Explained: Why did Michelle Rodriguez not return in Avatar: The Way of Water?

Michelle Rodriguez
Michelle Rodriguez as Trudy Chacón in Avatar (Image via IMDB)

The sequel to James Cameron's Avatar (2009), titled Avatar: The Way of Water, recently hit theaters worldwide, and fans are already claiming that the director has yet again created a masterpiece.

While Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana reprised their roles as Jack Sully and Neytiri, Sigourney Weaver played the role of the couple's adopted daughter, Kiri. The franchise's first movie saw Michelle Rodriguez play Trudy Chacón, a pilot with the Resources Development Administration (RDA), known for her free-spirited attitude and blunt sarcasm. Unfortunately, Avatar: The Way of Water does not see the actress returning as Trudy.

Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers from Avatar: The Way of Water.

Fans speculated Michelle Rodriguez's Trudy to return in Avatar: The Way of Water after seeing Colonel Quaritch's comeback

Death hasn't stopped the Avatar characters from returning to the sequel movie, as seen with actress Sigourney Weaver. While she played Dr. Grace Augustine in the 2009 movie and died after getting shot by Colonel Quaritch, she made a glorious comeback as a different Na’vi character called Kiri.

After witnessing this, fans were expecting Trudy's return as well. An experienced pilot, she was able to navigate Pandora, dodging its mesmerizing floating mountains and deadly flying creatures.

Michelle Rodriguez's grace and presence have always been appreciated by her fans. So why wasn't she there in the new film?

The reason is that Trudy was killed off in the climactic fight at the end of Avatar. As the pilot began developing feelings for the tribal beings of Pandora and the Avatar Program participants, she allied with Jake and the other Avatars against Quaritch and his men in the battle. Michelle Rodriguez's character was tragically killed when her plane was hit by a missile while battling Quaritch’s flagship. Additionally, there were no scenes of her after that.

In an interview with Total Film magazine, Michelle Rodriguez stated:

"Jim Cameron can kill me anytime. It’s a pleasure to die for him."

However, she then remarked:

"But Jim’ll tell you himself… in science fiction films, nobody really dies."

While this statement could be viewed in an optimistic light, hoping that the character would return, Trudy remained dead in the decade between Avatar and its sequel, unlike the evil Colonel Quaritch, who comes back in blue Avatar form. As a result, Michelle Rodriguez's Trudy was not seen in the movie.

What is Avatar: The Way Of Water about?


Directed by James Cameron, Avatar: The Way of Water is set a decade after the events of Avatar.

The film's official description reads:

"Set more than a decade after the events of the first film, “Avatar: The Way of Water” begins to tell the story of the Sully family (Jake, Neytiri, and their kids), the trouble that follows them, the lengths they go to keep each other safe, the battles they fight to stay alive, and the tragedies they endure."

The film stars Sam Worthington as Jake Sully, Zoe Saldana as his wife Neytiri, and Sigourney Weaver as Kiri, Jake and Neytiri's adopted teenage daughter. The film also sees several supporting roles from Stephen Lang, Kate Winslet, Cliff Curtis, Britain Dalton, Joel David Moore, Giovanni Ribisi, and numerous others.

While Russell Carpenter did the film's cinematography, Simon Franglen composed the music. Moreover, Avatar: The Way Of Water was produced by Lightstorm Entertainment and TSG Entertainment and the distribution was done by 20th Century Studios.

Avatar: The Way Of Water is out now in cinemas after being released on December 16, 2022.

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Edited by Priya Majumdar
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