In the last few days, Netflix held another Global Fan Event TUDUM and revealed the full live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender cast amongst the sea of new content and future projects. The animated series of the same name was released in 2005 and became one of the best western cartoons in the last two decades.
The original cartoon follows the story of young Avatar Aang, the last surviving Airbender whom the siblings from Southern Watertribe, Katara and Sokka, rescue from the iceberg that held him in suspended animation for the whole century.
While the Avatar was absent, the power-hungry Fire Lord Ozai decided to take over the world by expanding and invading other nations. The Watetribe siblings decide to follow and help Aang on a journey to learn all four elements and ultimately use them to defeat the oppressive Fire Nation and Fire Lord Ozai.
Netflix already revealed the show’s main protagonists by casting Gordon Cormier as Aang, Kiawentiio Tarbell as Katara, Ian Ousley as Sokka, and Dallas Liu as Zuko.
The showrunner Albert Kim emphasized the importance of casting more people of color to showcase the original cartoon’s diversity, and with the main cast, he managed just that. The cast and crew was announced periodically since 2021, and today we will list all of the cast for the Avatar: The Last Airbender Netflix TV show.
Beyond the main four cast choices, this next list contains the rest of the cast, including the recently added actors via Netflix:
- Daniel Dae Kim (Raya and the Last Dragon, Lost) – Fire Lord Ozai
- Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (Kim’s Convenience) – Iroh
- Lim Kay Siu (Lord of the Files) – Gyatso
- Ken Leung (Rush Hour, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) – Commander Zhao.
- Elizabeth Yu – Azula
- Yvonne Chapman (Kung Fu) – Avatar Kyoshi
- Tamlyn Tomita (The Good Doctor, Star Trek: Picard) – Yukari (a new character, Suki’s mother)
- Casey Camp-Horinek (Barking Water) – Gran Gran
- Maria Zhang – Suki
- Amber Midthunder (Prey, Roswell) – Princess Yue
- A Martinez (Cowboy Bebop, Ambulance) – Pakku
- Irene Bedard (Pocahontas, The Stand) – Yagoda
- Joel Oulette (Trickster, Ruby and the Well) – Hahn
- Nathaniel Arcand (Heartland, FBI: Most Wanted) – Chief Arnook
- Meegwun Fairbrother Burden of Truth, Mohawk Girls) – Avatar Kuruk
- Arden Cho (Partner Track) – June
- Utkarsh Ambudkar (Ghosts, World’s Best) – King Bumi
- Danny Pudi (Mythic Quest, Corner Office) – the Mechanist
- Lucian-River Chauhan (Encounter, Heartland) – Teo
- James Sie (Stillwater) – Cabbage Merchant
- Momona Tamada (Secret Headquarters, One: Thunder God’s Tale) – Ty Lee
- Thalia Tran (Raya and the Last Dragon, Little) – Mai
- Ruy Iskandar (Yes Day, Benders) – Lt. Jee
- Hiro Kanagawa (Altered Carbon, The Man in the High Castle) – Fire Lord Sozin
- C.S. Lee (Dexter, Warrior) – Avatar Roku
- François Chau (The Expanse, American Gigolo) – The Great Sage
- Ryan Mah (The Good Doctor, Snowpiercer) – Lt. Dang
- George Takei (Star Trek, Resident Alien) – the voice of Koh
- Randall Duk Kim (Kung Fu Panda, John Wick) – the voice of Wan Shi Tong
As you can see, the director Albert Kim took his casting seriously and managed to bring diversity in full force, which is the aspect many fans of the franchise welcomed with open arms.
In the ocean of problems and issues, The Last Airbender movie, directed by M. Night Shyamalan, casting was criminal and stood out like a sore thumb. The live-action showrunners want to evade this issue, and the casting for the characters looks very promising at first glance.
However, the development of the show did not pass without some obstacles.
Netflix announced the “reimagined” live-action remake of Avatar in 2018 and the start of production in 2019. At first, the series’ original creators, Michael Di Martino and Bryan Konietzko were announced as the executive producers and showrunners. However, in June of 2020, the duo departed the series development stating that they left the project due to creative differences.
Di Martino published an open letter on his website and further commented on the situation and circumstances of the live-action series. The creator of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Bryan Konietzko, stated that Netflix did not support their ideas and vision, which was why they left.
After Di Martino and Konietzko departed the project, Netflix hired Albert Kim as a new director. The latter decided to add “something new” to the live-action remake and add diversity in front and behind the cameras.
We still do not know the exact release of the Netflix TV show, but we know that Netflix invested a lot of money into the project. According to CBR, each episode of Avatar will cost the company $15 million. If this is not an indicator that Netflix believes in this project, I truly don’t know what is.
The departure of Di Martino and Konietzko raised concerns with fans and already existing reservations towards the live-action remakes of great series, putting a lot of pressure on Netflix’s project.
Besides Di Martino and Konietzko moving away from the Netflix live-action project, Jeremy Zuckerman, the composer of music for both Avatar: The Last Airbender, and The Legend of Korra, is also a huge loss.
The talented composer created arguably the best soundtracks cartoons media experienced in the 21st century while working in the production of ATLA and The Legend of Korra – Zuckerman’s music elevated the already beautiful world of Avatar. It provided new dimensions to the already compelling atmosphere and setting of the cartoons.
After the departure, the trio decided to work on the new Avatar projects for Paramount+ and Avatar Studios, where they are currently developing the animated film that will focus on the original Team Avatar after the happenings of the original cartoon.
Despite some hiccups during the development, the cast, crew, and generous Netflix investments excite us for the new Avatar: The Last Airbender project. We will wait and see the rumored final product be released sometime at the beginning of 2023.
This list is the full cast of Avatar: The Last Airbender live-action tv series and all we have to do is wait for more announcements about the development and ultimate release of the show.