New Avatar: The Last Airbender trailer features two major changes from the original show

Fire Lord Sozin attack the air nomads in new Avatar trailer. How will Netflix's remake change the animated classic?
Avatar: The Last Airbender. Ken Leung as Zhao in season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2024
Avatar: The Last Airbender. Ken Leung as Zhao in season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2024 /
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Netflix released a brand new trailer for its live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender remake show today, and it has amped up my excitement even more as a life-long fan of the original cartoon.

We are long overdue for some quality ATLA content, and if the trailers are anything close to the final product, which releases on February 22, then rabid fans like myself should be satisfied. That being said, a live-action adaptation will come with changes from the original source material, and maybe even entire episodes getting cut altogether.

A couple of these changes can be seen in the recent trailer, and I am pretty excited about them.

Fire Lord Sozin's air temple attack

Two shots toward the beginning of the trailer show a Fire Nation leader with a long white beard and armor fire-bending at an unknown opponent. I've seen speculation from fans that this character is Avatar Roku, but there are several small details that lead me to believe this is actually Fire Lord Sozin.

Both characters are portrayed as older men with long beards, but we never saw Roku wear armor like this in the original show. As the Avatar, Roku gave up all of his worldly possessions and dedicated his life to studying the elements and the spiritual aspects of being the Avatar. I don't think he would be donning ornate Fire Nation armor that looks like it belongs to a royal family member.

The character also seems to be initiating an attack with an intimidating look on his face, which doesn't fit with Roku's attitude from the original show. He was more of a defensive bender, only using force when he had to, similar to Aang and other Avatars.

With show opting to include the Fire Nation attack on the Air nomads, something that happens while our hero Aang slumbers in the ice, having Fire Lord Sozin lead the brutal assault would go a long way towards establishing his fearsome, long-lasting reputation; there's a reason why Sozin's Comet, which becomes a key plot point later in the show, is named after him, and while his descnedants are still trying to capture the Avatar generations later. The manic search for the last airbender passes all the way down to Sozin's great-grandson Prince Zuko. The opponent that Sozin attacks in the trailer could be an airbender who just defeated the injured Fire Nation troops in the background of the shot. It may even be Aang's mentor Monk Gyatso, who we hear speaking in the trailer just seconds earlier warning of the danger posed by the Fire Nation.

Unlike in the Nickelodeon show, Fire Lord Sozin will appear in season 1 of the Netflix show, where he will be played by Hiro Kanagawa. Sozin was mentioned but did not appear in the original show until season 3, where his life-long struggle with Avatar Roku and motivations for starting the 100-year-war were revealed in a flashback episode.

Zhao's attack on Kyoshi Island

Another new addition from the trailer shows Commander Zhao, played by Ken Leung, confronting the Kyoshi Warriors with a detatchment of Fire Nation troops at his back. This is a scene that does not happen in the original show, where Prince Zuko is the one to have a skirmish on Kyoshi Island. This doesn't mean Zuko won't pop up as well, but I think Zhao's larger force gives the Kyoshi warriors an opportunity to fight against a formidable group of firebenders and showcase the abilities of non-benders.

It seems like we'll will be spending a lot more time on Kyoshi island this time around, which allows more time for the Sokka-Suki relationship to breath; we might even get an appearance from Avatar Kyoshi herself. Zhao's inclusion also gives the audience a chance to understand his goals and motivations, something that the show's producers wanted to explore. Since Zhao will likely only be around for the first season, I'm all for giving Ken Leung more screentime to work with.

Next. atla. Every actor in Netflix’s Avatar: the Last Airbender remake (and who they’re playing). dark

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