Imagine being offered a role in the sequel of the highest-grossing movie ever and saying "No, thanks."
Well, that's precisely what Michelle Rodriguez did.
In the 2009 sci-fi sensation Avatar, Michelle Rodriguez first graced the screen as Trudy Chacón. As a combat pilot working for the Avatar Program, Trudy's heart was with the Na'vi people. So much so that she gave her life in a heroic battle, ensuring the Na'vi could triumph against the not-so-nice humans attempting to seize control of Pandora.
Last year's release, Avatar: The Way Of The Water, marked the franchise's much-anticipated sequel. Interestingly, it featured the return of Miles Quaritch (played by Stephen Lang), despite his character's untimely demise in the first film.
When Michelle Rodriguez caught up with Jim Cameron, he entertained the idea of her making a comeback too. But Michelle put her foot down, reminding him that her character had died a martyr's death, and bringing her back just wouldn't make sense.
This Fast & Furious superstar had a heart-to-heart with Vanity Fair, explaining why she told James Cameron that reviving her Avatar character would be, in her words, "overkill."
You see, Michelle's been brought back from the dead three times already in her career, so one more might just be pushing it.
Michelle didn't hesitate to remind Cameron of her many cinematic resurrections. She pointed out, “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 [time], that would be overkill!”
Rodriguez even expressed her confusion over this odd trend of her dead characters returning to life, joking that perhaps they just can't figure out what to do with a girl who doesn't have a boyfriend, so they keep killing her off and then reviving her.
Saying "no" to an Avatar sequel is no small matter; we're talking about one of the most monumental movie franchises in history.
The original Avatar still holds the crown as the highest-grossing movie ever, raking in a jaw-dropping $2.9 billion globally.
Fast forward 13 years, and Avatar: The Way of Water shook the box office with a whopping $2.3 billion, making it the third highest-grossing film in history. In its first two weeks alone, it bagged $1 billion, surpassing even Cameron's own 1997 masterpiece, Titanic.
Critics loved it too, with NME giving it a glowing four-star review, calling it "a ground-breaking, visually stunning film."
The Avatar universe is far from done expanding. Back in 2016, it was revealed that four sequels were in the pipeline, which would include Avatar: The Way of Water, Avatar: The Seed Bearer, Avatar: The Tulkun Rider, and Avatar: The Quest for Eywa.
As for Michelle Rodriguez, she's got a busy first half of 2023 with the release of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves, which is already out, and the upcoming Fast X set to hit screens in May, courtesy of Universal Pictures.
So, what's the deal with Michelle Rodriguez's characters meeting their maker so often on screen? It's something that hasn't gone unnoticed by fans, sparking lively online debates about her tendency for on-screen demises, from Lost to Avatar and Resident Evil.
Michelle weighed in on the topic during a 2023 Wired Autocomplete Interview, saying, "They always kill me. They're like, 'She doesn't have a boyfriend. We don't know what the purpose of this strong female... is.'"
Chris Pine chimed in, pointing out that fans love her enough to bring her back to life, to which Rodriguez agreed, but questioned, "Why kill me in the first place?"
Despite her characters' short lifespans, Rodriguez appreciates the roles she's taken on. She admitted to Hollywood News, "I was typecast the minute I did a film called 'Girlfight' years ago. You allow yourself to be typecast."
If she ever wanted to break the mold, she'd choose an indie film where she'd play a character going through a harrowing experience, potentially earning herself an award for portraying vulnerability or mental illness.
Despite this intriguing pattern in Rodriguez's career, where her characters are repeatedly killed off and brought back to life, there's no denying that Michelle Rodriguez has carved out a unique niche for herself in the film industry, consistently captivating audiences with her strong, memorable characters.