played Colonel Miles Quaritch whose disdain for the inhabitants of Pandora made him both memorable and hateful. At the film’s end, Quaritch met his fate at the hands of Neytiri making the actor’s return for the sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, an interesting proposition. Director James Cameron stated that the character will be the main antagonist for the next three Avatar films and it was revealed earlier this year that Quaritch’s return came with a twist: his consciousness has been uploaded into a Na’vi avatar.

During the global press event for Avatar: The Way of Water, Lang sounded thrilled for the opportunity to return to the role that gained him some significant cachet in Hollywood.

Oh it was very exciting to come back and it was, I was just so honored to be able to deepen and expand on the vision that Jim had for this character. I think in the first film he’s very, very colorful, he’s got personality, he’s got some great qualities. But essentially he moves through like a mindless shark, in a way.

Stephen Lang

Continuing on, Lang talked a bit about the “irony” of returning as what is known in the film as a Recombinant and how it lead to a new understanding of the character

…There’s the absolute magnificent irony that Jim has written of coming back as the very thing he has been trying to destroy. And having to make the adjustment to that, to adapt to that. And I think it’s just, it’s been a… it was a total pleasure for me to continue to massage this character, and find the depth, and maybe some of the humanity that’s in him.

Stephen Lang

As for that humanity, Quaritch seems like a character who might be fairly hard to redeem. As Lang quipped, “He’s such a warm character, and beloved by so many…” and to that end, there are probably a lot more fans waiting to see him suffer more than anything.

Avatar: The Way of Water will continue the villainous tale of Quaritch when it hits theaters December 16th.

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