But director declines to reveal exactly how...

James Cameron has hired Stephen Lang to appear in all three Avatar sequels.

Lang played the main villain, Colonel Miles Quaritch, in Cameron’s original Avatar film and though his character seemed to meet a grisly end Cameron has hatched some kind of plan to revive him.

“Steven was so memorable in the first film, we’re privileged to have him back,” Cameron told Deadline. “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.”

Sam Worthington, who starred as Jake Sully in the original Avatar film, said last week (October 21) that production on Avatar 2 will begin in October 2014 and Cameron will shoot the three sequels back-to-back. Avatar 2 is scheduled for release in December 2016 with the third and fourth films set to follow in 2017 and 2018.

Released in 2009, Cameron’s Avatar became the highest-grossing movie of all-time, a title it still holds, with worldwide box office takings exceeding $2.7 billion (£1.7 billion). Worthington and Lang’s co-stars in the original, Zoe Saldana and Sigourney Weaver, are also expected to return for the sequels.

Meanwhile, it was reported last month (September) that Arnold Schwarzenegger is being lined up to join the cast for Avatar 2 and will play a “bad guy human general”. Cameron has yet to confirm this but he has worked with the Austrian actor on three previous films: Terminator, Terminator 2 and True Lies.