EXCLUSIVE: Even though Stephen Lang‘s Col. Miles Quaritch character seemed to have run his course in 20th Century Fox’s Avatar, director James Cameron has revealed that Lang is not only returning for the sequel, he’s going to be part of the next three films. It sounds like he’s the closest thing to a mix between Star Wars‘ Darth Vader and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator character. “Steven was so memorable in the first film, we’re privileged to have him back,” Cameron said. “I’m not going to say exactly how we’re bringing him back, but it’s a science fiction story, after all. His character will evolve into really unexpected places across the arc of our new three-film saga. I really look forward to working with such a gifted actor, who’s also become a good friend.”

Cameron has been working out brainy plot details throughout his career — how many times has the time travel concept from the original Terminator film been swiped over the years — so I’ll bet he’s come up with something thrilling. As for Lang, he’s been turning in memorable performances since going back to the Michael Mann TV series Crime Story and in character roles in films like White Irish Drinkers. Good on Lang, who’s repped by Innovative.

Related: ‘Avatar’ Sequels Upped To 3; Trio Of Writers Set To Spearhead

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Deadline revealed that Cameron was going to shoot three movies one after the other, and that he had set War Of The Worlds scribe Josh Friedman to write one, Rise Of Planet Of The Apes’ Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver to write another and Salinger writer-director Shane Salerno to script the third in what is the most ambitious production schedule since Peter Jackson shot The Lord Of The Rings and The Hobbit trilogies in succession.