Michelle Yeoh has officially joined the cast of James Cameron’s Avatar sequels. It’s been ten years (though it feels longer) since Cameron’s original Avatar hit theaters, ushering in a new era of 3D filmmaking and obliterating box office records on its way to a massive $2.79 billion worldwide gross. The franchise will finally return in 2020 with what could potentially be the first of four sequels, all of which are being directed and co-written by Cameron, and feature the stars of the first Avatar (yes, including the ones whose characters died).
Suffice it to say, Cameron’s Avatar sequels could give Disney another sci-fi juggernaut to go with Star Wars, now that the studio’s finalized its purchase of Fox’s assets (and the Avatar franchise with them). The films won’t be hurting for star power either, having added actors like Kate Winslet and seemingly Vin Diesel to their ensemble over the last two years. They’re now gained another big name with more than their fair share of experience working on genre fare and tentpoles.
HR is reporting that Yeoh has signed on for the Avatar sequels, where she’ll play a human scientist named Dr. Karina Mogue. Cameron confirmed the news in a statement, saying “Throughout her career, Michelle has always created unique and memorable characters. I look forward to working with [her] to do the same thing on the Avatar sequels”.
As famous as Michelle Yeoh is for her roles in martial arts films like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and its sequel (not to mention, this month’s Master Z: Ip Man Legacy), she’s really begun to branch out into the world of sci-fi of late. Her previous work in the genre includes a turn in Danny Boyle’s Sunshine and her cameo as Aleta Ogord in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2, in addition to her leading role(s) as Philippa Georgiou on Star Trek: Discovery. She’s now set to star in her own Star Trek TV series spinoff, and may yet reprise her Guardians role in Guardians of the Galaxy 3 in a few years. Between all of that and the Avatar sequels, we’re going to be see a lot more of Yeoh in outer space in the foreseeable future.
All in all, her casting in the Avatar sequels is exciting news, even if her role ends up being supporting only. Cameron is gearing up to start production on the movies’ live-action scenes, which explains the recent uptick in casting updates for the films. That also makes it difficult to say if Yeoh’s role will be minor or fairly significant in nature. Scientists are typically more trustworthy and noble than other humans in the Avatar universe, so there’s a fair chance that Dr. Mogue will be one of the heroes in the sequels, as opposed to an antagonist or villain. Beyond that, Yeoh’s character is yet another piece to the massive puzzle that is the Avatar sequels right now.