Sigourney Weaver, James Cameron

Sigourney Weaver, seen with James Cameron in 2010, will return as a new character in three new Avatar films. (Chris Pizzello/Associated Press)

James Cameron will reteam with actress Sigourney Weaver for his three upcoming sequels to Avatar, the Canadian filmmaker has confirmed.

"Sigourney and I have a long creative history, dating back to 1985 when we made Aliens. We're good friends who've always worked well together, so it just feels right that she's coming back for the Avatar sequels," Cameron said in a statement to film industry publication The Hollywood Reporter.

"We're both looking forward to this new creative challenge, the latest chapter in our long and continuing collaboration."

Weaver portrayed Grace Augustine, the scientist in charge of the Avatar program, in the blockbuster 2009 film and the tie-in video game. Avatar is the world's top-grossing movie of all time.

She previously worked with Cameron on Aliens, part of the iconic sci-fi movie franchise in which she has starred for four instalments. Other credits include Ghostbusters, Working Girl, Gorillas in the Mist, The Ice Storm and TV's Political Animals.

Because Weaver's Avatar character dies in the original movie, "she's playing a different and in many ways more challenging character in the upcoming films," Cameron said.

She will rejoin the previously announced returning cast members of Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana and Stephen Lang when production on the new films — set to shoot back-to-back — begins later this year.

The as-yet-unnamed Avatar sequels are slated for release in December 2016, December 2017 and December 2018.