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Sigourney Weaver returning for "Avatar" sequels

Sigourney Weaver's character may have died in the 2009 blockbuster "Avatar," but she's still coming back for the next three films in the franchise.

Filmmaker James Cameron announced Monday that Weaver will be returning for the sequels but in a different role.

"Sigourney and I have a long creative history, dating back to 1985 when we made 'Aliens,'" Cameron said, according to Deadline. "We're good friends who've always worked well together, so it just feels right that she's coming back for the Avatar sequels. Her character of Grace Augustine, as fans know, died in the first movie, so she's playing a different and in many ways more challenging character in the upcoming films. We're both looking forward to this new creative challenge, the latest chapter in our long and continuing collaboration."

Weaver joins previously announced returning cast members Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana and Stephen Lang.

The currently-untitled "Avatar" sequels will be filmed back-to-back, with production starting later this year. The first follow-up film will be released in December 2016, with the second following in 2017 and the third a year later.

The original "Avatar" was released in December 2009 and went on to become the top-grossing film of all time, earning $2.8 billion at the worldwide box office.

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