Netflix's Avatar: The Last Airbender Series Starts Production, Adds Ken Leung And More To Cast

Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony. Then, everything changed when Netflix decided to move forward with their very own "Avatar: The Last Airbender" live-action series. Today brings the exciting news that the series has officially started production and has rounded out the cast with a few new additions — some of which include recognizable names and beloved characters from the original Nickelodeon series. 

First comes the announcement that Netflix's "Avatar: The Last Airbender" will begin production in Vancouver, in what will apparently be one of the largest virtual productions in all of North America. The new series will make use of the same high-tech methods previously utilized for the production of Netflix's George Clooney-starring film "The Midnight Sky," though many viewers will be more familiar with the use of transformative LED screens throughout both seasons of Lucasfilm's "The Mandalorian." The main advantage of this approach is that it will allow the visual effects crew of "Avatar: The Last Airbender" to complete their work in real-time alongside filming on the series, which any fan of the original series can tell you will require quite a bit of CGI to do proper justice to the immensely-detailed world of "Avatar." 

Showrunner, executive producer, and writer Albert Kim released a statement to mark the occasion, saying:

"We're thrilled to start production on this incredible project, and we're especially excited to work with the technology-benders at PXO [Pixomondo Virtual Production] to create the wondrous world of 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' using the most advanced techniques available to filmmakers anywhere in the world."

Avatar: The Last Airbender Casting Announcements

Along with the news about the commencement of filming and the impressive technology on display, Netflix also announced three new additions to the cast of "Avatar: The Last Airbender." Paul Sun-Hyung Lee ("Kim's Convenience," "The Mandalorian"), Lim Kay Siu ("Anna and The King," "Nightwatch"), and Ken Leung ("Lost," "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," "Industry") have all joined the cast in various roles of great importance in the lore of the story.

Paul Sun-Hyung Lee has been cast as the fan-favorite character of Uncle Iroh, described as "a retired Fire Nation general and the wise and nurturing mentor to his hot-headed nephew, Prince Zuko." Voiced with endless grace and an endearing touch by the legendary Makoto Iwamatsu until his death in 2006 (whereupon Greg Baldwin took up the responsibility), Uncle Iroh serves as a mentor and voice of reason to his unruly, antagonistic nephew Zuko and is a main highlight in one of the absolute best episodes in the entire original series, "The Tales of Ba Sing Se." Lim Kay Siu will play Gyatso, "a kind and caring Air Nomad monk who is the guardian, father figure, and best friend to Aang." Finally, Ken Leung has been tabbed as the fearsome Commander Zhao, "a scheming and ambitious Fire Nation military officer who's eager to leverage an unexpected encounter with a desperate Prince Zuko to advance his personal goals."

They will join the previously announced cast that includes Gordon Cormier as Aang, Kiawentiio as Katara, Ian Ousley as Sokka, Dallas Liu as Zuko, and Daniel Dae Kim as Fire Lord Ozai.

The series will be an authentic adaptation of the award-winning and beloved Nickelodeon animated series AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER reimagined as a live-action adventure. Albert Kim (Sleepy Hollow, Nikita) serves as showrunner, executive producer, and writer. Alongside Kim, Rideback's Dan Lin (The Lego Movie, Aladdin) and Lindsey Liberatore (Walker) serve as executive producers as well as Michael Goi (Swamp Thing, American Horror Story). Goi, Roseanne Liang (also a co-executive producer), Jabbar Raisani and Jet Wilkinson direct.