‘Avatar’s’ Stephen Lang Joins AMC’s ‘Into the Badlands,’ Returns to ‘Salem’ (Exclusive)

The veteran actor will also be a part of James Cameron’s three “Avatar” sequels despite dying in the first film

“Avatar” villain Stephen Lang has been cast in a recurring role on the upcoming AMC show “Into the Badlands” and he’s also about to be resurrected for the second season of WGN America’s hit genre series “Salem,” TheWrap has learned.

“Into the Badlands” is a genre-bending martial arts series loosely based on the classic Chinese tale “Journey to the West.” Set in a land controlled by feudal barons, the story follows a ruthless, well-trained warrior named Sunny (Daniel Wu) and a young boy named M.K. (Aramis Knight) who embark on a journey across a dangerous land to find enlightenment.

Lang will play Waldo, who was once the most notorious and cold-blooded Clipper in the Badlands. He trained Sunny to be a Clipper, and though he now appears to be a sick old man in a wheelchair, the heart of a killer lies beneath his harmless exterior.

AMC has ordered six, one-hour episodes of “Into the Badlands,” which was created by the “Smallville” duo of Al Gough and Miles Millar. Those two writers/showrunners will also serve as executive producers along with series director David Dobkin (“Wedding Crashers”), Oscar-nominated producers Stacey Sher and Michael Shamberg (“Contagion”), and Stephen Fung and Wu (“Tai Chi Zero”).

“Into the Badlands” hails from AMC Studios and will be distributed internationally by Entertainment One Television.

Meanwhile, Lang’s character on “Salem,” Increase Mather, will return from the dead this season, just like how “Avatar” director James Cameron is bringing back Lang’s Colonel Quarritch for a trio of big-budget sequels despite the fact that he was killed in the first film.

The second season of “Salem” is set at the dawn of a Witch War, as the town’s ruthless leading spellcaster, Mary Sibley (Janet Montgomery), completes a legendary supernatural ritual that has unleashed a devastating plague on the unsuspecting citizens of Salem. As death and disease continue to spread through the war-torn village, Mary must battle adversaries old and new, from within Salem and beyond, who are vying for her throne.

Lang’s Increase Mather is an old-line, hardcore Puritan driven to monstrous deeds by the intensity of his convictions, and a loving father who torments his son Cotton Mather (Seth Gabel) out of love. Intellectually, spiritually and politically, he’s known as the most influential man in the country — and feared as the most formidable witch hunter of the time.

When Countess Marburg (Lucy Lawless) threatens to destroy all that Mary has built, Mary turns to the darkest form of witchcraft, Necromancy, to bring an ally to her side and resurrect her greatest and deadliest enemy — Increase Mather.

“We missed Stephen so much that we brought his character back from the dead! The ghost of Increase Mather, summoned straight from hell by Mary Sibley, will haunt next week’s episode. We’re thrilled to have him back,” said Brannon Braga, executive producer of “Salem.”

On the small screen, Lang recently co-starred on “Terra Nova” from executive producer Steven Spielberg, while his other feature credits include Michael Mann’s “Public Enemies” and “Manhunter.” He’s represented by Innovative Artists.