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Sigourney Weaver's Avatar: The Way Of Water Character Isn't At All What We Expected

When 20th Century Studios released its first extended look at James Cameron's upcoming "Avatar: The Way of Water," interest in the project was so high that 148 million people watched the "Avatar" sequel's trailer on its first day of availability.

Although that trailer gave "Avatar" fans some key insight into how the franchise will continue after the first movie's release in 2009, among a number of other lingering questions, returning cast member Sigourney Weaver's involvement still remained unclear. In the first "Avatar," Weaver portrays a character named Grace Augustine. Complicating the fact that Weaver is in "The Way of Water" is the fact that Grace dies in that film. According to info leaked in advance of the "Avatar" sequel's release, Weaver will now portray an entirely new character, tracking with the fact that Grace is dead as of the start of "The Way of Water."

Now, courtesy of a story published by Empire magazine, details about the character Weaver will portray are public, and not at all what virtually anybody was expecting.

Weaver will play a teenaged Na'vi

On July 1, Empire magazine published an article online in advance of its July 7 print issue — on one edition of which Sigourney Weaver's new "Avatar" character appears on the cover — revealing that, in "Avatar: The Way of Water," Weaver will portray Kiri, the daughter of Na'vi Jake (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana). Unlike Grace, who appears to be the same age as Weaver, Kiri is a young teenager.

Director James Cameron, for what it's worth, fully acknowledged the unusual nature of the role. "We're gonna have a 60-something actor playing a character [decades younger than] her actual biological age. Sig thought it was all kinds of fun," he said. He also revealed that, in order to prepare for the role, Weaver spent some time with teenage girls, which he felt imbued her with a youthful energy while she was on-set.

Weaver, meanwhile, characterized her portrayal of Kiri as a challenge. "I felt strongly that Kiri would feel awkward a lot of the time. She's searching for who she is. I was thrilled to be given that challenge by Jim," she told Empire.

Based on photos included in Empire's piece, it appears that fans have already seen Kiri, roughly 36 seconds into the first "Way of Water" trailer. Now that the precise nature of Weaver's involvement is public knowledge, it's entirely possible that fans could see plenty more Weaver's character in action at some point prior to the film's December 16 premiere.