Avatar: The Last Airbender star praises the show’s “incredible” casting

Fans of Nickelodeon’s beloved animated show Avatar: The Last Airbender generally don’t recall its first live-action adaptation with fondness. The 2010 Last Airbender movie directed by M. Night Shyamalan was loathed in almost every way and remains a perfect example of how not to do an adaptation.

One of the biggest reasons for its failure was the mistake of casting white actors in the main roles, something the upcoming Netflix remake is avoiding. The casting so far looks pretty great, and star Paul Sun-Hyung Lee is already rhapsodizing about the “incredible” team that’s been assembled.

Sun-Hyung Lee (Kim’s Convenience, The Mandalorian) has joined the show as Iroh of the Fire Nation, everyone’s favorite uncle. A man of seemingly infinite wisdom, Iroh is the guardian of his nephew Prince Zuko. Lee couldn’t be a better choice to play Iroh, but don’t take it from me. Greg Baldwin — who voiced the character in both Avatar and its spinoff The Legend of Korra — is also delighted with the casting:

Avatar: The Last Airbender remake will have “heart, and fun, and excitement”

So far, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee is joined by Gordon Cormier (Aang), Kiawentiio Tarbell (Katara), Ian Ousley (Sokka), Dallas Liu (Zuko), Daniel Dae Kim (Fire Lord Ozai), Lim Kay Siu (Gyatso), and Ken Leung (Commander Zhao). And he has so much praise for every one of them.

“Dallas Liu, playing Zuko, I am so looking forward to working with him. We had a rehearsal today and he just blew me away. Blew me away,”  Lee said in a recent Q&A. “Ian Ousley, who’s playing Sokka, my God, he’s gonna steal every scene he’s in. He is so funny. He is so, just, for me, pitch-perfect for Sokka…The actress Kiawentiio, who plays Katara, she’s a crafted actress. Gordon Cormier, who’s playing Aang, is a revelation.”

[It’s] special, when you see a wall of faces that look like your own. It’s amazing. It’s amazing. And with something like [Avatar: The Last Airbender], you can’t go any other way. You can’t. And there’s that deep consideration when it comes to casting. And everybody that’s up on that wall, it’s not just because of the color of their skin. They’re all accomplished actors. It’s incredible.

His words are sure to settle some nerves among fans who are worried that Netflix will mess up the show, especially after hearing the original series creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko departed the project early in development due to creative differences. Until fans feast their eyes on what the show has to offer, there’s always going to be a great deal of apprehension. All we can do now is listen to Sun-Hyung Lee sing its praises, which he does a lot.

“There’s gonna be an incredible amount of heart, and fun, and excitement to this series and I think the fans are gonna love it, the fans and people who have never seen it before,” Lee said. “I’ve got a really good feeling about this.”

Avatar: The Last Airbender is currently filming in Canada. The debut season is slated to conclude shooting in May 2022. With that in mind, we should expect it either in the latter end of 2022 or early 2023.

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