Water. Earth. Fire. Air. Long ago, Nickelodeon made a hit animated series called Avatar: The Last Airbender. Then, everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked. Or rather, when Netflix began working on a live-action remake.
On June 17, Netflix debuted the show's first teaser trailer, confirming a release window and giving us our first look at Avatar Aang and his friends (aka the Gaang). Netflix's history with live-action adaptations of animated series admittedly hasn't been the greatest, with shows like Cowboy Bebop or Death Note paling in comparison to their anime counterparts. On January 23, Netflix unveiled the first official trailer, which showed off the Gaang in their full glory, and announced an official release date: February 22.
But while some fans will say they're not excited, many of us at Tom's Guide are at least curious. Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of the greatest animated series of all time, and its only other live-action adaptation to date, M. Night Shyamalan's universally panned The Last Airbender in 2010, set a pretty low bar. If Netflix can at least surpass that, at worst it should make for an interesting novelty to see Team Avatar's saga reimagined. And at best, it could blow our minds just as much as the original series did.
Here's everything we know so far about Netflix's live-action Avatar The Last Airbender series.
Avatar The Last Airbender release date
Netflix has Avatar The Last Airbender set to premiere on February 22.
After first announcing the live-action series in 2018, Netflix has remained relatively quiet about what fans can expect. The original series's creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko were initially on board but left the project in 2020 over creative differences with Netflix. Filming began in Vancouver at the end of 2021.
Avatar The Last Airbender cast
Gordon Cormier (The Stand, Two Sentence Horror Stories) takes center stage as Aang, the happy-go-lucky 12-year-old tasked with maintaining harmony among the world's four nations. Anyone would have a tough time following up Zach Tyler Eisen's iconic performance as Aang in the cartoon, but we're interested to see what a new face can bring to the role.
He’ll be joined by Kiawentiio (Beans, Rutherford Falls) as waterbender Katara and Ian Ousley (13 Reasons Why) as her brother, Sokka. Their fateful discovery of Aang in an iceberg near their village is the show's inciting incident as the trio sets off to help the Avatar master all four elements and save the world.
On the Fire Nation side, Dallas Liu (Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings) will play firebending royalty Zuko, Elizabeth Yu (Somewhere in Queens) takes on the role of his power-hungry sister Azula, with Daniel Dae Kim (Lost) as their father and central antagonist, Fire Lord Ozai.
A slew of supporting characters have been confirmed as well. Danny Pudi from Community and Mythic Quest has been tapped to play the Mechanist. Utkarsh Ambudkar (Ghosts, World’s Best) assumes the role of Bumi, the mad King of Omashu, while Maria Zhang (All I Ever Wanted) will play the leader of the Kyoshi Warriors Suki, and Yvonne Chapman (Kung Fu) stars as Avatar Kyoshi herself. Back in the Water Tribe, Amber Midthunder (Prey) takes the stage as the Northern Water Tribe Princess Yue and Casey Camp-Horinek will play Gran Gran, Katara and Sokka’s grandmother.
Avatar The Last Airbender storylines
Netflix hasn't released any details about the show's plot, but given how much of a fan-favorite the original series was, we can safely assume it'll at least follow the same broad strokes as the cartoon.
The award-winning animated Avatar series aired on Nickelodeon from 2005 to 2008. It's set in a world where certain people called benders can manipulate the four elements — earth, water, fire and air — and the Avatar, the only person capable of harnessing all four, is tasked with returning balance to the world as well as connecting the physical and spiritual realms.
The Avatar is meant to be reborn once every generation but has been missing for a century when the show begins. After discovering Aaang frozen in an iceberg and realizing he's the long-lost Avatar, Katara and Sokka travel across the world with him so he can learn earth, water and firebending to overthrow the tyrannical Fire Nation.
The June 17 teaser showed off emblems of the Water Tribe, Earth Kingdom, Fire Nation and Air Nomads along with each nation's respective element. At the end, the show's release date appears on a piece of fabric that's been scorched by flames — presumably by the Fire Nation, which is waging a devastating war against the rest of the world.
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Alyse Stanley is a news editor at Tom’s Guide overseeing weekend coverage and writing about the latest in tech, gaming and entertainment.
Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, Alyse worked as an editor for the Washington Post’s sunsetted video game section, Launcher. She previously led Gizmodo’s weekend news desk, where she covered breaking tech news — everything from the latest spec rumors and gadget launches to social media policy and cybersecurity threats. She has also written game reviews and features as a freelance reporter for outlets like Polygon, Unwinnable, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. She’s a big fan of horror movies, cartoons, and miniature painting.