It’s been some time since we’ve heard news about Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender, but today the streaming company is finally revealing details: namely, the cast for some major roles. The show will feature Gordon Cormier (The Stand) as Aang, Kiawentiio (Beans) as Katara, Ian Ousley (13 Reasons Why) as Sokka, and Dallas Liu (Shang-Chi and the Legends of the Ten Rings) as Zuko.
The live-action adaptation was first announced in 2018 and ran into some trouble last year when Avatar creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko stepped away from the project citing creative differences with Netflix. “I realized I couldn’t control the creative direction of the series, but I could control how I responded,” DiMartino wrote in a blog post at the time, adding that “Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Avatar has the potential to be good... but what I can be certain about is that whatever version ends up on-screen, it will not be what Bryan and I had envisioned or intended to make.”
Taking over as showrunner is Albert Kim (Sleepy Hollow, Nikita), who posted a blog today about the process of creating what will be the second live-action take on the series, following M. Night Shyamalan’s 2010 film. “The more I thought about it, the more intrigued I became,” Kim wrote. “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.”
He also touched on the casting specifically, noting that “a live-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.”
There’s no word yet on when the new show will debut on Netflix.