True believers, Avatar: The Last Airbender has returned to your screens for a second live-action season on Netflix. But don’t dismiss it out of hand because of the M. Night Shyamalan film. This time around, efforts were made to cast Asian and Indigenous actors in prominent roles.
Unlike the film, which has an infamous reputation for being whitewashed, the series has selected performers that are magnificently suited to their characters, not only in their race but in their remarkable talent as well. As we continue our descent into the rabbit hole, however, despite the perfection of the cast, the omens are not good.
Netflix took the project on in 2018 and experienced evident hurdles with production in 2020. And special effects lovers will be thrilled to know that the show will be filmed using new LED technology called Volume. But taking into account the evident worries from fans, this live-action version will have a steep hill to climb in order to win over its target demographic.
Avatar: The Last Airbender was a Western anime that genuinely made its impact among those growing up in the ’90s and early 2000s, and earlier failures in tackling a remake have left fans uncertain if it can be replicated. Thus, let us begin with the good news. In this article, we will discuss everything related to Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender.
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Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender Cast
To avoid a repeat whitewashing of the cast, the production explicitly set out to diversify the cast from the beginning. Almost everyone in the cast this time around is of Asian, Indigenous, or Pacific Islander descent. The series has already announced the cast for every major role except Toph, who hasn’t been cast yet because it’s only the first season.
Gordon Cormier from Lost in Space will play the primary part of Aang, while two other heroes and one anti-hero will be portrayed by the cast. Katara will be portrayed by Anne with an E’s Kiawentiio Tarbell. Sokka is played by Ian Ousley from 13 Reasons Why. Dallas Liu of PEN15 has been cast as Zuko.
Meet the cast of our Avatar: The Last Airbender live-action series! pic.twitter.com/EaPqmuo94e
— Netflix (@netflix) August 12, 2021
When the crew located Fire Lord Ozai, they made the next casting announcement. Daniel Dae Kim (Lost), who voiced the obstinate earthbender General Fong in the first series, and Hiroshi Sato (The Legend of Korra) will both don the Fire Lord’s hairpin in the sequel. But the next batch of news proved to be the most thrilling of all, with Lim Kay Siu cast as Aang’s boyhood guru, Monk Gyatso.
General Zhao will be played by Ken Leung (Lost, The Force Awakens). Underneath his Mandalorian-inspired rebel pilot’s helmet, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee flashes a grin that could pass for Uncle Iroh’s. Even better news follows this. Also, the female adversaries and supporting cast are spot-on. Maria Zhang portrays Suki, the Kyoshi Warriors’ commander.
Playing Suki’s mom, Yukari is Tamlyn Tomita (The Joy Luck Club, The Karate Kid Part II). Kyoshi, the Avatar of Power, is Yvonne Chapman. To portray the Southern Water Tribe’s grandmother, Gran-Gran, Casey Camp-Horinek, a longtime advocate for Native American rights, will step into the spotlight. Elizabeth Yu will play the role of the clever and deadly Azula, while Mai and Ty Lee still need to be cast. This all is Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender cast.
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Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender Plot
This is when the situation starts to get complicated. Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, the show’s original creators, abandoned the new series in 2020 due to “creative differences.” Just look, unexpected things can and do arise. To put up production is difficult. Sometimes things happen that aren’t planned for.
In an open letter, DiMartino explained that despite his best efforts, his plans had to be altered. No matter what challenges I face, I try to keep a positive attitude and just roll with it. Even the most nomadic Air Nomad has to know when to pack up and go on.
Our live action Avatar: The Last Airbender series is officially in production 🌊 ⛰ 🔥 🌪 pic.twitter.com/Se2Ks6ncyL
— Netflix (@netflix) November 16, 2021
The plot was the source of the problem that brought this to light. In the early stages of production, when a faithful adaptation of the original series was still the intention, the creators voiced their enthusiasm. However, it would appear that working conditions were less than optimum.
Though I got to work with some excellent folks, both on Netflix’s side and on our own tiny development team, the general handling of the project produced what I felt was a sour and unsupportive environment,” Konietzko said in an Instagram post.
Also, in his open letter, DiMartino was somewhat critical, saying, Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender has the potential to be good. It’s possible that many of you will end up loving this show. The plot may have veered off course from the original, but one thing is certain: whichever version makes it to the big screen will not be what Bryan [Konietzko] and I had envisioned or intended to make.
Paul Sun-Hyung Lee was optimistic despite the setbacks, as seen by a Livestream in which he gushed about the cast, calling Gordon Cormier a “revelation,” Kiawentiio Tarbell a “crafted performer,” and Ian Ousley “pitch perfect” for Sokka and promising that he would “steal every scene he’s in.” And according to Avatar News, Paramount+ and Avatar Studios have teamed up to create a new Avatar animated series written and directed by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko.
Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender Release Date
Although there is no confirmed premiere date for Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender yet, insiders say the series will most likely hit Netflix by the end of the year or the beginning of 2023.
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