Stephen Lang Explains Why Quaritch Agreed to Become a Recom

Dec 29, 2022

Over a decade since the release of Avatar, James Cameron is taking audiences back to Pandora in Avatar: The Way of Water. The Resources Development Administration left defeated in 2009, but now they’re returning to the moon and they’re bringing reinforcements. One of the RDA’s new tactics is to use an elite team of soldiers known as Recombinants, deceased RDA soldiers in avatar bodies. That’s how Stephen Lang’s Colonel Miles Quaritch returns. He was indeed killed in the first film, but in Way of Water, he’s Recom Colonel Miles Quaritch.

Given the fact that Recoms retain their living counterpart’s memories, it should come as no surprise that Recom Quaritch is determined to find and kill Jake Sully (Sam Worthington). Given the target on his back, Jake determines it’s best for the Sully family to flee the forest of the Omaticaya clan and find safety elsewhere. With Quaritch hot on their trail, Jake, Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña), and their three children seek refuge with the Metkayina clan ruled by Kate Winslet’s Ronal and her partner Tonowari played Cliff Curtis.
In celebration of The Way of Water’s December 16th theatrical release, Collider’s Perri Nemiroff spoke with Lang about bringing Quaritch, or a version of him, back to the big screen. During their conversation, Lang walked us through original Quaritch’s likely response to first being asked to participate in the Recom program and if he thinks Recom Quaritch is redeemable. For that and more from the interview, check out the video above or read the transcript below:

PERRI NEMIROFF: What was your very first reaction when Jim pitched your return in this movie? Did you ever see that coming or was it completely out of left field?

STEPHEN LANG: It was kind of out of left field. He was so big and bad in the first one, and the death seemed so definitive. It was just thrilling the idea of him being reconstituted and coming back, and developing, too, because there’d be no point in bringing him back if he was the same thing, but regrouping in hell, as we say, and coming and trying it again.

Image via Disney

We get to see OG Quaritch leave that message for his Recom self, but I was curious if you ever spoke to Jim about what it was like when OG Quaritch was even asked to do that to begin with? Because he would essentially be agreeing to become the thing that he despised most, so did you ever figure out what his reaction might have been to that?

LANG: First of all, it’s all a hypothetical to him. This is an exercise to him. It’s like Parker Selfridge [played by Giovanni Ribisi] said, “Oh yeah, we got to do this thing. You got to make this thing.” And I’m gonna go, “What? What’s the point? It’s a waste of my time. I’m gonna go out there, I’m gonna get the [job] …” “No, no, no, no. You got to do this, Miles, because it’s company policy, all right? I mean, read your contract.” So, “All right, fine. We’ll do it. All right, I’ll do it.” And I do it and, you know, like anything, when he does it, he kind of gets into it for a minute. But he’s not considering the implications. The whole thing is, “If this happens, and it ain’t going to happen.” But, of course, it’s prophetic, isn’t it?

When you’re playing the Recom version of him, what is something that you wanted to retain from the original Quaritch to make sure that we understood that there’s a deep connection there? But also, what is something you wanted to do to make us believe that, yes, they are the same people, but he’s also not, he’s his own being in a sense?

LANG: It’s not something that you plan so much. Hopefully, it organically emerges from what you’re doing from the script, from the new work. But, of course, look, his sense of mission, his relentless pursuit of whatever agenda it is that he has at any time, I think that that remains completely intact with Quaritch.

But obviously, there are changes, and those changes are somewhat mysterious because [of] what it is; it’s the DNA, it’s the way of water [that] has entered into him, as well. So there are things happening to him that he can’t account for and he’s not really used to. This is a guy who lived his life in straight lines. Those lines are now getting real sinewy.

Image via 20th Century Fox

Do you think that Recom Quaritch is redeemable? Does he have a chance of learning lessons and becoming a better person/avatar going forward?

LANG: I think one should always remain open to the possibilities. Who can say? This is a mysterious world. Eywa works in strange ways and, will he, nill he, he is part of that world now. What he has learned is that he cannot shape that world according to his desires, the way he wants to do things. He needs to adapt to it. And so, I think under those circumstances, anything is possible. Do I think, personally, that he’s redeemable? Yeah, sure. Will he be redeemed? Can’t say.

The next question I have to ask to that though is, is OG Quaritch redeemable? If he had survived, would you have had the same faith in him or is it a different situation?

LANG: It’s a different situation. It’s a tough question, but I mean, the OG Colonel, he had cauterized away so much of his emotion and feeling. He was in a tough spot, just spiritually, it seems to me, at that point.

This is how I interpreted it. I felt it that way. I want a whole bible on how the Recom works and the percentage of someone that’s left.

LANG: Believe me, I’m sure that it will appear in fandom. They’ll do the whole thing.

Avatar: The Way of Water is playing in theaters nationwide now. For more on the making of the movie, check out Perri’s interview with James Cameron below:

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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