…Then, everything changed when Netflix announced the casting for their upcoming Avatar: The Last Airbender (ATLA) live-action series. With a world as vast as Avatar: The Last Airbender, many casting announcements are needed to reveal all the exciting actors and characters joining the world.
Most recently, Netflix revealed some exciting new casting news about the upcoming live-action ATLA series. Among those newly cast in the show are George Takei, who will play Koh, Prey‘s Amber Midthunder, who will play Princess Yue, and James Sie, who voiced the animated ill-fated Cabbage Merchant, and will now play him in the live-action version of the show.
Here are’s what we know so far about the cast of Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Avatar: The Last Airbender Casts Leads
In some exciting news sure to delight ATLA fans from every nation, Netflix has shared the actors who are set to play Aang, Katara, Sokka, and Zuko. It also offered information about the series’ creative team.
When it comes to the actors, Gordon Cormier will play Avatar Aang. Kiawentiio will take on the sometimes-stern, though always kind, Katara. Ian Ousley will appear as the goofy yet heroic Sokka. And Dallas Liu will star as the exiled prince, Zuko. We think the Gaang and Zuko seem perfect.
On the creative side, Albert Kim will serve as showrunner. He also acts as executive producer and writer. Joining him are directors Michael Goi, Roseanne Liang, and Jabbar Raisani. The show’s executive producers include Dan Lin, Lindsey Liberatore, Michael Goi, and co-executive producer Roseanne Liang.
In a release, Netflix also shared a little bit more about the characters:
- GORDON CORMIER (he/him) is AANG (12), a fearless and fun-loving twelve-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 (she/her) is KATARA (14), a determined and hopeful waterbender, the last in her small village. Though only fourteen, 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 (he/him) is SOKKA (16), Katara’s sardonic and resourceful 16-year-old brother. 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 (he/him) is ZUKO (17), 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.
Other Avatar: The Last Airbender Cast
Fire Lord Ozai
Additionally, Netflix announced in early November that Daniel Dae Kim joins the Avatar: The Last Airbender cast as Fire Lord Ozai. An excellent choice, we can all agree. We know we shouldn’t cheer for the antagonist, but… We can’t really help it.
Daniel Dae Kim has joined the cast of Avatar: The Last Airbender!— Netflix (@netflix) November 3, 2021
He will play Fire Lord Ozai; Prince Zuko’s father, the ruthlessly-driven leader of the Fire Nation! pic.twitter.com/R3mhadahjv
The platform also recently released some more exciting news about the Avatar: The Last Airbender cast. Of special note, Uncle Iroh’s casting.
The cast of Netflix's AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER continues to grow.— Netflix Geeked (@NetflixGeeked) November 16, 2021
Meet the actors who will play Uncle Iroh, Gyatso and Commander Zhao. pic.twitter.com/w2vZhDeRPF
Uncle Iroh, Gyatso, and Commander Zhao
Netflix further shared:
Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (he/him; Kim’s Convenience, The Mandalorian) will play Uncle Iroh, a retired Fire Nation general and the wise and nurturing mentor to his hot-headed nephew, Prince Zuko.
Lim Kay Siu (he/him; Anna and The King, Nightwatch) will play Gyatso, a kind and caring Air Nomad monk who is the guardian, father figure and best friend to Aang.
Ken Leung (he/him; Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Industry) will play Commander Zhao, 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.
Uncle Iroh, of course, serves as an important figure in the story. Not to mention, a tremendous fan favorite. His character provides the heart of the series. So we feel extra excited to see him crossover into live-action. Gyatso presents another interesting figure. We definitely feel curious to see how much of Aang’s backstory translates into this upcoming series. Especially wen it comes to the Air Nomad’s dark fate. Commander Zhao was more of a minor antagonist in the cartoon. But it remains to be seen how his role will change in the live-action.
Princess Azula, Suki, Avatar Kyoshi and Other Cast Annoucements
The Avatar: The Last Airbender live-action series has also officially cast Princess Azula, Suki, Yukari, Avatar Kyoshi, and Gran Gran.
AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER’s cast continues to grow: meet the actors who will play Azula, Suki, Yukari, Kyoshi, and Gran Gran. pic.twitter.com/pYx7cfhUVR— Netflix Geeked (@NetflixGeeked) December 16, 2021
In a release Netflix shares:
Elizabeth Yu (she/her; Untitled Ray Romano Film, All My Love) will play Azula, the intensely driven princess of the Fire Nation. A firebending prodigy and relentless perfectionist, she’ll stop at nothing to secure her position as the heir to the throne.
Maria Zhang (she/her) will play Suki, the intimidating leader of the Kyoshi Warriors, an elite female fighting force dedicated to protecting their community and upholding the ideals of their namesake, Avatar Kyoshi.
Tamlyn Tomita (she/her; The Good Doctor, Cobra Kai) will play Yukari, Suki’s mother and the fiercely protective mayor of her small village on Kyoshi Island.
Yvonne Chapman (she/her; Kung Fu, Family Law) will play Avatar Kyoshi, a legendary warrior revered for her bravery, fearsome fighting skills, and uncompromising dedication to the cause of justice.
Casey Camp-Horinek (she/her, Barking Water, Reservation Dogs) will play Gran Gran, Katara and Sokka’s grandmother and the compassionate and wise matriarch of the Southern Water Tribe.
The Full Cast of Netflix’s Live-Action Avatar: The Last Airbender
Below is the complete list of Avatar: The Last Airbender‘s live-action cast, divided by which nation they belong to.
Per a release from Netflix:
- Amber Midthunder (she/her; Prey, Roswell) is Princess Yue, the compassionate spiritual leader of the Northern Water Tribe.
- A Martinez (he/him; Cowboy Bebop, Ambulance) is Pakku, the veteran waterbending master of the Northern Water Tribe and a fierce defender of their traditions.
- Irene Bedard (she/her; Pocahontas, The Stand) is Yagoda, an empathetic healer who serves as a role model for her tribe’s female waterbenders.
- Joel Oulette (he/him; Trickster, Ruby and the Well) is Hahn, a strong and skilled warrior with an unwavering loyalty to his tribe.
- Nathaniel Arcand (he/him; Heartland, FBI: Most Wanted) is Chief Arnook, father to Princess Yue and the respected leader of their tribe.
- Meegwun Fairbrother (he/him; Burden of Truth, Mohawk Girls) is Avatar Kuruk, a previous Avatar with a haunted past.
- Arden Cho (she/her; Partner Track) is June, a tough and persistent bounty hunter known for her ruthless efficiency.
- Utkarsh Ambudkar (he/him; Ghosts, World’s Best) is King Bumi, the ancient and mercurial ruler of the Earth Kingdom city of Omashu.
- Danny Pudi (he/him; Mythic Quest, Corner Office) is The Mechanist, an eccentric inventor and engineer who’s doing his best to raise his son in a war-torn world.
- Lucian-River Chauhan (he/him; Encounter, Heartland) is Teo, the idealistic and high-flying son of The Mechanist.
- James Sie (he/him; Stillwater) is the Cabbage Merchant, a long-suffering vegetable vendor in Omashu.
- Momona Tamada (she/her; Secret Headquarters, The Baby-Sitters Club) will play Ty Lee, an energetic and upbeat teen and one of Princess Azula’s best friends.
- Thalia Tran (she/her; Raya and the Last Dragon, Little) is Mai, an unflappable and deadpan teen who, along with Ty Lee, is one of Princess Azula’s closest allies.
- Ruy Iskandar (he/him; Yes Day, Benders) is Lt. Jee, the first officer of Prince Zuko’s ship.
- Hiro Kanagawa (he/him; Altered Carbon, The Man in the High Castle) is Fire Lord Sozin, the ruthless and ambitious previous ruler of the Fire Nation and grandfather to Fire Lord Ozai.
- C.S. Lee (he/him; Dexter, Warrior) is Avatar Roku, a wise and benevolent past Avatar from the Fire Nation.
- François Chau (he/him; The Expanse, American Gigolo) will play The Great Sage, the venerated spiritual leader of the Fire Nation and guardian of Avatar Roku’s shrine.
- Ryan Mah (he/him; The Good Doctor, Snowpiercer) is Lt. Dang, Commander Zhao’s second-in-command.
- George Takei (he/him; Star Trek, Resident Alien) will voice Koh, an ancient, predatory spirit.
- Randall Duk Kim (he/him; John Wick, Kung Fu Panda) will voice Wan Shi Tong, who appears in the form of a giant owl and is also known as the Spirit of Knowledge.
More About Avatar: The Last Airbender
Netflix also recently shared that the show’s production has begun. The show will make use of cutting-edge technology as it films. The same technology used in The Mandalorian. According to Netflix, this show “will set a new standard for immersive storytelling.” We can’t wait to experience what that will look like. We know it will turn out amazing.
All in all, it sounds like the new live-action series is staying true to the soul of the original show. But, at the same time, strives to bring new perspectives to the material as the franchise evolves. Past live-action ATLA outings have been less than successful, and we feel relieved to see Netflix share a casting roster that reflects and respects the Asian cultures portrayed in the show. Though beloved, even the original cartoon was written by two white men.
In a statement shared by Netflix, showrunner and writer Albert Kim reflects:
It also wasn’t lost on me that this was a world that drew from Asian cultures and legend, which is a rarity to this day and something I appreciated as an Asian-American father. That my daughter was able to see characters who looked like her on screen was more than just entertaining. It was a gift.”
He goes on to say:
We’ll be expanding and growing the world, and there will be surprises for existing fans and those new to the tale. But throughout this process, our byword has been “authenticity.” To the story. To the characters. To the cultural influences. Authenticity is what keeps us going, both in front of the camera and behind it, which is why we’ve assembled a team unlike any seen before—a group of talented and passionate artists who are working around the clock to bring this rich and incredibly beautiful world to life.
All this news has us excited. Hopefully, the more we hear about this series, the more that feeling grows. Especially now that production has officially begun. We’d still love to hear about Toph’s casting soon. Although we may possibly have to wait for a season two for our favorite earth bender to appear. It does make sense not to rush the story. But we really love Toph. Only time will tell. In the meanwhile, we guess you can find us rewatching the original cartoon.
Originally published August 12, 2021.
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