Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender remake continues apace, hoping to recapture the beloved animated series’ magic where M. Night Shyamalan’s big budget adaptation failed. We already know that Gordon Cormier (Lost in Space) will play the heroic Aang, Kiawentiio (Anne with an E) will be the resourceful Katara, Ian Ousley (13 Reasons Why) will be the sardonic Sokka and Dallas Liu (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) will be hot-headed Prince Zuko. Now we’ve got a few more casting announcements to round out some other fan favorites.
Paul Sun-Hyung Lee of Kim’s Convenience and The Mandalorian will play the wise, large-hearted Uncle Iroh while Daniel Dae Kim (Lost) will play the fearsome Fire Lord Ozai. Pretty good cast!
The quality of the cast and crew may allay some fears about the production itself, which has faced a rocky road so far. Fans cheered when original creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko were brought on to lead the new, live-action effort, but the two departed over creative differences, throwing doubt into just how faithful this series would remain to the original. Throw in Netflix’s recent, ill-begotten attempt to adapt Cowboy Bebop, and it seems fans are right to be nervous.
Sleepy Hollow‘s Albert Kim is now acting as showrunner, with Dan Lin (The Lego Movie), Lindsey Liberatore (Walker) and Michael Goi (Swamp Thing) rounding out the lead team. They could all very well be good, but questions remains over just why DiMartino and Konietzko decided to leave.
Still, we’ve got nothing but good feelings about actors involved. Kim’s Convenience has proved to be an unlikely springboard for many talented actors, including breakout star Simu Liu, who is now an Avenger and will be hosting Saturday Night Live this weekend.
The animated series tells the story four nations that lived together in harmony until (say it with me now) everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked. 12-year-old Aang is unearthed from the ice Captain America-style and may well be the answer to a prophecy about a day of coming peace, but he has a lot of training to learn first. The epic tale was told with remarkable nuance for a Nickelodeon show, every bit as fun, thrilling and moving for its young audience as it is for their parents. You can (and should) stream the whole thing on Netflix ahead of this live-action revival.
One last fun fact for RELEVANT audiences. As we’ve noted before, in the original series, Prince Zuko was voiced by Dante Basco. Prior to Avatar, Basco was best known for playing the fiery tempered Rufio in Steven Spielberg’s Hook. However, RELEVANT fans of a certain age may also remember him from Extreme Days, the 2001 faith-based movie about extreme sports with the TobyMac soundtrack.
Tyler Huckabee is RELEVANT's senior editor. He lives in Nashville with his wife, dog and Twitter account.