LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 11: Actor Dileep Rao attends the opening night of Cirque du Soleil's "Toruk The First Flight" at The Staples Center on November 11, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic)

Dileep Rao Returns as Max for Avatar Sequels

Director James Cameron’s initiative to bring everyone from the original cast back for the Avatar sequels just got closer to a complete set as Deadline brings word that Dileep Rao will return as scientist Dr. Max Patel. Rao had a stellar first year of his movie career, appearing in Drag Me to Hell, Avatar and Inception back-to-back, but since then has taken on lower-profile movie and TV roles, most recently making an appearance in an episode of Mr. Robot.

Rao will join others returning from the original film, including Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Joel David Moore, Stephen Lang, Matt Gerald and Sigourney Weaver. Kate Winslet, Cliff Curtis and Oona Chaplin are also joining the sequels. Cameron recently explained that Stephen Lang’s Colonel Miles Quaritch is coming back for all four sequels and will be the main villain throughout the story. Filming officially started on Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 on September 25, 2017. Shortly after, James Cameron announced young cast members for the sequel, which include the Sully family and children from the Metkayina Na’vi clan who live near ocean reefs, led by Tonowari (Cliff Curtis). The only actor who will appear in live-action playing a non-CGI character is Jack Champion as Javier “Spider” Socorro, a human teen born at the Hell’s Gate military complex seen in the first film.

20th Century Fox and Lightstorm Entertainment previously announced release dates for the four Avatar sequels. Avatar 2 will be coming to theaters on December 18, 2020, and will be followed by Avatar 3 on December 17, 2021. Filming will then begin on Avatar 4 and Avatar 5, which will be released on December 20, 2024 and December 19, 2025, with Cameron’s caveat that they won’t make 4 and 5 if 2 and 3 aren’t successful.

Released in 2009, the first Avatar film remains the highest-grossing film worldwide with over $2.7 billion in box office grosses. Titanic was previously the record holder with $2.186 billion worldwide.

(Photo Credit: Getty Images)