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The Untold Truth Of Grace Augustine From Avatar

The first teaser trailer for James Cameron's long-awaited sequel to his award-winning film "Avatar" was finally released alongside "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness." From the moment fans caught this first glimpse at the long-awaited sequel, they were full of questions about many things — including a character who may or may not be returning to the franchise, Dr. Grace Augustine.

Portrayed by actress Sigourney Weaver, Grace is a xenobotanist in charge of the Avatar Program on Pandora. She has a deep love and respect for the Na'vi Omaticaya People and quickly becomes a mother-like figure to Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a young marine who falls in love with the Na'vi as well. Her story in the first film comes to a brutal end after she's mortally wounded by a gunshot and killed. However, Weaver is set to return for "Avatar: The Way of Water," leaving us all to wonder how Cameron will bring Grace back — if he even is at all. 

According to Entertainment Weekly, her character is definitely dead, but Cameron hasn't detailed how Weaver has found herself in the cast of the upcoming film. As audiences ponder that question, we thought now would be the perfect time to dig into the character of Grace, to uncover some untold truths about her. 

Sigourney Weaver almost wasn't cast in Avatar

It's no secret that actress Sigourney Weaver has a close friendship with the "Avatar" director James Cameron. They initially worked together in the 80s on a little film you may have heard of called "Aliens." In fact, it's because of their history that Cameron was hesitant to cast Weaver in "Avatar," as it was another film in space about aliens.

As Cameron detailed in the documentary "Capturing Avatar" from the movie's Blu-ray, he was worried that his and Weaver's past work with "Aliens" had the potential to get in the way of the story he was trying to tell with "Avatar." Luckily, this wasn't the case, and Weaver was the perfect choice to play Grace. That continues to be true, with Cameron telling Entertainment Weekly, "Sigourney and I have a long creative history, dating back to 1985 when we made 'Aliens.' We're good friends who've always worked well together, so it just feels right that she's coming back for the 'Avatar' sequels".

Grace Augustine nearly had a different name

Once Cameron cast Weaver in the role of Grace, he quickly realized that the character's name was going to have to change. Initially, Cameron wrote the role to be named Grace Shipley. However, once Weaver was cast, he felt that the similarities between "Alien" and "Avatar" were once again looming large, as he explained in "Capturing Avatar."

In 1979's "Alien" from director Ridley Scott, Weaver was cast as Ellen Ripley. The role would end up shaping her career almost immediately, as she was nominated for a Best Actress Golden Globe and a BAFTA (IMDb). The character of Ripley has gone on to appear in four "Alien" films and various "Alien" video games, with Weaver even securing an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for Cameron's 1986 sequel "Aliens." Because of this lasting impact, Cameron realized that the last name Shipley was far too close to Ripley, leading him to change the character's name to Dr. Grace Augustine instead.

Grace has two big foreshadowing moments

Grace has two very big lines of dialogue that foreshadow her death. The first is when she tells Jake about the Tree of Souls, detailing that biologically speaking, there's something incredibly interesting happening there. She believes that the entire forest is like a network of connections that the Na'vi people can access in order to connect with the natural world. She tells Jake how lucky he is to have seen it and that she would die to get samples. This is a line filled with weight, as she does in fact die at the Tree of Souls. While she doesn't get samples, she does get to connect with the Na'vi deity Eywa.

The second moment is when Grace is talking to Col. Miles Quaritch (Stephen Lang), the head of human security on Pandora. She's having a heated disagreement with him about how to treat the Omaticaya People and the planet. When he tells her to back off, she says, "Or what, Ranger Rick? You gonna shoot me?" His response is, "I could do that," which he ultimately does. It's his bullet that fatally wounds her, and results in her death at the Tree of Souls.

Sigourney Weaver's role in Avatar: The Way of Water

As audiences are well aware, Sigourney Weaver is returning to the world of Pandora. And while Cameron is keeping her role secret, it's clear that from the cast photos she will be playing a Na'vi (via ScreenRant). "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," Cameron told Entertainment Weekly. "We're both looking forward to this new creative challenge, the latest chapter in our long and continuing collaboration."

Fans have theorized that Grace isn't truly dead, as she has joined her consciousness with the deity Eywa. Reddit user Liberator84 even goes as far as to suggest that Eywa will use Grace's Avatar body to interact with the Omaticaya People. There's also the theory that Weaver is playing Kiri, the entirely new Na'vi character who is featured on the poster for "Avatar: The Way of Water." This Reddit theory suggests that this character will be a reincarnated version of Grace, bringing up the point that we don't yet know who's playing Kiri, despite her seemingly prominent role in the story.

Sigourney Weaver's hidden talent

While Weaver's role in "Avatar: The Way of Water" has been kept on the down-low, audiences have been given small glimpses into what she's been doing on set for the film. Cameron opened up to Entertainment Weekly about the long, long journey it's been making this sequel. As the title suggests, much of the film will take place underwater, with Cameron saying that his love for the ocean was a guiding force in his vision.

All of those underwater scenes played on a hidden talent of Weaver's, as Cameron explalined. As it turns out, she was able to hold her breath underwater for six-and-a-half minutes at a time during filming. This adds more fuel to the idea that Weaver's role will likely be a Na'vi character, as the trailer heavily suggests that the Omaticaya People have relocated their home to be by the ocean. Whether Weaver is portraying a reincarnation of Grace or an entirely new Na'vi that will be introduced to audiences upon the release of "Avatar: The Way of Water," this hidden talent of hers speaks volumes about her secret role.

The look of Grace's Avatar

The first "Avatar" film was released back in 2009, giving fans plenty of time to go back to Pandora again and again at home. During these re-watches, you're likely to notice that Grace's Avatar body looks a little different than those of some of the other characters, like Jake or Norm (Joel David Moore). There's actually a reason why.

In the two collections of behind-the-scenes features included on the film's Extended Edition Blu-ray set — "Filmmaker's Journey" and "Pandora's Box" — the crew outlines their journey in defining the look of the Na'vi Omaticaya People. They would study the faces of each cast member, taking photos and videos of them in order to duplicate their facial features and expressions. When constructing Grace's Avatar, the crew suggested that hers should look slightly different as, in the film, it was created almost 20 years prior to the newer Avatars of Jake and Norm. Therefore, the crew looked at videos and images of a younger Sigourney Weaver. The film's artist, Stan Winston, chose to sculpt Grace's Avatar features based on images and videos of Weaver's time while on the set of "Alien."

Grace and her Lorax Book

In a deleted scene from "Avatar" (as pointed out by Reddit users), Grace takes Jake and Norm to her old school where she used to teach the Omaticaya People English and more about humanity. At first, it was a peaceful existence between the two, but as the Omaticaya People began to see more and more of their world being destroyed by humans, it took a turn for the worse. A group of Na'vi attacked the bulldozers and were chased back to the school, where they thought Grace would protect them. Unfortunately, they were wrong, as the soldiers fired and killed the Na'vi in front of Grace. After that, the Omaticaya People never returned to the school and cut all communication with humans.

In this scene, Grace picks up the Dr. Seuss book "The Lorax." The book is about a fanciful forest, and a creature that speaks for the natural world. The forest is ultimately destroyed in the name of manufacturing, falling to humanity's greed and lack of compassion for the environment. Obviously, the classic book shares some themes with "Avatar" — they're both fables that outline the danger that human destruction has on the natural world.