Anyone who grew up in the 2000s fondly remembers Nickelodeon hit Avatar: The Last Airbender. The story focuses on 12-year-old Aang and his friends trying to stop a catastrophic war. Avatar has since sparked animated spinoffs such as The Legend of Korra and even a comics series, but it was announced in 2018 that Netflix wanted to bring the show to life.
Previously, director M. Night Shyamalan produced an ill-received live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender in 2010, which was met with disappointment and criticism from fans. When Netflix announced they were doing their live-action version of the show, fans were optimistic, and now the cast for the show has finally been revealed.
Gordon Cormier is Aang.
Eleven-year-old Gordon is best known for his roles in The Stand, Gabby Duran and the Unsittables, Lost in Space, and the new Turner and Hooch on Disney Plus.
Deadline describes Aang as "a fearless and fun-loving 12-year-old who just happens to be the Avatar, master of all four elements and the keeper of balance and peace in the world. An airbending prodigy, Aang is a reluctant hero, struggling to deal with the burden of his duties while still holding on to his adventurous and playful nature."
Kiawentiio is Katara.
Kiawentiio is best known for her work on Anne With an E, but she recently starred in the feature film Beans. Katara is "a determined and hopeful waterbender, the last in her small village. Though only 14, she’s already endured great personal tragedy, which has held her back from rising to her true potential, though it’s never dimmed her warm and caring spirit."
Ian Ousley is Sokka.
Ian is known for his role on 13 Reasons Why but has also recently played recurring roles in Apple TV's Physical and John Stamos’s Big Shot. He will play Sokka, Katara's 16-year-old brother who is "outwardly confident, even brash, he takes his responsibility as the leader of his tribe seriously, despite his inner doubts over his warrior skills … doubts that he masks with his wit and deadpan sense of humor."
Dallas Liu is Prince Zuko.
Fans can catch Dallas as young Shang-Chi in the Marvel film of the same name. He additionally has credits in PEN15, The Who Was? Show, No Good Nick, Legendary Dudas, CSI: Cyber, Bones, and Underdog Kids.
Dallas plays fan-favorite Prince Zuko, "a skilled firebender and the intense and guarded Crown Prince of the Fire Nation. Currently roaming the world in exile, he’s on an obsessive quest to capture the Avatar because he believes that is the only way to reclaim his life and live up to the demands of his cruel and controlling father, the Fire Lord."
Paul Sun-Hyung Lee is Uncle Iroh.
Paul Sun-Hyung Lee is known for his roles in shows like Kim's Convenience and The Mandalorian. The South Korean actor has been on TV and movie screens since the 1980s and has been a part of some well-known projects like Covert Affairs and Degrassi: The Next Generation.
Paul is playing beloved Uncle Iroh, the brother of Fire Lord Ozai. He travels with his nephew Zuko as he tries to capture the Avatar. He's known for loving his time to himself and giving Zuko much-needed words of wisdom over a cup of tea.
Although he understands why Zuko wants the Avatar, he knows that goal is overtaking him and clouding his better judgment. He's is the voice of reason that guides his nephew with a nurturing touch.
Daniel Dae Kim is Fire Lord Ozai.
Daniel Dae Kim has been on TV screens for years. He's well-known for roles in Lost, Hawaii Five-0, and MacGyver. Fans of the Saints Row video game series will also recognize him as the voice of Gat. But he also has some previous Avatar connections. He played a character named Hiroshi Sato on The Legend of Korra.
In the live-action show, Daniel is playing the overarching antagonist of the series, Fire Lord Ozai. Zuko's father and Iroh's brother, he's leading the Fire Nation to take over the world no matter the cost.
While many are excited for this new 'Avatar' adaptation, there has been much internet debate about the show.
After the news was announced via Netflix's Twitter account that they had cast four young actors in Avatar: The Last Airbender's lead roles, the Internet fell into chaos. Some were worried about Netflix's adaptation after the original show's creators, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, left the production over "creative differences."
One user's post, which has over 1,000 likes, read, "Excited and worried about Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender series. Excited, because the cast looks amazing. Worried, because the creators left the project long ago." Thankfully, this adaptation, unlike the 2010 film, made a point to cast Asian and Indigenous actors for the roles representing Asian and Indigenous characters.
Some fans are worried about the ages of the characters and wonder if the showrunners will push together Katara and Zuko. "I can already tell by the casting they're going to try to pair Zuko and Katara together at least once like a bunch of crazy fanfiction writers," one fan wrote.
The show is moving forward with new showrunner Albert Kim (Sleepy Hollow). Dan Lin (The Lego Movie, Aladdin) and Lindsey Liberatore (Walker) will be executive producing alongside him. Filming is reportedly beginning in November 2021 and will wrap in May 2022.