James Cameron’s Avatar sequels have added Game of Thrones actor Brendan Cowell to the cast. Released in 2009, the original Avatar revolutionized digital visual effects on its way to conquering the worldwide box office with a record haul of $2.7 billion. Over 10 years after the first Avatar, Cameron will revisit Pandora for the first of four planned sequels, which are collectively set to cost over $1 billion to produce.
As with the original Avatar, the sequels will push the boundaries of visual effects even further. Avatar 2 (which will reportedly carry the title The Way of Water) will introduce a new undersea environment on Pandora, populated by a group called the reef people. In addition to the new sea-dwellers, the sequels will bring back several major characters from the original film, including Zoe Saldana’s Neytiri, Sam Worthington’s Jake Sully, Sigourney Weaver’s Grace Augustine and Stephen Lang’s Miles Quaritch. The films are expected to once again delve into environmental themes, while also telling a multi-generational story Cameron has likened to The Godfather.
With Cameron still hard at work shooting live-action footage for his films, Deadline reports that Brendan Cowell has now been added to the Avatar cast. Cowell will reportedly play a character named Mick Scoresby, described as the captain of a private sector marine hunting vessel. Cowell will shoot his scenes in New Zealand this May.
The Australian Cowell is best known state-side, and just about everywhere else, for his role as Harrag in season 7 of HBO’s Game of Thrones. On the show, Harrag survived Euron Greyjoy’s attack on the Targaryen fleet, later arriving in Dragonstone where he challenged Theon Greyjoy and ended up getting a beatdown for his troubles. Theon of course then embarked on a mission to rescue his sister Yara from Euron, in a storyline that is presumably set to be resolved in the upcoming final Game of Thrones season. In addition to Game of Thrones, Cowell has also appeared on the Showtime series The Borgias as well as the BBC1 series Press.
As big as Game of Thrones may be in terms of scope, Cowell is entering a whole new realm by stepping into Cameron’s massively ambitious and expensive series of four Avatar sequels. It will be interesting to see if Cameron’s science fiction fantasy vision still resonates with audiences over a decade after the original film first stunned moviegoers with its state-of-the-art visuals and sprawling story. CGI spectacle has become much more commonplace since 2009, and Cameron may have an uphill climb when it comes to re-engaging audiences who have grown somewhat jaded when it comes to feats of visual wizardry.