Avatar the Last Airbender: Everything You Need to Know about the Netflix Adaptation

Avatar the Last Airbender: Everything You Need to Know about the Netflix Adaptation

Every ’90s kid will no doubt remember the iconic Nickelodeon series Avatar: The Last Airbender (ATLA). It’s the show that redefined the words water, earth, fire and air for a whole generation, and it’s about to do it again with a new live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender coming to Netflix in 2024.

Avatar: The Last Airbender in live-action… again?

avatar the last airbender
Image: Nickelodeon

Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony. Then everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked.

Or, more accurately, everything changed when Hollywood gave us 2010’s The Last Airbender.

I know a lot of my fellow ATLA fans are probably still burned from M. Night Shamalayan’s The Last Airbender. It was nothing short of a traumatic experience.

But there are a few reasons the 2024 Avatar: The Last Airbender series looks like it will be different.

For starters, the casting is on point, with an ethnically diverse group of age-appropriate actors on board for the series. And judging from the trailers and clips we’ve seen, it looks to be pretty accurate to the original animated show.

Over three seasons, Avatar: The Last Airbender told a pretty perfect story. So why do we even need a live-action remake?

This was a question Albert Kim, executive producer on the Netflix series, asked himself as well. The answer was a combination of things:

“VFX technology has advanced to the point where a live-action version can not only faithfully translate what had been done in animation — it can bring a rich new visual dimension to a fantastic world. We’ll be able to see bending in a real and visceral way we’ve never seen before. Also, Netflix’s format meant we had an opportunity to reimagine a story that had originally been told in self-contained half-hour episodes as an ongoing serialised narrative. That meant story points and emotional arcs we’d loved in the original could be given even more room to breathe and grow.”

“Finally, 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,” Kim said in a blog post.

Kim also said he didn’t want to change things for the sake of changing them to fit modern trends and that the Netflix series will strive for “authenticity” above all else. It’s a bold promise (and one that we will hold him to) but an admirable promise nonetheless.

Avatar: The Last Airbender release date

avatar the last airbender netflix
Image: John Staub/Netflix

After years in development, a 2024 release date has been confirmed for the Avatar: The Last Airbender live-action series.

The series will release all episodes on February 22 and is set to be one of the big events streaming this month. In Australia, expect to see the series drop around 7:00 pm AEDT.

Where to watch Avatar: The Last Airbender

avatar the last airbender 2024
Image: Netflix

Is Avatar The Last Airbender on Netflix?

The live-action ATLA series is being developed by Netflix and will subsequently release on the streaming service as well.

If you’re looking to catch up on the original animated series, you’ll find that all three seasons have been added to Netflix in the lead-up to the new series. You can also find it streaming on Paramount+ in Australia.

Paramount+ is also home to the Avatar sequel series The Legend of Korra.

Avatar: The Last Airbender characters

If you need a reminder of who is who in the ATLA world, we’ve broken down some of the major players for you below (with a particular focus on those you might see in this season).

Aang

Aang is the titular Avatar in question – that is the only being chosen in a generation who can master all four of the elements. Aang was just 12 when the Hundred Year War started and was subsequently frozen in an iceberg for most of it, emerging to find the four nations in conflict. At the start of the series, he has only learned to master air bending and must go on a journey to learn the other three elements, typically atop his flying bison, Appa.

Katara

Katara is one of the only water benders in the Southern Water Tribe and was raised by her grandma after her mother was lost in a battle with the Fire Nation and her father went off to war.

Sokka

Katara’s brother, Sokka, has no bending abilities but makes up for it by being the comedic relief of the trio. As the son of the Water Tribe Chief, he was too young to join the other men at war but feels a need to prove himself and lead the group.

Zuko

Zuko is the Prince of the Fire Nation and the son of the Fire Lord. He sports a burn over one eye, which was given to him by his father after he spoke out of turn and subsequently refused to fight him in a duel. This resulted in Zuko’s banishment and his mission to find and capture the Avatar in order to regain his status.

Fire Lord Ozai

Ozai is the Fire Lord and ruler of the Fire Nation, as well as one of the most powerful fire-bending masters. He is a tough and ruthless character, responsible for banishing his own son and plotting to overthrow his own brother for the throne.

Azula

Azula is Fire Lord Ozai’s second child, the Crowned Princess of the Fire Nation and sister of Zuko. Without a mother and her brother banished, Azula has developed the same ruthless streak as her father in order to try and live up to his expectations. She is also a fire-bending prodigy.

Uncle Iroh

Iroh is the loveable and wise uncle to both Zuko and Azula and very much the opposite of his brother, the Fire Lord. Iroh supports Zuko on his hunt for the Avatar.

Who is in the cast of Avatar: The Last Airbender 2024?

avatar the last airbender cast
Image: Netflix

A lot of the success of Avatar: The Last Airbender comes down to its iconic characters, which means casting faithfully is critical. Now that you’re up to speed on who the major players are in the series, let’s see who is playing them.

In the lead as Aang, aka the Avatar who has been frozen in ice for a hundred years, is Gordon Cormier. He’s joined by Kiawentiio Tarbell and Ian Ousley as Aang’s water tribe friends, Katara and Sokka.

Dallas Liu is playing Prince Zuko, the exiled Fire Nation prince, and Paul Sun-Hyung Lee stars as his Uncle Iroh. Daniel Dae Kim will play Zuko’s tyrannical father, Fire Lord Ozai, and Elizabeth Yu will be his cunning sister, Azula.

Filling out the rest of the cast is Ken Leung (Commander Zhao), Maria Zhang (Suki), Lim Kay Siu (Gyatso), A Martinez (Pakku), Amber Midthunder (Princess Yue), Yvonne Chapman (Avatar Kyoshi),  Case Camp-Horinek (Gran Gran), C.S. Lee (Avatar Roku), Irene Bedard (Yagoda), Joel Oulette (Hahn), Nathaniel Arcand (Chief Arnook), Meegwun Fairbrother (Avatar Kuruk), Arden Cho (June), Utkarsh Ambudkur (King Bumi), Danny Pudi (The Mechanist), Lucian-River Chauhan (Teo), James Sie (Cabbage Merchant), Momona Tamada (Ty Lee), Thalia Tran (Mai), Ruy Iskandar (Lt. Jee), Hiro Kanagawa (Fire Lord Sozin), François Chau (The Great Sage), Ryan Mah (Lt Dang), George Takei (voice of Koh) and Randall Duk Kim (voice of Wan Shi Tong).

It’s a stacked cast, and you can already tell they’re going to smash it.

The Netflix series had enlisted the original creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko to helm the adaptation, but the duo ended up leaving in 2020 due to creative differences.

Albert Kim replaced them as showrunner alongside executive producers Dan Lin, Lindsey Liberatore, Michael Goi and Roseanne Liang.

What is the plot for new ATLA?

avatar the last airbender 2024
Image: Netflix

The TV series is set to cover the same story as the original Avatar The Last Airbender series, which depicts a world divided into four nations, with each containing benders that can manipulate the natural elements. Only one, known as the Avatar, has the power to bend all four elements and unite the nations.

The first season will comprise of eight hour-long episodes and, judging by the cast so far, we can expect it to cover at the entirety of ‘Book One: Water’.

However, it appears the live-action series won’t be afraid to make some changes, such as showing the genocide of the Air Nomads and the Agni Kai duel between Zuko and his father.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, executive producer Jabbar Raisani explained they are making a show “for all ages”, hence the darker tone.

“The kids who watched the animated version of Avatar are now grown-ups, and so they’re ready for more grown-up fare,” star Daniel Dae Kim added.

Some other changes that have been teased include a toning down of Sokka’s sexism, cutting out some of the cartoon’s side stories, and the creators also had to plan for a time jump between seasons (should they get renewed and their cast members grow up too quickly), thus they removed the “ticking clock” of Sozins Comet.

Is there a live-action Avatar trailer?

If you’re wondering exactly how this live-action adaptation is going to look in practice, luckily, we have a few clips and trailers for Avatar: The Last Airbender that show us.

You can also see a behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of the TV series below.

Are there any photos of Netflix’s Avatar?

In the lead-up to the show’s release, we have plenty of looks at the cast in costume as their iconic characters. Gaze upon a few of the images below.

There are also some fiery official cast posters.


Judging by everything we’ve learned so far, Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender is one show you’ll definitely want to add to your list of TV Shows in 2024. Be sure to catch it on February 22.

Lead Image Credit: Netflix

This article has been updated with additional information.


The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.

At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.

Comments


Leave a Reply