Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender introduces viewers to a number of powerful magic users called Benders, one of the many things that makes the series so fun to watch. Of course, the characters capable of wielding the elements aren’t the only ones fans enjoyed.
Jack DeSena’s Sokka was the only member of Team Avatar without any Bending abilities, but he made up for that by providing much-needed comic relief over the course of the animated series. Whenever the Avatar gang found themselves in a bind, Sokka added levity to the situation.
Sokka also helped solve some of their problems without extraordinary powers, proving that cunning and resolve are just as important as brute strength.
Speaking with CinemaBlend, DeSena talked about his character’s place on Team Avatar and why he thinks Sokka resonates with fans so much. He pointed to the character’s “relatability,” suggesting that everyone has felt like Sokka at some point:
And something I love talking about is that idea of like, I think it’s very, very relatable to being in a group of friends or to, you know, get to high school, or get to college, or get to a new job and look around and go like, ‘Wow, everyone else here is more special than me. And I’m just like some guy, and how did I end up here? And what do I bring to the table?’ And I think Sokka is a lovely example of digging down into what makes you special, even when you don’t feel like it.
Sokka’s presence helps the other Last Airbender characters shine, too
Although Sokka’s character sends an important message that one doesn’t need to be extraordinary to make a difference, DeSena feels his inclusion in the series serves a dual purpose. Placing characters like Aang or Katara next to Sokka emphasizes how special they really are, a message that might not be delivered as effectively if every major character from The Last Airbender had Bending abilities.
“I love that they built that perspective into the world,” he said. “It helps you feel how exceptional these other characters are and how meaningful it is to have these like magical beings in the world when you have a constant presence of, you know, the quote-unquote more ‘regular ordinary run-of-the-mill dude’ who’s trying to get by on his wits alone.”
So I think Sokka’s presence adds a relatability that makes Aang and Katara and Zuko and Toph feel even more special when you understand the import of these characters.
Hopefully, fans will see more relatable characters like Sokka in future Avatar projects. Nickelodeon’s Avatar Studios plans to make movies and shows set in this universe, and one of them could certainly follow a non-Bender. If they’re as charming as Sokka, they won’t need Bending abilities to draw in an audience, just a sense of humor and a well-written story to follow.
And then there’s Netflix’s live-action remake of the original Last Airbender show. We don’t know who will play Sokka, but we’re definitely curious.