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Why Kiri In Avatar: The Way Of Water Sounds So Familiar

If anything can be said about James Cameron, it is that he is committed to his work. The director has pumped out blockbuster hit after hit with resounding success. His tragic romance "Titanic" was the largest-grossing movie worldwide — that is, until he beat his own record with "Avatar" (via MTV). 2009 gave way to a project that no one will forget. "Avatar" does not feature the characters of "The Last Airbender," but takes place in a fictional world full of statuesque blue aliens. In the futuristic alien world of Pandora, interloping humans drill for the resources that the Na'vi are trying to protect. Cameron implemented the use of motion capture VFX to create the aliens, as well as 3D on a large scale (per Variety).

Now over a decade later, the sequel is finally being made. "Avatar: The Way of Water" brings back Sam Worthington as Jake and Zoe Saldana as his lady love Neytiri who have adopted a young Na'vi girl named Kiri. At first glance — or listen — the voice of the character may sound familiar. You will be surprised at the famous veteran actor who is behind the new character.

An icon was born in the Alien franchise

Sigourney Weaver plays Kiri, almost unrecognizable as the young alien. And, similar to the premise of "Avatar: The Way of Water," Weaver got her start in space. 

With one simple tagline, cinema changed in an instant. "In space, no one can hear you scream" was not only the start of horror in space but a fascinating look at gender. The now prolific horror series revolving around Xenomorphs started with the first film, "Alien." The Nostromo crew, who work for an entity only known as The Company at the time, stumble upon what appears to be a distress signal.

The resulting events turn into a film that should have been titled "we should have listened to Ripley." Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) is second in command to Captain Dallas (Tom Skerritt) but is the only one thinking with a clear head. After Kane (John Hurt) gets stuck with a Facehugger, Ripley is adamant that he needs to quarantine before entering the ship. Had anyone on board listened to her, no Chestburster would have terrorized the crew. Ripley single-handedly discovers the conspiracy implemented by The Company to obtain the alien species by any means necessary, though the rest of the crew perishes. 

Unlike many horror films which victimize women, Ripley is set apart. She is forthright and logical, with interesting character traits when taking into consideration that she was originally written as a male character (via LA Times). Ridley Scott focused on making a complex character free of female stereotypes, spawning a celebrated franchise with Weaver in the lead.

She knew she was gonna call Ghostbusters

It wasn't long before Sigourney Weaver found herself in the thrall of the beginnings of another otherworldly franchise. Though a significantly different tone from "Alien," "Ghostbusters" proved to have just as much longevity as her breakout role. Pairing the comedic stylings of Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd with ghost possessions and evil gods, "Ghostbusters" was a unique take on the haunting genre. Set in the spooky terrain of New York, accomplished cellist Dana (played by Weaver) becomes the unwilling participant in a plot to bring about the end of days.

Peter Venkman (Murray) and his team of Ghostbusters first investigate Dana's apartment to find signs of ghost activity. It's only when they discover that she has been possessed by the Gatekeeper known as Zuul do things take a turn for the worst. "Ghostbusters" became a Murray and Aykroyd classic, giving way to a sequel and additional reboots in the new millennium. "Ghostbusters: Afterlife" brought the main cast back to the stage, while also honoring the late Harold Ramis in a tear-jerking moment. The death of the actor was written into his character Egon's story, giving the film a great sense of catharsis. "Ghostbusters" continues to be a recipe for tender nostalgia for many fans, which prompted Weaver to return for a brief post-credit scene that calls back to the original.

The Ice Storm represented American desperation

In the scope of Ang Lee's filmography, "The Ice Storm" seems to often be forgotten. Many remember the critically acclaimed "Brokeback Mountain" or — on the opposite side of the spectrum — his controversial "Hulk" film. But his adaptation of Rick Moody's book should not be discounted. Set in the landscape of Nixon's Vietnam War era of the early '70s, "The Ice Storm" focuses on the confusion and ennui of America at the time. During one particular Thanksgiving in Connecticut, the Hood family grapples with the times. Ben (Kevin Kline) steps out of his marriage to have an affair with neighbor Janey (Sigourney Weaver) while children Wendy (Christina Ricci) and Paul (Tobey Maguire) try to make sense of their sexuality.

An ice storm does eventually make an appearance with disastrous consequences. One character does not survive the trials of growing up in the middle of the titular storm, and his accidental death is tragic and disruptive. This death should throw everyone's affairs and discontent into perspective, but there is no promise of that, and Weaver as Janey is left with an open-ended future.

Galaxy Quest is a love letter to sci-fi

Modern audiences are currently well-versed in meta-narratives, but this was not as prevalent in the '90s. "Galaxy Quest" was one gem that became a cult classic because of its clever references to the sci-fi genre. Using the Star Trek universe as a template, "Galaxy Quest" tells the story of a cast of washed-up actors who used to star in a popular sci-fi series together. Jason (Tim Allen) is a clear representation of William Shatner, who treated his cast mates abhorrently. Gwen DeMarco (Sigourney Weaver) is the lone woman on the crew who points out all of the double standards and sexism in the industry.

With Alan Rickman and Sam Rockwell's appreciated additions to the cast, "Galaxy Quest" was an impressive feat. The crew must aid a real alien race who believes that the series Galaxy Quest was not fiction but a historical account. The clear references to Star Trek alone could have made "Galaxy Quest" your standard comedy fare. But instead of laughing at the expense of Trekkies, the movie embraces them. In the climactic conclusion, the oblivious crew has no idea how to operate the ship and calls down to superfans, including Justin Long's Brandon, who use their knowledge to steer the actors clear of danger. Because of the love of fans, Earth is saved from calamity. This movie was made for fans and is even considered one of the best Star Trek movies to date.

Adults are the real villains in Holes

Viewers may be accustomed to seeing Sigourney Weaver in heroic roles, but her character in the Disney film "Holes" is quite a different matter. Based on the popular children's book written by Louis Sachar, the film is a fascinating look at kids dealing with adult realities. When Stanley Yelnats (Shia LaBeouf) gets arrested for a crime he didn't commit, he is sent to what is essentially a youth work camp. At Camp Green Lake, he bonds with fellow delinquent Zero (Khleo Thomas) whose reserved nature makes him a target for bullying. Together they discover there is something nefarious going on — and it has to do with the Warden (Weaver), who is forcing children to dig holes five feet wide and five feet deep day after day. Weaver addressed the reason that she took the role in Entertainment Weekly.

"It was one of the first books my daughter read that she really fell in love with — I remember she described the warden to me and said, 'Mommy, you should play this part,'" Weaver explained. "I don't know why she thought that. Maybe because my hair is a little reddish. Maybe because I'm a beast." 'Beast' is an accurate way to describe her character. The Warden isn't just making these kids dig to build character but because her family has been searching for Kissin' Kate Barlow's money, which is hidden in the desert. All of the adults demonstrate extreme abuse, whereas the young offenders show that people are capable of change.

There was an ambitious conspiracy at the center of The Village

For a film almost two decades old, it's safe to relay the significant twist in M. Night Shyamalan's "The Village." Despite appearances, the film isn't a period piece but a contemporary story where a disillusioned generation has decided to build a community away from society in the woods. However, this means that they needed to invent scary monsters to keep curious townspeople from venturing out into the evils of the world.

Whether this concept is too outlandish for some viewers or not, this is one film that doesn't live or die by its twist. Ivy (Dallas Bryce Howard) is the blind daughter of town elder Edward (William Hurt) and is a capable and independent character. She falls in love with strapping Lucius (Joaquin Phoenix) and the two agree to be married. Coincidentally, Lucius' mother Alice (Sigourney Weaver) and Edward have a connection that was never acted upon. These community ties are what make the film work — for example, when Ivy has to venture out of the community to gather medicine for Lucius, the older generation has to support her. Even though Alice and Edward can't be together, the promise of young love in their children is the very thing that will keep this community going. It is unlikely that M. Night Shyamalan will make a film without controversy, but "The Village" is an underrated accomplishment.

Dr. Grace Augustine headlined the Avatar Program

With Sigourney Weaver's history with James Cameron, appearing in his new extravaganza was a logical step. The pair collaborated early in his career in "Aliens," and in "Avatar" Weaver returns to an alien world. Cameron's big-budget endeavor (the precursor to the new "Avatar: The Way of Water) revolves around Pandora, a world where humans mine for a mineral due to their energy crisis. A clear allegory to the crimes committed against indigenous people in American history, humans in "Avatar" take advantage of Pandora's inhabitants, the Na'vi.

On the human side of this conflict are the people who created the Avatar Program, such as Dr. Grace Augustine (Weaver). Developing the ability to transport their consciousness into a Na'vi body, Dr. Augustine respects and values the culture of the people. She has been transporting herself for three decades and is responsible for brokering peace with Pandora's people. Initially reluctant to allow marine Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) into the program, they both bond when she learns he appreciates the Na'vi as much as she does. 

Unfortunately, she does not make it through the events of the film. After being fatally wounded, Jake tries to heal her through the Tree of Souls. Dr. Augustine dies at peace, happy to be uniting with the deity of the Na'vi. The political themes of "Avatar" are still resonant, which makes the film's sequel logical. But even though her character died in the first film, Weaver is returning in a different capacity.

The Director in Cabin in the Woods is actually trying to save the world

Before Chris Hemsworth's "Thor" fame, he was a short-lived victim in "Cabin in the Woods." Written and directed by Drew Goddard, the film was a well-executed commentary on horror films of the genre. Like "Evil Dead," "Cabin in the Woods" focuses on a group of college students partying together in the woods. Though it may seem that it is your typical horror movie, the characters realize they are part of a plan bigger than just a run-of-the-mill slasher flick.

After Dana (Kristen Connolly) and Marty (Fran Franz) endure a whole host of horrors, they discover at the end of the movie that they are supposed to be sacrificed in a worldwide competition. If these sacrifices are not carried out precisely, the old gods that used to rule the world will destroy everything. Even though these friends are fighting hard to save their own lives, the big boss villain arrives to tell them that they are actually being hunted and sacrificed by the "good guys." 

Played by Sigourney Weaver, The Director is the leader of this operation and is adamant that the world needs to be saved. But even though she is technically on the right side of preserving the world, Dana and Marty don't see it that way. They will probably die anyway, but the two friends decide to live and start Armageddon in defiance. Though Weaver only appears in the final moments of the film, her character puts a fine point on the subversiveness of the horror film.

The Hand is a formidable foe in The Defenders

For a brief but glorious time, we had the gift of the Netflix Marvel universe. Jon Bernthal played the definitive Frank Castle, while Krysten Ritter gave a live-action face to the Jessica Jones featured in the "Alias" comics. A dark and gritty approach to the source material, these series focused on relevant themes such as PTSD and sexual trauma. Disney's acquisition of Marvel properties may have moved the series off of Netflix, but fans can still revisit the collection of shows at their new home on Disney+.

Netflix's Marvel series united most of its characters under one banner in "The Defenders." After Matt (Charlie Cox) suffers the brutal death of Elektra (Élodie Yung), he is shocked to discover that his greatest enemy, The Hand, has resurrected her for their evil purposes. With the help of Jessica, Luke Cage (Mike Colter), and Danny Rand (Finn Jones), The Defenders take on the immortal Alexandra Reid (Sigourney Weaver) who has used the powers of The Hand to her benefit for centuries. Evil to her core, Weaver makes a compelling addition to Marvel's long list of villains. Her arrogance ultimately leads to her downfall after creating the very thing that kills her. Elektra takes over The Hand after killing Alexandra, but the first leader of The Hand left an impressive legacy that perhaps Disney's Marvel can resurrect one day.