Avatar: The Last Airbender: key information
– Launching in late February on Netflix
– Created by Albert Kim
– Based on the iconic Nickelodeon anime of the same name
– First teaser released during Netflix Geeked Week 2023
– Official plot synopsis revealed
– Expansive cast list confirmed
– No word on whether a second season is in the works
Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender is gearing up to blow away the competition. The beloved Nickelodeon anime series is the latest to receive the live-action remake treatment on the streaming giant and, with its release fast approaching, now’s as good a time as any to learn more about it.
So, what do you need to know about Avatar‘s impending launch on the world’s best streaming service? In the live-action reimagining, fans will once again enjoy the world created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, albeit with a heftier, film-sized budget (NB: we don’t talk about The Last Airbender‘s 2010 movie adaptation, got it?). Expect Netflix’s take – which is one of 10 exciting shows we can’t wait for in early 2024 – to be much closer to the original, then.
But we digress. Here’s everything we know so far about Avatar: The Last Airbender, including its release date, teaser trailer, plot speculation, confirmed cast details, and more. Potential spoilers follow for the original series, which is one of the best anime of all-time.
Avatar: The Last Airbender release date
Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender will debut worldwide on February 22. All eight episodes will drop at once, too (per Variety). Touchingly, its launch date is also a special nod to the original series, which premiered on February 21, 2005.
Avatar: The Last Airbender trailer
The epic first teaser trailer for Avatar: The Last Airbender was revealed during Netflix’s Geeked Week 2023 – and when we say epic, we mean it.
In just two minutes, we’re given an awe-inspiring look at how faithful Netflix is being to the original show. There are shots of key characters, including Aang, Katara, Sokka, and Zuko in action, as well as many other individuals (of whom we’ll touch on below) who are central to its plot. Of course, Netflix couldn’t pass up the chance to show us Aang’s cuddly animal friends Appa and Momo, who make a welcome appearance in the teaser, too. Fingers crossed we get another spectacular look at the series in the run-up to release.
Avatar: The Last Airbender confirmed cast
Here’s the confirmed Avatar: The Last Airbender cast list (fair warning, it’s a really long one!):
- Gordon Cormier as Aang
- Dallus Liu as Prine Zuko
- Kiawentiio as Katara
- Ian Ousley as Sokka
- Paul Sun-Hyung Lee as Uncle Iroh
- Elizabeth Yu as Princess Azula
- Daniel Dae Kim as Fire Lord Ozai
- Ken Leung as Commander Zhao
- Maria Zhang as Suki
- Lim Kay Siu as Gyatso
- A Martinez as Pakku
- Amber Midthunder as Princess Yue
- Yvonne Chapman as Avatar Kyoshi
- Tamlyn Tomia as Yukari
- Casey Camp-Horinek as Gran-Gran
- C.S. Lee as Avatar Roku
- Danny Pudi as The Mechanist
- Utkarsh Ambudkar as King Bumi
- James Sie as the Cabbage Merchant
- Rainbow Dickerson as Kya
- Joe Montgrand as Hakoda
- Arden Cho as June
- Momona Tamada as Ty Lee
- Thalia Tran as Mai
- Joel Oulette as Hahn
- Nathaniel Arcand as Chief Arnook
- Meegwun Fairbrother as Avatar Kuruk
- Irene Bedard as Yagoda
- Ryan Mah as Lieutenant Dang
- François Chau as the Great Sage
- Sebastien Amoruso as Jet
- Hiro Kanagawa as Fire Lord Sozin
- George Takei as the voice of Koh of Face Stealer
- Randall Duk Kim as the voice of Wan Shi Toing
- Lucian-River Chauhan as Teo
- Ruy Iskander as Lieutenant Jee
- Taylor Lam Wright as the Duke
- Wes Valarao as Smellerbee
- Nathaniel Kong as Longshot
- Jeff Yung as Monk Tsutop
There are certainly A-listers and other notable actors you’ll recognize from the official list, such as Community‘s Danny Pudi from Community, and legendary actors George Takei and Daniel Dae Kim. When it comes to the core quartet of Cormier, Kiawentiio, Ian, and Dallas, though, their work before may be fairly unknown and Avatar: The Last Airbender will mark their breakout roles.
Avatar: The Last Airbender story
There’s a fair amount to say about the Avatar: The Last Airbender plot, but Netflix’s official synopsis is the best place to start.
“Water. Earth. Fire Air,” the lengthy plot reveal begins. “The four nations once lived in harmony, with the Avatar, master of all four elements, keeping peace between them. But everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked and wiped out the Air Nomads, the first step taken by the firebenders towards conquering the world. With the current incarnation of the Avatar yet to emerge, the world has lost hope.
“But, like a light in the darkness, hope springs forth when Aang, a young Air Nomad – and the last of his kind – reawakens to take his rightful place as the next Avatar. Alongside his newfound friends Sokka and Katara, siblings and members of the Southern Water Tribe, Aang embarks on a fantastical, action-packed quest to save the world and fight back against the fearsome onslaught of Fire Lord Ozai. But, with a driven Crown Prince Zuko determined to capture them, it won’t be an easy task. They’ll need the help of the many allies and colorful characters they meet along the way.”
While the adaptation stays true to the show, anyone familiar with The Last Airbender will notice a few differences. Firstly, the departure of the original show’s creators, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, who left in 2020 after working on the live-action remake for two years.
Albert Kim assumed sole show-running duties after that. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly (EW), Kim said of the duo’s departure: “You’d have to be an idiot not to be intimidated a little bit. My first reaction [to being offered the job] after ‘hell yeah’ was ‘holy s**t. Do I really want to do this? Is there a way to improve upon the original?’ Whenever you tackle something that’s already beloved by millions of fans, you have to ask yourself those questions.”
In answering those queries, Kim also confirmed Netflix’s adaptation won’t be a beat-for-beat re-tread of the original, telling EW: “We don’t start the show the way the animated series starts. That was a conscious decision to show people this is not the animated series. We had to sometimes unravel storylines and remix them in a new way to make sense for a serialized drama. So I’m very curious to see what’ll happen in terms of reaction to that.”
However, he attempted to placate any early angry reactions from long-time fans, saying Netflix’s Avatar series will also honor what came before. “It ran the range of really nerdy little things that no one except for diehard fans might wonder about – questions about Katara’s mom or Aang’s parentage – to bigger picture stuff about how to translate what made the original so special into a live-action version.” he added. “This is Avatar: The Last Airbender, but it is our version of Avatar: The Last Airbender.”
Thanks to the teaser trailer and cast list, we also know Fire Lord Ozai and Princess Azula will be introduced a lot earlier than in the original Nickelodeon show. This will, hopefully, build on the characters and storylines from the original series and give The Last Airbender fanatics something new to engage with in this adaptation’s debut season.
When it comes to episodes to look out for, Kiawentiio teased to Netflix’s Tudum website that episode 5 is one of her personal favorites. “As soon as I read it, I couldn’t wait to film it,” she said. “The characters go through a lot of different things, and they see their situation through different perspectives, and I just can’t wait for you guys to see that.”
Elsewhere, in an official Netflix statement posted in August 2021, Kim revealed how this live-action adaptation is “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”. Expect plenty of authenticity and realism from what amounts to a fantasy-based series, then.
Where to watch Avatar: The Last Airbender
If you’re planning on watching Avatar: The Last Airbender‘s live-action remake, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got yourself a Netflix account. It’s the only place you’ll be able to stream it, so a Netflix subscription will be necessary.
We’ve got better news for anyone who wants to stream the original animated series, though. In the US, you can thankfully watch all three seasons of the anime via Netflix and Paramount Plus. One season is also available on Prime Video.
Internationally, UK fans can stream all three seasons on Netflix, Paramount Plus, Prime Video, and Sky. Lastly, Australian audiences can view the entire show on Paramount Plus, though one is also watchable via Foxtel.
Will there be an Avatar: The Last Airbender season 2?
There’s no official word about Avatar: The Last Airbender season 2, with Netflix likely waiting on its critical and commercial success. If it proves popular enough, you can expect to see it on our best Netflix shows list post-release.
If we take a quick look at the streaming giant’s success with live-action anime adaptations, Cowboy Bebop was canceled after one season – it wasn’t very good – but Kakegurui and One Piece received season 2 renewals. In short: everything depends on the reception The Last Airbender will get from Netflix’s sizeable userbase.
With three seasons from the original Nickelodeon show to work from, there’s plenty more story to tell if Avatar: The Last Airbender captures audiences’ hearts on Netflix. Here’s hoping it’s as good as it looks so we can return to Avatar‘s fascinating world after the first season is released.