Here’s the first paragraph of an item that ran this morning on Deadline, reproduced in full:

Deadline has confirmed that Fear the Walking Dead’s Cliff Curtis is boarding all four of James Cameron’s upcoming Avatar sequels in a lead role. The New Zealand-born actor will play Tonowari, who is the leader of the Metkayina, the reef people clan (Cameron has said in interviews that the Avatar world in future installments will take place underwater).

As we say in the biz, “A lot to unpack here.” The intended nugget of news in this bit is the casting of Cliff Curtis, former star of such films as The PianoTraining Day, and Live Free or Die Hard. From the looks of it, he won’t supplant series lead/humanoid automaton Sam Worthington, rather splitting narrative duties with him. But of course, the real meat of the notice comes in that last sentence.

Reef people clan? Future installments taking place underwater? How could Deadline drop such massive, world-altering details as a supporting clause and a parenthetical? It would appear that the brief bit of Avatar in which the other warring factions of Na’vi come to our heroes’ aid against the human menace (I think there’s some mention of a sky tribe, but then again, I, like you, have not seen Avatar since 2009) will form a more significant portion of the sequel saga. And the addition of the underwater element should give Cameron the opportunity to get out any ideas he may have left over from working on The Abyss.

While I will not believe that these Avatar sequels exist until I am seated in the theater watching them, Cameron’s got no lack of ambition, widening the scope of Pandora while submerging himself in its briny deep. But that’s JC for you — the man simply doesn’t do small movies.

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