Everything changed when… Netflix announced the live-action cast for Avatar: The Last Airbender.
The series reimagines the much-beloved Nickelodeon cartoon of the same name, which follows a group of teens on their quest to master elemental powers and stop the destructive war between their nations.
Today, Netflix announced four series regulars for its new series: Gordon Cormier, Kiawentiio, Ian Ousley, and Dallas Liu.
Meet Your New ATLA Cast
Gordon Cormier as AANG
Cormier will star as Aang, 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.
Cormier is known for Gabby Duran and The Unsittables. He also appeared in Netflix’s Lost in Space and recently in the Disney+ series reboot of Turner and Hooch.
Kiawentiio as KATARA
Kiawentiio will play Katara, 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.
Kiawentiio is a Mohawk actress from the Akwesasne community. She recently starred in the feature film Beans, and recurs on Peacock’s comedy Rutherford Falls. She also has a voice role in Marvel’s What If…?
Ian Ousley as SOKKA
Ousley will portray Sokka, 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.
Ousley’s breakout role was in Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why. He later recurred on Disney+’s Big Shot, and recently wrapped filming on new Apple TV dramedy Physical.
Dallas Liu as ZUKO
Finally, Liu plays 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.
Liu most recently starred in the hit Hulu comedy series PEN15. He previously appeared in CSI: Cyber and Fox’s Bones. Liu will next be seen in Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.
What the creators are saying
In addition to the casting announcement, Netflix revealed the core creative team behind Avatar: The Last Airbender. (This comes following news that the team behind the original animated series parted ways with the Netflix project.)
Albert Kim (Sleepy Hollow, Nikita) will serve as showrunner, executive producer, and writer on the series. Additional executive producers include Rideback’s Dan Lin (The Lego Movie, Aladdin), Lindsey Liberatore (Walker), Michael Goi (Swamp Thing, American Horror Story), and Roseanne Liang. Goi and Liang will also direct along with Jabbar Raisani.
In a blog post, showrunner Kim spoke about the importance of making ATLA authentic and casting actors with Asian or Indigenous backgrounds.
“A live-action version would establish a new benchmark in representation and bring in a whole new generation of fans,” Kim wrote. “This was a chance to showcase Asian and Indigenous characters as living, breathing people. Not just in a cartoon, but in a world that truly exists, very similar to the one we live in.”
You can read Kim’s full blog here.
So, what do you think of Netflix’s live-action cast for Avatar: The Last Airbender? Let us know in the comments.