Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender Live-Action Reboot Reveals Main Cast
Avatar: The Last Airbender was one of those animated TV shows that transcended all ages and genres. The series fictionalized many cultures to tell the story of a chosen one in a very unique way that connected with audiences. After a disastrous live-action adaptation by M. Night Shyamalan in 2010, Netflix is ready to step into the deep waters again with a new live-action series. With audiences wary of another reboot, it seems the production is doing everything to not repeat the same mistakes. A huge step towards that is the new Avatar: The Last Airbender live-action cast, which does a lot to alleviate concerns. Let’s break down exactly why this is such a big deal.
Avatar: The Last Airbender Is An Animated Gem
Image via Nickolodeon.
To clarify, despite the obvious Eastern influences present in the story and aesthetic of Avatar, the show is not an anime. Instead, it’s a project completely inspired by all those various influences, packaged into a fictional story, but made by Americans. The story is all about a world of four tribes with powers that give them control of the four basic elements, of fire, water, air and earth. No heart though, so no possibility of a Captain Planet cross-over.
Peace among the four was held together by a mystical chosen one from each generation who controls all four elements. However, after the disappearance of a would-be chosen one, the balance of power in this world tilts, as the Fire Nation wages war against everyone else. When a pair of siblings from the Water Tribe stumbles upon a mysterious boy, a new dawn promises to rise.
Fun Fact: Star Wars The Clone Wars and The Mandalorian’s Dave Filoni worked on Avatar: The Last Airbender as Director, Storyboard Artist and Character Designer. It was his work on Avatar that caught the eye of George Lucas, who then entrusted the future of the franchise to Filoni.
— Source: Dave Filoni. Disney Gallery.
The Chosen One Trope But For Kids And Everyone Else
Image via Nickolodeon Movies.
Avatar: The Last Airbender uses childish humour, with meaningful relationships along with a truly epic story. To bring back peace, the last remaining member of the Air Nomads, a prepubescent boy named Aang, needs to master all four elements. After which he can challenge the evil ruler of this new world order. His journey, with the friends he picks up along the way, is what the bulk of Avatar is about. It’s truly a great show that deserved more than the Shyamalan live-action adaptation.
Avatar: The Last Airbender Live-Action Cast Revealed
meet Gordon Cormier, who will play Aang in the live action Avatar: The Last Airbender and clearly has already mastered his airbending skills pic.twitter.com/IX37dYfWd9
— Netflix Geeked (@NetflixGeeked) August 16, 2021
We learned of the new Avatar: The Last Airbender live-action show last year, with the original creators involved. However, soon after, we learned that the creators, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko parted ways from the Netflix adaptation. This caused a lot of concern for fans, as another Shyamalan-esque incident was feared. Especially given that the creators, despite seemingly parting ways amicably, then went and began their own Avatar studios, promising more Avatar content set in The Last Airbender universe.
But Netflix now released the main cast of the new Avatar: The Last Airbender live-action series, and it definitely seems to alleviate some concerns. The new cast is of various Asian backgrounds, which might not seem like a big deal for a show inspired by Asian influences, but it actually is. And a lot of that has to do with the fact that this new series is, and will probably be compared to the movie version until it releases. But it’s clear to see why. given just how bad the movie was.
For example, the inspiration behind the characters from the Water Tribe, in the animated show came from indigenous cultures. But the movie cast with Caucasian actors in those roles. The evil Fire Nation was seemingly all cast with actors of South Asian or Middle Eastern descent, the only characters of colour, even though the animated series had them as Asian characters. It was a series of weird choices that contributed to the poor reception of that film.
The Live-Action Cast Looks Just Like The Animated Version
Image via Nickolodeon.
The new cast of the live-action Avatar definitely looks a lot better and is representative of the setting of the show. Playing the titular character of the Avatar himself is Gordon Cormier (The Stand), who absolutely looks like Aang, but with hair. For now. Playing the Water Bender Katara is Kiawentiio from Anne With An E. Joining the live-action cast as her brother Soka is Ian Ousley (13 Reasons Why). And rounding out the cast as the villain, in the role of Zuko previously played by Dev Patel is Dallas Liu, who is also in the upcoming Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings.
The new cast looks a lot more representative of the animated series than the movie. But what I’m loving a lot more, is just how much like their animated counterparts they look. It’s almost uncanny. The fact that the creators of the new Avatar are paying such close attention to detail, renews fan’s hope. Without a trailer or any other news, it’s hard to become too optimistic. But the Avatar live-action casting definitely is a huge stride in the right direction.
No word yet on when this new Avatar: The Last Airbender live-action show will premiere on Netflix.
What do you think about this casting news? Do these actors provide you with the hope that the series won’t make the same mistakes as the movie? Let m know in the comments below.
Featured image via Netflix.
Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.