Most actors would jump at the chance to star in sequels to the highest-grossing movie of all time. Michelle Rodriguez clearly isn’t most actors. The “Fast & Furious” favorite revealed to Vanity Fair that she told James Cameron he couldn’t bring her “Avatar” character back from the dead because that’s already happened three times in her career. A fourth time would be “overkill,” Rodriguez told the blockbuster filmmaker.
Rodriguez made her “Avatar” debut in Cameron’s 2009 original. She played Trudy Chacón, a combat pilot working for the Avatar Program who is sympathetic to the Na’vi. Trudy sacrifices her life in battle to ensure the Na’vi prevail over the villainous humans trying to take control of Pandora.
“Dude, when I saw Jim [Cameron] recently, he was like, ‘I was thinking, “What if Michelle came back? A lot of the other characters came back [in ‘The Way of Water’].”‘ I was like, ‘You can’t do that—I died as a martyr.’”
Rodriguez then listed all of the times her dead characters have been brought back, telling Cameron: “I came back in ‘Resident Evil,’ I wasn’t supposed to. I came back in ‘Machete,’ I wasn’t supposed to. I came back with ‘Letty,’ I wasn’t supposed to. We can’t do a fourth [time], that would be overkill!”
“I don’t understand, it’s so weird,” Rodriguez said about many of her dead characters coming back to life. “I guess they don’t know what to do with the girl who doesn’t have a boyfriend. ‘She doesn’t have a boyfriend. Should we keep her alive, or kill her?’”
Turning down “Avatar” means turning down one of the biggest franchises in movie history. Unadjusted for inflation, the original “Avatar” still ranks as the highest-grossing movie of all time worldwide with a total gross of $2.9 billion. The sequel, “Avatar: The Way of Water,” opened 13 years later and defied box office odds with $2.3 billion, making it the third highest-grossing movie in history.
Rodriguez is gearing up for a big first half of 2023 thanks to the releases of “Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves” (opening in theaters March 31 from Paramount) and “Fast X” (May from Universal Pictures)