From Pandora To Panels: The ‘Avatar’ Comic Book Connections

Director James Cameron’s “Avatar,” which makes its long-awaited theatrical debut today, might not be a comic book film, but that doesn’t mean that the graphic novel is an entirely foreign prospect to this new science-fiction movie.

From the movie’s cast to some members of the crew behind the scenes, there are more than a few connections between “Avatar” and comics- or superhero-based cinema. Here’s a rundown of five men and women associated with “Avatar” who also have ties to comic book fare.

Aside from being a die-hard fan of “The Avengers,” not to mention his ready-and-willingness to play Captain America, Sam Worthington is hopping into the comic book pool with “The Last Days of American Crime.”

He’s also been linked to several comic book roles in the past, such as the starring role in “Green Lantern” and as a possible replacement for Christian Bale in the “Batman” films, though Worthington ultimately debunked both rumors.

Saldana plays Cameron’s latest prominent warrior woman in “Avatar,” but for the actress, it’s just one in a string of powerful roles. In addition to “Avatar” and her previous turn as Uhura in J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek,” Saldana will be seen as Aisha in “The Losers,” the ensemble action film based on Andy Diggle and Jock’s comic book series for Vertigo Comics.

While Cameron insists that there are too many superhero movies right now, that didn’t stop the filmmaker from almost helming the “Spider-Man” franchise way back when. It’s also not stopping others from fantasizing about Cameron’s take on the superhero genre, as the writers of HBO’s “Entourage” crafted a storyline in which the “Avatar” filmmaker became the director of DC Comics’ “Aquaman” property.

But Cameron’s only real comic book commitment is “Battle Angel Alita,” based on the manga series of the same name.

Although Weaver hasn’t starred in any comic book movies as far as I know, her iconic role of Lieutenant Ellen Ripley in the “Aliens” franchise — another of Cameron’s hits — has been reproduced in comic book form thanks to Dark Horse.

Still, it’s surprising that an actress of Weaver’s caliber and reputation hasn’t dabbled in comic book fare. Hopefully that fact changes soon!

Studi starred in the ill-fated first “Street Fighter” film as Thailand warrior Sagat — though, inexplicably, he was a frail businessman — but he more than made up for that abysmal film with “Mystery Men” alongside Ben Stiller and William H. Macy.

Studi played the hilarious Sphinx, a mentor-type figure with amazing circular advice such as “To learn my teachings, I must first teach you how to learn” and “He who questions training only trains himself at asking questions.” Hilarious.

Get your geek on about today’s release of “Avatar” in the comments section or on Twitter!

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