Netflix announced back in 2018 that they would be creating a new live-action “Avatar: The Last Airbender” series. Production began back in 2019, but fans haven’t had much update about the series’ progress since then. Someone must have told them “yip yip” because the show is beginning to take off.
On August 12th 2021, a little birdie finally broke the silence. Netflix took to Twitter to share who would be playing as beloved characters Aang, Katara, Sokka, and Zuko.
11 year old Gordon Cormier, playing Aang, is known for previous roles in “The Stand” and “Lost in Space”. Like our optimistic hero, Cormier loves to catch air on his skateboard. He also practices taekwondo, making him a great candidate for the Avatar as the fighting styles of the four Nations are inspired by several different martial arts.
Kiawentiio, who is playing determined and organized Waterbender Katara, has previously acted in “Beans” and “Anne with an E”. She posted a picture of the cast photo on Instagram and captioned it with: “It’s official!! I’m excited to share that I’ve been cast as Katara in Netflix’s live action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender!! I know you all have been waiting, thank you for all the love ??”.
Ian Ousley, known for “13 Reasons Why”, “Young Sheldon”, and “Physical” is boomerang-slinging, wise-cracking Sokka. He had this to say about being cast as the guy whose girlfriend turned into the moon:
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” actor Dallas Liu will be Prince Zuko, hunting the Avatar across the world in order to restore his honor. While Netflix hasn’t announced who will be playing former Fire Nation general Iroh, we hope the bond between Zuko and his uncle will be just as heartwarming and hilarious as it was in the original animated series.
Netflix has not yet announced when the new live-action series will debut, but all the buzz about the reveal of the main cast will hopefully result in more frequent updates about the show’s progress. Given that Shyamalan’s “The Last Airbender” was awful, fans were skeptical and nervous about this latest attempt at a live-action iteration.
Some worries were alleviated in 2018 and 2019, since the original creators of the show, Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino, were spearheading production. Both Netflix and the creators seemed determined to undo the mistakes of the past.
Back then, Konietzko and DiMartino had said: “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. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to build upon everyone’s great work on the original animated series and go even deeper into the characters, story, action, and world-building. Netflix is wholly dedicated to manifesting our vision for this retelling, and we’re incredibly grateful to be partnering with them.”
On August 12th, 2020, fans once again lost hope for Netflix’s live-action series when the creators chose to step away from the project due to Netflix straying from their creative vision. DiMartino wrote on his blog: “It might turn out to be a show many of you end up enjoying. But what I can be certain about is that whatever version ends up on-screen, it will not be what Bryan and I had envisioned or intended to make.” The cast announcement came one year later on the exact day that the creators had left production.
However, the new showrunner and executive producer, Albert Kim, seems promising. Known for his work on “Sleepy Hollow” and “Nikita”, Kim wrote in a Netflix blog post that he “didn’t want to change things for the sake of change. I didn’t want to modernize the story, or twist it to fit current trends. Aang is not going to be a gritty antihero. Katara is not going to get curtain bangs. (I was briefly tempted to give Sokka a TikTok account though. Think of the possibilities).”
Kim also said: “It wasn’t lost on me that this was a world that drew from Asian cultures and legend, which is a rarity to this day and something I appreciated as an Asian-American father. That my daughter was able to see characters who looked like her on screen was more than just entertaining. It was a gift.”
Overall, the promising cast and Albert Kim’s dedication to doing “Avatar: The Last Airbender” justice just may mean the Netflix live-action will be bingewatch-worthy.
Interested in other shows to look forward to? Click here for the Stranger Things season 4 announcement trailer!