Why We’re Already Expecting the New ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ to Be a Hit
The long-anticipated franchise is making a comeback after years in production. Like the original animated series, it takes place in a world where people from the four nations — the fire nation, the water tribes, the earth kingdom, and the air nation — can bend the elements to their will. It tells the story of a 12-year-old air nomad named Aang (Gordon Cormier) who runs away after learning he is the next Avatar (the only person who can bend all four elements). This revelation results in him being trapped in an iceberg for 100 years — that is, until southern water tribe siblings Katara (Kiawentiio Tarbell) and Sokka (Ian Ousley) accidentally release him. With his new group of friends, Aang embarks on a journey to master all four elements and defeat the evil Firelord Ozai (Daniel Dae Kim), who wishes to take over the world.
While you wait for its release, take advantage of the new details we’ve gathered for your Avatar entertainment. Here’s all you need to know about the upcoming Netflix series.
This new series was not the first take on a live-action adaptation. In 2010, M. Night Shyamalan’s movie of the same name received harsh criticism from fans for its horrible casting and whitewashing of Asian characters. However, fans have been reassured that Asian representation will be the solid foundation of the show. The cast will introduce us to Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan, South Asian, and Indigenous cultures.
Bryan Konietzko, one of the co-creators of the franchise, said in a statement, “we’re thrilled for the opportunity to helm this live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender. We can’t wait to realize Aang’s world as cinematically as we always imagined it to be and with a culturally appropriate, non-whitewashed cast.”
Meet the cast of our Avatar: The Last Airbender live-action series! pic.twitter.com/EaPqmuo94e
— Netflix (@netflix) August 12, 2021
The Main Characters
Gordon Cormier plays Avatar Aang. Cormier, a Canadian born actor, is considered a win for the casting department. With his cheeky smile and joyful eyes, fans are looking forward to his interpretation of Aang.
Kiawentiio Tarbell stars as Katara, a kind-hearted and brave girl who is known to be the last water bender in the Southern water tribe. She accompanies Aang on his travels, becoming his water instructor. Tarbell is a Mohawk actress who is excited to be joining the cast and bring out the important of Indigenous. culture.
Ian Ousley plays Sokka, Katara’s older brother who wants to be a leader and protector of his tribe. He has a charming and hilarious personality, but often it’s his younger sister who has to take the reins and keep him on track. Ously has a charismatic air to him that deems him as a great Sokka.
Dallas James Liu’s Zuko is the jaded prince of the fire nation, on the hunt for the Avatar so that he can regain his honor. The scar of his face is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his complicated relationship with his family. Liu has that stoic mysterious look that made many into Zuko fans.
The Fire Nation
Uncle Iroh: Paul Sun-Hyung Lee
Fire Lord Ozai: Daniel Dae Kim
Azula: Elizabeth Yu
Mai: Thalia Tran
Ty Lee: Momona Tamada
Commander Zhao: Ken Leung
Jet: Sebastian Amoruso
Princess Yue: Amber Midthunder
Gran-Gran: Casey Camp-Horinek
Kya: Rainbow Dickerson
Hakoda: Joel Montgrand
Master Pakku: A Martinez
Suki: Maria Zhang
Yukari (Suki’s mother): Tamlyn Tomita
King Bumi: Utkarsh Ambudkar
Monk Gyatso: Kay Siu Lim
Kuruk: Meegwan Fairbrother
Kyoshi: Yvonne Chapman
Roku: C.S. Lee
Honoring the Legacy
While the show’s co-creators Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino are no longer helming the series, they leave it in good hands. Showrunner Albert Kim and executive producers Rideback’s Dan Lin, Lindsey Liberatore, and Michael Goi have promised fans that the story, characters, and culture will be respected.
Cormier has been teasing us behind the scenes for months. One post is a photo of himself and Kim in what looks like a fight sequence.
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Avatar‘s world is rich in storytelling, and with the reported eight hour-long episodes for the first season, viewers can expect more stories to be incorporated. We hope to see more about the air nation and their peaceful nomadic lifestyle, that the series touches more upon Aang’s childhood and where his parents were (as they were never mentioned in the original show), and for more fleshed-out background stories for past avatars (those who help Aang on his journey). With Netflix giving the series a reported $15 million per episode and new technological advancements such as the world’s first custom-built LED stage, we hope to see more of the spirit world with its beautiful colors and spirits.
THIS IS BIG. Guinness World Records has confirmed that the live-action ATLA series’ custom-built LED stage is the biggest in world.
The Four Nations and Spirit World are currently being brought to life on it with Season 1 about 90% done filming and scheduled to wrap next month! pic.twitter.com/CgJOYVUnwl
— Avatar News (@AvatarNews_) May 18, 2022
Opening the Doors for More Avatar Material
Back on February 21, 2021, it was announced by Konietzko and DiMartino that Nickelodeon would be launching a production company called Avatar Studios. This studio will be responsible for creating future Avatar projects, further expanding the lore. One project is an Aang Avatar film set to be released in 2025. Details have emerged that this new film will show the Gaang in their adulthood. There are rumors that our favorite hot-headed prince Zuko could get his standalone movie. All we know so far is that the co-creators promise more Avatar adventures in the future.
Just got some HUGE NEWS from @janetvarney at our #NickSDCC Avatar: Braving the Elements – LIVE! panel, the first feature-length movie from Avatar Studios will be focusing on Avatar Aang and his friends! 💨💦🍃🔥 pic.twitter.com/dsbK1XMCe5
— Nickelodeon (@Nickelodeon) July 22, 2022
Avatar: The Last Airbender, Series Premiere, TBA, Netflix