Why isn’t Michelle Rodriguez in Avatar: The Way of Water?

Cameron Frew
Michelle Rodriguez in Avatar

Michelle Rodriguez starred in the original Avatar, but there’s a good reason why she didn’t return for The Way of Water – here’s what you need to know.

In the 2009 movie, Rodriguez played Trudy Chacón, a combat pilot working for the Resources Development Administration. Unlike Stephen Lang’s Colonel Quaritch and Giovanni Ribisi’s Parker Selfridge, she doesn’t hold any ill will towards the Na’vi on Pandora.

In the closing stretch, she rebels against Quaritch’s orders to bring down Hometree and helps Jake Sully, Grace, and Norm escape their cells and return to the forest. In the ensuing battle with the military, she dies after her helicopter is shot down in the Hallelujah Mountains.

However, as we saw in The Way of Water, death isn’t necessarily the end for humans – so, why didn’t Rodriguez come back in Avatar 2?

Why Michelle Rodriguez didn’t return for Avatar: The Way of Water

Michelle Rodriguez had a simple reason for not reprising her role in Avatar 2: she didn’t want to.

The actress isn’t averse to coming back from the dead – in fact, she has a bit of a knack for it. For example, in the Fast and Furious movies, she was killed off in the fourth entry only to be resurrected in the sixth, albeit with amnesia.

During the development of The Way of Water, Cameron reached out to Rodriguez and floated the idea of her return in the sequel. “I was thinking, ‘What if Michelle came back? A lot of the other characters came back’,” he asked her, as per Vanity Fair.

“I was like, ‘You can’t do that – I died as a martyr.’ I came back in Resident Evil, I wasn’t supposed to. I came back in Machete, I wasn’t supposed to. I came back with Letty, I wasn’t supposed to. We can’t do a fourth, that would be overkill.”

Avatar: The Way of Water is streaming on Disney Plus now. Check out more of our coverage below:

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About The Author

Cameron is Deputy TV and Movies Editor at Dexerto. He's an action movie aficionado, '80s obsessive, and Oscars enthusiast. He loves Invincible, but he's also a fan of The Boys, the MCU, The Chosen, and much more. You can contact him at cameron.frew@dexerto.com.