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Northern Star

The Student News Site of Northern Illinois University

Northern Star

Take 2: Another live-action Last Airbender adaptation

A man walks between two rows of soldiers with helmets on. “Avatar: The Last Airbender” will be getting a live-action series on Netflix in 2024. (Courtesy of YouTube)

Netflix recently shared a stunning trailer “Avatar: The Last Airbender” with great costumes, an authentic cast and just enough flair to get audiences hooked on its latest live-action adaptation.  

The show is based on the hit Nickelodeon animated series of the same name, originally created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, which ran from February 2005 to July 2008. 

The series is set in a fantastical world in which the people are split into four distinct countries and cultures that represent one of the four elements – water, earth, fire and air. There are people in the series known as “benders” who can manipulate these elements using different martial arts fighting styles.  

This adaptation is helmed by Albert Kim and will be the first live-action attempt of the series since 2010s “The Last Airbender,” film by director M. Night Shyamalan. Shyamalan’s adaptation was universally hated by both critics and fans of the original show. 

Needless to say, this adaptation has a lot to make up for to redeem live-action as a production style for the “Avatar” series. 

One of the biggest complaints from the last adaptation was poor casting and lack of authentic representation. 

The original show is heavily inspired by both Asian cultures and the Inuit peoples of the Arctic and Subarctic regions.  

From looking at the given cast list, the trailer and the cast advertisements, it seems this new series has hit the ball out of the park. The cast looks great, and they feel like they were pulled right out of the original series. 

The three announced leads, Aang, played by Gordon Cormier, Katara, played by Kiawentiio and Sokka, played by Ian Ousley look much more appropriate for their characters then previous casting of these characters. Kiawentio is a member of the Ahkwesáhsne tribe; it’s nice to see an actual indigenous actor portraying a role like this because authentic representation matters.  

Paul Sun-Hyung Lee was also a great choice as the lovable Uncle Iroh – his looks and mannerisms fit the character perfectly. 

My only hope is that the cast’s performance is as good as their looks. I do wish we could have been shown a small scene so fans could judge the show more appropriately.  

I also really loved the overall look of the trailer. The costumes and setting seem to be so accurate; it feels like the old show is coming to life. The fire bending I saw and Aang’s flying bison, Appa, also looked visually appealing.  

One complaint that the 2010 film received was the cramped and jumbled plot. This new series seems to be able to overcome this issue as it will be released as an eight-episode series rather than a single film, so it will be much easier to adapt the story.

The show is scheduled to air on Feb. 22, 2024, according to Netflix.

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