Netflix enjoyed tremendous success this year with its live-action adaptation of the anime series "One Piece". The new adaptation thrilled fans of the original as well as new viewers. Next year, the streaming service will be responsible for another live-action adaptation, namely "Avatar: The Last Airbender". Here in our new Original, we give you all the latest details on the plot, the cast and the production. So stay tuned!
The Plot of Avatar: The Last Airbender
Currently, it can be assumed that the adaptation will be based on the anime. In "Avatar: The Last Airbender", we are presented with a fictional world that is split into four nations and is otherwise based on historical East Asia. The nations are populated by people who have mastered the bending of one of the four elements and can use them in battle. The so-called Avatar can control all elements and thus keep the various powers in balance. However, he is considered missing and so the Fire Nation involves the remaining nations in a war.
One day, the siblings Katara and Sokka find the young avatar Aang in a block of ice and free him. At first, he only knows the art of airbending, and so the three must set out on a dangerous journey. The still quite naive Aang must learn to master the remaining elements so that he can stop the Fire Nation.
The first season of the Netflix series could very well be based on the first season of the anime original and, if successful, also tell the stories of the other seasons. The original series consists of 3 seasons with over 62 episodes. The first season of the new series is expected to comprise 8 episodes.
The Avatar Cast
The "Avatar" live-action series comes with a mostly unknown cast: 11-year-old young actor Gordon Cormier will play the role of Aang. Cormier has already won over audiences with the series adaptation of Stephen King's novel "The Stand" and is regarded as a talented young actor. Kiawentiio Tarbell plays Katara, while her brother Sokka is played by Ian Ousley. He has already appeared in the hit series "13 Reasons Why" - also produced by Netflix.
On the side of the Fire Nation is actor Dallas Liu as Prince Zuko, who hunts down the Avatar. Fire Lord Ozai, meanwhile, is embodied by Daniel Dae Kim, who had a role in the remake of "Hellboy". Commander Zhao is played by Ken Leung, who some may remember from "Rush Hour". The role of the cozy Uncle Iroh is played by Sun-Hyung Lee, who also appeared in the Star Wars series "Ahsoka" and "The Mandalorian" as Captain Carson Teva. The role of Azula, Zuko's mean sister, is cast boldly: the character is played by newcomer Elizabeth Yu, who is celebrating her debut with the series. If "Avatar" proves to be a success, then questions will soon arise as to who will portray the earthbender Toph, who will be joining the cast in the second season and is considered an absolute fan favorite.
But the cast so far already gives fans plenty to discuss, as to whether the chosen actors fit their drawn role models. In the course of the Tudum event in Brazil, the first images presenting the main characters were released and caused general excitement. Especially the detailed adaptation of the costumes and the casting of the actors were emphasized positively.
Albert Kim - who has already worked as a producer on "Sleepy Hollow" - will also be involved in the "Avatar" series and promised in an official press statement that the new approach of "Avatar: The Last Airbender" will be an authentic portrayal of Asian and indigenous characters. He said he wanted to carefully transition the animated series and deliver "a multi-faceted, new visual dimension to this fantastic world" with the live-action series.
Roseanne Liang, who already worked on the action film "Shadow in the Cloud" with Chloë Grace Moretz, will be among those sitting in the director's chair. "Swamp Thing" veteran Michael Goi and "Game of Thrones" director Jabbar Raisani will also be directing individual episodes.
For the production, Netflix teamed up with VFX studio Pixomondo. They designed a stage that is equipped with over 3,000 LED panels and has a surface area of 23,000 square meters. The same technology was already used in "The Mandalorian" and its effects were impressive. The soundtrack is by Japanese composer Takeshi Furukawa, who has already provided music for a number of movies and series, including "Star Wars: The Clone Wars".
Despite much anticipation, the production is also viewed with skepticism: M. Night Shyamalan's first live-action adaptation, 2010's "The Last Airbender", is to this day considered a huge flop. The announcement that the creators of the original series left the Netflix production in 2020 as a result of creative differences is likewise unlikely to be a good sign.
Avatar: The Last Airbender Release Date
An official release date for the "Avatar: The Last Airbender" live-action series is not available yet. Still, Netflix announced during the fan event Tudum that the series will debut in 2024. Until then, we look forward to more insights into the project, especially the first trailer for the "Avatar" series.