When you're good friends with director James Cameron, even your character's death in one of his films doesn't mean he won't find a way to bring you back for another. 

"When you have a science-fiction series, a science-fiction franchise, you’re never dead, unless your DNA is expunged from the universe," he hinted a few years back. "And then there’s always time travel!"

Cameron has announced that Sigourney Weaver, long rumored to be returning to the "Avatar" franchise, will have a role in the next three films - this despite her scientist character dying at the end of the first movie. 

“Sigourney and I have a long creative history, dating back to 1985 when we made Aliens,” Cameron told Deadline. “We’re good friends who’ve always worked well together, so it just feels right that she’s coming back for the Avatar sequels. 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. We’re both looking forward to this new creative challenge, the latest chapter in our long and continuing collaboration.”

While it's not yet been revealed what Weaver will be playing in Cameron's world of Pandora, I have a feeling it likely relates to what happened during the Na'vi's attempt to permanently transfer her consciousness to her alien body. While the upload into the Tree of Souls appeared successful, the download to her body failed - so it's safe to assume she's now a part of Pandora's living "network". 

As for the films themselves, Cameron recently announced that the scripts had been finalized and that production on all three would begin this October. Should all go as planned, we can expect "Avatar 2" to bow in December 2016. 

Related on MNN: 

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Sigourney Weaver's 'Avatar' return is now official
James Cameron confirms that the actress will be back in some form for the next three films.