While live-action adaptations of animated series are known for being notoriously bad, I’m holding on to faith for one and one alone because frankly, I really want it to be good. Fortunately, we know how our first look at the show’s cast and it seems to be shaping up pretty nicely!
Meet the cast of our Avatar: The Last Airbender live-action series! pic.twitter.com/EaPqmuo94e
— Netflix (@netflix) August 12, 2021
Earlier today, Netflix revealed the main cast of their upcoming adaptation of the critically-acclaimed Nickelodeon series and it’s full of some pretty fresh faces. Protagonist and titular “last airbender” Aang will be played by Gordon Cormier (Gabby Duran and the Unsittables), Kiawentiio (Beans) has been cast as Katara, and Ian Ousley (Physical) is set to play the stubborn but oh-so-lovable Sokka. Of course, the cast wouldn’t be complete without the mention of ever-angsty Prince Zuko, who will be played by PEN15‘s Dallas Liu. While Toph seems a pretty notable missing member of the team at the moment, she does come in a bit later in the series meaning we might not get her reveal until the show’s second season.
In addition to the cast, Netflix also mentioned several of the crew members attached to the project. Albert Kim (Sleepy Hollow, Nikita) will serve as showrunner, executive producer, and writer of the series, with Dan Lin (The Lego Movie, Aladdin), Lindsey Liberatore (Walker), Michael Goi (Swamp Thing, American Horror Story) all executive producing. Roseanne Liang is set to be the show’s co-executive producer and Goi, Liang, and Jabbar Raisani are on board as its directors.
After heavy criticism of 2010’s Avatar: The Last Airbender movie by M. Night Shyamalan — especially for a perceived lack of representation in the show’s cast — Kim says he is taking care to make the series a “benchmark in representation.”
A live-action version would establish a new benchmark in representation and bring in a whole new generation of fans. This was a chance to showcase Asian and Indigenous characters as living, breathing people. Not just in a cartoon, but in a world that truly exists, very similar to the one we live in.
As of right now, no date or additional actors are tied to the project. However, various Avatar projects have been confirmed to be in the works, meaning we should have some new adventures in the four nations to help keep us busy while we wait.