Netflix's Live-Action 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' Series Finally Has A Cast

We already know that everything changed when the fire nation attacked, that's old news now! There are bigger things happening in the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender — like Netflix finally nailing down a cast and giving us our first hint at the new ATLA series to come!

Based on the hit animated Nickelodeon series from 2005, this new Avatar series reimagines the world of benders in live-action. In this world, some people have the ability to bend one of four elements: water, air, earth, or fire. Only the Avatar can bend all four. Cyclically being reincarnated into one of the four element-based nations, the Avatar's job is to maintain the balance of the world. And in this case, the keeper of world peace is 12 years old.

Avatar The Last Airbender Netflix Cast

Rumors have been floating around the internet for a while now, but Netflix has officially confirmed the starring roles in the new series. Gordon Cormier (The Stand) is set to take on the starring role of Aang, the fearless fun-loving 12-year old tasked with mastering all four elements and ending the war between nations. Kiawentiio (Anne With An E) stars as Katara, the young waterbender whose warmth and determination consistently holds the group together. Ian Ousley (13 Reasons Why) will star as Sokka, her older brother who masks his doubts with his world-class sarcastic wit. And because every story needs an iconic villain, Dallas Liu (Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings) will star as Zuko, the hot-headed fire nation prince hunting them down to regain his honor.

Netflix has also confirmed that Albert Kim has signed on as a writer, executive producer, and showrunner of the new series. Kim's previous credits include Sleepy Hollow, Nikita, and Deadly Class, but his most important qualification is being a fan of the animated series himself. According to Kim, his involvement in the show is entirely his daughter's fault, for getting him hooked on the series years ago. In the official announcement statement, Kim added:

"Flash forward 15 years. Netflix offers me the opportunity to develop a live-action remake of Avatar. My first thought was, 'Why? What is there I could do or say with the story that wasn't done or said in the original?'... But the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I became. VFX technology has advanced to the point where a live-action version can not only faithfully translate what had been done in animation — it can bring a rich new visual dimension to a fantastic world. We'll be able to see bending in a real and visceral way we've never seen before."

A New Era of Avatar

We need not discuss the first attempt at bringing Team Avatar into the world of live-action, but true fans are unfortunately aware of the disastrous 2010 adaptation. One of its many flaws was in the casting.

The animated series combined an anime-inpired style with that of American cartoons and specifically drew inspiration from East Asian and Inuit cultures. So the decision to cast the three leads as white actors were baffling at best. Thankfully, that mistake hasn't been repeated and according to Kim, was a crucial motivating factor for working on the series. Kim said:

"A life-action version would establish a new benchmark in representation and bring in a whole new generation of fans. 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.

While things are looking up for Avatar fans, there's still an understandable amount of hesitation about this series. The first failed adaptation is one factor, but it doesn't help that the creators of the animated ATLA abandoned the Netflix project last year, citing creative differences. On the bright side, the dup are now working on other Avatar-related animated series for Nickelodeon, giving fans a lot more to look forward to. That said, these latest announcements show that Netflix's Avatar: The Last Airbender is taking a step in the right direction.