The story of Avatar: The Last Airbender (ATLA) might seem clear enough. Four nations, each ruled by a different element of nature, live in peace. But one day, the Fire Nation attacks its fellow kingdoms, hoping to rule them all. Normally, a figure called the Avatar would use his mastery of all four elements to enforce and promote harmony. But no such figure appears during this war until 100 years after it begins. This tale might seem straightforward, but it contains one of the most complex stories and worlds ever built. Even in its first season alone, dozens of important figures arise in ATLA, and centuries of lore are unveiled. And now, Avatar: The Last Airbender and all its characters are heading to Netflix for a live-action take on the story.
Although, by nature, adaptations have to make changes, a surprising amount of cartoon characters will make the leap into this different medium. So, before the Netflix series arrives, we’re sharing a thorough guide to all the Avatar: The Last Airbender characters you may need to know for the live-action show.
- The Main Characters in Avatar: The Last Airbender Live-Action Series
- ATLA Creature Friends to Know
- Fire Nation Characters We Expect to See: The Royal Family // Other Fire Nation Characters
- Water Tribe Characters We Expect to See: The Southern Water Tribe // The Northern Water Tribe
- Earth Kingdom Characters We Expect to See in Netflix’s Live-Action Avatar: The Last Airbender
- Air Nomad Characters We Expect to See in Netflix’s Live-Action Avatar: The Last Airbender
The Main Characters in the Avatar: The Last Airbender Live-Action Series
The Last Airbender himself, Avatar Aang, is a crucial character in the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender, cartoon and live-action. For the first twelve years of his life, Aang led a happy existence among the Air Nomads in the Southern Air Temple. But Aang wasn’t an ordinary boy; he was the Avatar. As mentioned, the Avatar is a special individual who can bend all four elements instead of the customary one and serves to keep harmony/balance in ATLA‘s world. The Avatar is also the bridge between the human and spirit worlds and is reincarnated from one nation to the next according to a prescribed cycle. (Fire, Air, Water, Earth.)
As one can imagine, that’s a lot to put on a child. In the cartoon, Aang runs away from his responsibilities only to end up trapped in an iceberg for 100 years. When he awakens, it is in a time of war. And so, Aang begins his journey to bring peace as the Avatar with the help of Sokka and Katara. This journey is complicated by the aggressive Fire Nation, who seeks to capture him, especially the stubborn Prince Zuko.
Despite all this intensity and power, as a character, Avatar: The Last Airbender‘s Aang is sweet, light-hearted, and silly, traits that Netflix’s live-action will undoubtedly bring to life. Although Aang’s childish nature can be detrimental at times, at others, his innocence, compassion, and pure heart drive him to see the paths others cannot.
Who plays Aang in Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series?
Gordon Cormier plays the character of Aang in Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series.
If Aang is the pure heart of Avatar: The Last Airbender, then the character of Katara is its fierce fire. This, of course, is ironic because Katara is a waterbender and a talented one. The last waterbender in the Southern Water Tribe, Katara is ready to see the world and learn to hone her powers from a waterbending master in the Northern Water Tribe. Although she occasionally steps into a motherly role, especially for her brother Sokka, there’s a deep well of anger in Katara that rages at the world’s injustice. She especially feels ire at the Fire Nation, who killed her mother and left deep wounds on her tribe. Despite this, Katara holds deep compassion in her heart and fights to see goodness where she can.
Hopefully, the live-action version of Katara in Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender series will do these qualities justice.
Who plays Katara in Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series?
Kiawentiio plays the character of Katara in Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series.
Katara’s older brother, Sokka, is the one character in Avatar: The Last Airbender‘s main set who isn’t a bender himself. Despite this, Sokka is an integral member of the group. Though he begins as a boy playing dress up as a warrior, one who occasionally holds antiquated beliefs about gender roles and the like, he grows up quickly throughout Avatar: The Last Airbender. Sokka seeks badly to be a protector for his loved ones and a fighter worthy of his tribe. Eventually, he evolves to become those things, although not always in the ways he imagined. Sokka is the planner and idea guy in the group. But, even once older, he brings a certain levity to any situation.
Who plays Sokka in Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series?
Ian Ousley plays the character of Sokka in Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series.
Prince Zuko is one of the best characters in Avatar: The Last Airbender and in fiction, period. So we hope that when adapting the character of Zuko, Netflix’s live-action Avatar series takes extreme care.
Prince Zuko comes out swinging as an antagonist in the series, terrorizing Aang, Katara, and Sokka (a.k.a. Team Avatar) with his relentless pursuit of the Avatar. Stubborn, brash, and quick to anger, Zuko makes many poor decisions that complicate our heroes’ lives. But as the layers begin to pull back on the prince, whose father, the Fire Lord, exiled him from the Fire Nation, it’s clear there’s much more to his story. Despite his firey nature, Prince Zuko has intense loyalty (sometimes unfounded) toward those he respects, and, above all else, the concept of his honor drives him.
Who plays Zuko in Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series?
Dallas Liu plays the character of Zuko in Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series.
ATLA Creature Friends to Know
Is Appa not Avatar: The Last Airbender‘s most important character? This flying bison, a favorite friend of the Air Nomads, spent 100 years trapped in an iceberg and then emerged with Aang into the future. Appa is Team Avatar’s main form of transportation and their cuddliest friend. There could be no story without Appa. (And he’s responsible for one of Avatar: The Last Airbender‘s saddest episodes.) We were worried that it would be hard for Netflix to get this character right in the live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender, but it looks like the adapted Appa is perfect.
Every series needs an adorable creature to melt our hearts. In Avatar: The Last Airbender, that’s Momo, the flying lemur. That said, while Appa and Momo are adorable, they remind us of everything lost in the Fire Nation’s war. Flying bison and lemurs used to be proliferate in the Air Temples, but now they have migrated elsewhere or died off, and the temples are empty. Still, the existence of Appa and Momo offers hope that not all is lost to ash. Aang finds Momo in the ruined Northern Air Temple, signaling that the Fire Nation could not eradicate all life and love.
Like with Appa, we are excited to see that Netflix brought the character of Momo to life with care in its live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series.
Fire Nation Characters We Expect to See in Netflix’s Live-Action Avatar: The Last Airbender
The name says it all. General/Uncle Iroh is both a decorated ex-leader of the Fire Nation military (not to mention a one-time heir to the throne) and a soft-hearted, tea-drinking, kindly mentor to his nephew, Prince Zuko. Uncle Iroh is the adult figure we all want in our lives and, certainly, the one that Zuko needs to survive. Although Uncle Iroh greatly respects and loves the Fire Nation, he can also see where it errs. More than any other character, Uncle Iroh reminds us that goodness can spring even among those who appear as the enemy. Getting the character of Iroh to match his cartoon levels of soft encouragement combined with tough, tenacious love will be challenging, but the live-action version will be in good hands with Netflix’s choice of Iroh, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee.
Who plays General/Uncle Iroh in Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series?
As mentioned, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee plays the character of General/Uncle Iroh in Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series.
Fire Lord Ozai
The true villain of Avatar: The Last Airbender is Fire Lord Ozai. Convinced of the Fire Nation’s supremacy, this dictatorial King continues the war that his grandfather, Fire Lord Sozin, began. Ruthlessly, he seeks to conquer all the nations and bring them under Fire Nation control, disrupting the world’s harmony. Fire Lord Ozai has no space for compassion or empathy, judging them as weaknesses, and is cruel to all, including his son, Zuko, who he sees as flawed. (Although, he’s not much kinder to his “stronger” daughter Azula.)
In the Avatar: The Last Airbender cartoon, Fire Lord Sozin is a character who lurks mostly in the shadows in Book One: Water… But we’ll likely see more of him in Netflix’s live-action series.
Who plays Fire Lord Ozai in Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series?
Daniel Dae Kim plays the character of Fire Lord Ozai in Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series.
Conniving, clever, and cruel, Princess Azula is the antithesis of her older brother, Prince Zuko, and, in some ways, a mirror image of her father. Azula has great ambitions, a hunger for power, and a sadistic streak. For Azula, victory can come at any cost. But despite her hardness, she still seeks her father’s approval and love in some form, making her a bit more human than he is. Azula only briefly appears in the first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender‘s cartoon, but Netflix’s live-action series promises we’ll see more of her early on.
Who plays Princess Azula in Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series?
Elizabeth Yu plays the character of Princess Azula in Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series.
Mai and Tai Lee, Princess Azula’s Companions
Azula’s best friends, Mai and Tai Lee, are polar opposites. Mai is a too-cool-for-school goth with a penchant for throwing knives, and Tai Lee is a sunny Barbie sort, but her nerve pinches will put even the strongest of benders out of commission. Their role in Netflix’s live-action series remains to be seen.
Commander Zhao is the main villain in the cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender‘s first season. In the cartoon, Zhao is a decorated Fire Nation military official who clashes with Prince Zuko during his hunt for the Avatar. Zhao and Zuko clearly have bad blood and history between them, though it’s never fully explicated. Ultimately, Zhao is ambitious and power-hungry, but cowardly. He is an incredibly strong bender, though, and ruthless. The description of Commander Zhao that Netflix’s live-action series offers differs slightly from what we see in the cartoon. It notes that he is a “scheming and ambitious Fire Nation military officer who’s eager to leverage an unexpected encounter with a desperate Prince Zuko to advance his personal goals.”
Who plays Commander Zhao in Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series?
Ken Leung plays the character of Commander Zhao in Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series.
Avatar Roku was the Avatar who preceded Aang and thus hailed from the Fire Nation. Roku reminds us that the Fire Nation once strove to live in harmony with the other nations. As an Avatar, Aang can spiritually reach out to his earlier incarnations. In the cartoon, Roku is the first Avatar that Aang communicates with in such a fashion, and he warns Aang of Sozin’s comet, a cosmic event that will give Firebenders incredible power. But with the live-action removing Sozin’s comet from the equation, we will have to see how his role will change. C.S. Lee plays Avatar Roku in the Netflix series.
Water Tribe Characters We Expect to See in Netflix’s Live-Action Avatar: The Last Airbender
Southern Water Tribe Avatar Characters: Gran Gran, Hakoda, and Kya
Although we don’t spend too much time with the Southern Water Tribe, one prominent character that emerges from this part of Avatar: The Last Airbender‘s world is Gran Gran. Gran Gran is Sokka and Katara’s wise (though sometimes grumpy) grandma who takes care of our heroes when the series begins. Gran Gran will be played by Casey Camp-Horinek in the live-action show.
Sokka and Katara’s parents, Hakoda and Kya, don’t appear in Book One of the cartoon, and no casting has been announced for them in the live-action. However, the pair greatly impacts our Water Tribe duo. Firebenders killed Kya, a waterbender, during an attack on the South Pole, leaving a terrible mark on her children. Meanwhile, Hakoda has been away from the Southern Water Tribe for some time, helping the Earth Kingdom’s efforts against the Fire Nation. Sokka most wants to make his father proud.
Northern Water Tribe Avatar Characters: Princess Yue, Pakku, and Avatar Kuruk
We’ll likely meet the Northern Water Tribe and its prominent figures at the end of live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender‘s first season on Netflix. The most important of the bunch is Princess Yue. As a baby, Yue’s life was saved by the moon spirit Tui, an important Water Nation spirit. She and Sokka also embark on a nascent romance. Unfortunately, in the cartoon, Princess Yue is already betrothed to Hahn, who is quite a self-involved fellow. Princess Yue’s father, Chief Arnook, leads the Northern Water Tribe.
Another important Northern Water Tribe figure is Pakku. Pakku is a waterbending master who agrees to teach Avatar Aang advanced bending skills. However, Pakku is less gracious when it comes to teaching Katara, as he believes that women should not use their bending to fight. We’ll see how this character shapes up in Netflix’s version of the series.
Avatar Kuruk, meanwhile, is the most recent Avatar from the Water Tribe. Although he appears to neglect his Avatar duties for selfish reasons, his story is dark; full of struggle and fights against dark spirits.
Who plays Princess Yue and the other Water Tribe figures in Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series?
Amber Midthunder plays the character of Princess Yue in Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series. Meanwhile, Joel Oulette plays Hahn, Nathaniel Arcand plays Chief Arnook, A Martinez plays Pakku, and Meegwun Fairbrothe plays Avatar Kuruk.
Earth Kingdom Characters We Expect to See in Netflix’s Live-Action Avatar: The Last Airbender
Avatar Kyoshi is the most recent Earth Kingdom-born Avatar. Kyoshi is a fierce warrior and her famous catchphrase is “Only justice will bring peace.” However, Kyoshi’s justice often comes without mercy. Avatar Kyoshi adopted Kyoshi Island as a place for her followers to live safely. The Kyoshi Warriors, an elite set of all-women warriors, fight there in her honor and image.
One of the Kyoshi Warriors, Suki runs into Aang, Katara, and Sokka when the Avatar comes to Kyoshi Island to ride the elephant koi. Sokka immediately manages to get on her wrong side, but the two become flirtatious and eventually date. Suki is a powerful fighter but also sweet and hilarious. Periodically, she joins up with Team Avatar/The Gaang. Maria Zhang plays Suki in the live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender. In the cartoon, Suki first appears in Avatar: The Last Airbender‘s season one, episode four, “The Warriors of Kyoshi.”
Jet and His Freedom Fighters
Jet is a fan-favorite character and a passionate warrior. In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Jet puts together a group of Peter Pan-esque “Lost Boys” called Freedom Fighters. The Fire Nation has hurt Jet and those who follow him, and now they wish to fight back. Unfortunately, Jet’s vision of the world is very black and white, and his methods can be extreme. In the cartoon world of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Jet’s ultimate fate is somewhat murky, but perhaps Netflix’s live-action version can help clear it up.
Jet’s group also contains Pipsqueak, Smellerbee, and Longshot. In the cartoon, Jet first appears in Avatar: The Last Airbender‘s season one, episode ten, “Jet.”
Who plays Jet in Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series?
Sebastian Amoruso will play the character of Jet in Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series.
Bumi is Aang’s childhood friend who loves to think outside the box. Though he’s a bit strange, Bumi is very loveable. However, 100 years is a long time, and things are slightly different when Aang meets him again. (Or at least, they appear to be.) In his later years, Bumi rules as the king of an Earth Kingdom city called Omashu. Utkarsh Ambudkar plays King Bumi in the live-action.
June, the Bounty Hunter, and her Shirshu Nyla
June, the Bounty Hunter, is another fan-favorite character from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Although she is technically from the Earth Kingdom, June serves whoever will pay her fee. What makes June an exceptional bounty hunter is her Shirshu, Nyla, who can sniff out anyone (as long as they haven’t left this plane of existence). Powerful, dangerous, and super sleek, June and Nyla are basically the coolest characters in the cartoon world of Avatar. And it looks like Netflix’s live-action June will fill Nyla’s saddle just as well. In the cartoon, June first appears in Avatar: The Last Airbender season one, episode 15, “Bato of the Water Tribe.”
Who plays June in Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series?
Arden Cho plays the character of June in Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series.
The Mechanist and Teo
The Mechanist and Teo are two Earth Kingdom characters Aang meets when he visits the Northern Air Temple in Avatar: The Last Airbender‘s Book One: Water. Teo is a boy who shares Aang’s love of the air, reminding him that though his people might be gone, others can still celebrate their legacy with him. Meanwhile, the Mechanist is a talented inventor, but he potentially endangers the world in his quest to survive. The Mechanist also helps bolster Sokka’s love of invention. Danny Pudi and Lucian-River Chauhan play the pair in the live-action.
The “My Cabbages!” Merchant (A.K.A. the Most Meme-able Character in Avatar: The Last Airbender)
Avatar: The Last Airbender‘s cabbage merchant is leaping from cartoon to live-action. This much-meme-ed character always has to watch his precious cabbages get destroyed, and he will do so again in Netflix’s series. Adorably, the voice of the cartoon cabbage merchant, James Sie, plays the character in live-action.
Air Nomad Characters We Expect to See in Netflix’s Live-Action Avatar: The Last Airbender
Monk Gyatso Is the Only Air Nomad Character We Meet in Avatar: The Last Airbender, Except Aang
Monk Gyatso is Aang’s mentor and closest friend. Unfortunately, the other Air Nomad leaders believed Gyatso’s love of Aang hurt his training as the Avatar. They decided to separate Aang and Gyatso, spurring Aang to run away and eventually disappear from the world. Gyatso wanted Aang to grow up gently despite being the Avatar. This love remained with Aang long after Gyatso’s death. Lim Kay Siu plays Gyatso in the Netflix series.