Would Zuko Prevent His Banishment if He Could Go Back in Time? AVATAR’s Dallas Liu Shares His Thoughts

How often do you get to ask your favorite cartoon character-come-to-life a question? Well, Nerdist was lucky enough to sit down for a chat with Dallas Liu, who plays Prince Zuko in Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series adaptation. And we asked him a question that delves deep into the nuanced antihero that is Prince Zuko. We wondered the following: If Prince Zuko knew where speaking out against the Fire Nation’s plans in that infamous war council would lead (burns and banishment), would Zuko still have spoken out?

Avatar the Last Airbender Live-Action Dallas Liu as young zuko

Liu’s immediate reaction, was absolutely, yes, because that’s just the kind of character Zuko is on Avatar: The Last Airbender. Liu noted, “Zuko is quite stubborn. And he’s got such a good heart, right? He’s like an anime shonen character that just can’t help but be good. When he was younger, right? When he is younger, he has the purest, kindest heart, and you can see that in him. And if that was the punishment, the eye burn, being sent off into exile and banishment…”

But after a moment’s pause, Liu found himself reconsidering and being pulled in both directions. He added, “I’m just thinking about like, ‘Oh, you got to go look for the Avatar.’ I’ve completely forgotten about the burn scar. Would he still have made the decision? Oh, I have no idea. I have no idea. That’s a really tough one.”

Avatar the Last Airbender Live-Action Dallas Liu as Zuko in burn aftermath

Ultimately, we and Dallas Liu couldn’t come to a strict consensus on whether Zuko would have prevented his Avatar banishment if he could. But we concluded that the struggle to decide on Zuko’s course of action is meaningful in and of itself and reveals the character of the Prince in a nutshell. For Zuko, there is always a push and a pull in his choices, and there are no easy decisions in his journey. But that’s what makes him so compelling as a character. Ultimately, Zuko can’t take back his choice one way or the other. But getting deep into his psyche with Dallas Liu, who obviously understands him so well, is a lot of fun.

Zuko at the end of season of of the live-action Avatar played by Dallas Liu (1)

The Avatar: The Last Airbender live-action adaptation is now streaming on Netflix.

Nerdist Editor Rotem Rusak has been an Avatar: The Last Airbender fan for nearly two decades. You can learn all about her love of Zuko’s story on Nerdist’s Laser Focus Podcast.

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