When the channel Nickelodeon was in the brink of a shutdown, one particular TV series saved it. That is none other than the popular animated series Avatar the last Airbender. It became an instant classic winning both the heart of the audience and the critics alike. This young-adult based TV series was light-hearted yet it tackled some very serious issues that were uncommon for other animated series at that time.
The actions with the theme of the elements were stunning and the visual effect was also ahead of its time. But, the most praised part of the series was definitely its storytelling. Each character got enough time to shine making it a very complex yet enjoyable show. So, today we are going to discuss everything that you need to know about this great television series.
The series began its journey in February 2005 with the pilot episode. The first episode was titled as THE BOY IN THE ICEBERG which basically set up the premise of the whole series. The idea of the series and the characters were first conceptualized in 2001. The main art director and the scriptwriter turn a balding old man into the vision of a child and thus they got the main character Aang. They went on to the development stage from there and after a lot of production disaster, it finally released its teaser on the comic con 2004.
The audiences burst with huge applause after the initial screen and the production panel got the green light. Initially, the writers wanted the series to have a mix of every possible outcome over a positive light. So, they combined yoga, Kung Fu, martial art and a segment of philosophical knowledge to create the masterpiece.
Origin Of The Story
The developer of the story was highly motivated and influenced by the East Asian culture and the Chinese mythologies. They used these themes as the basic set up of the story. The elementary depiction of earth, water, fire, and the air has also come from this region as well. They also used some real-life locations of the Asian region to use them as the locations of the series.
The story writer admits that most of the characters have historical influences on them. Each having its own traits from the figures of recent histories. The philosophical explanation of the chakra and the gates also came from the Chinese philosophers. The actions, however, have a mixed adaptation. They came from manga and old American fight styles alike. They combined all of these pieces together to ultimately create an amalgamation of different cultures.
To understand the series more closely you need to know what each of the characters stands for, how they are presented and how to stand out from the rest of the crowd. So, let’s have a look at all the major characters of Avatar the last Airbender
Avatar Aang is the titular character of the whole series. He is the 12-year-old boy who is responsible to bring peace and balance to the whole world. Aang has the power to control all of the elements and he can also male these elements void with sheer concentration. This character is a very complex character in the series as he has confusion about his true calling.
The developer made Aang while imagining how an old monk would look like in a young man’s body. He has the signature arrow mark on his forehead that lets him have the supreme control over all elements. His relationship with Katara is also another main attraction of the series as it gets more complicated and strong as each episode passes.
Katara is definitely one of the strongest and most clear-headed characters in the series. She comes from the water tribe and has unmatched power when it comes to controlling the water as her will. She forms a strong connection with Aang and later becomes his girlfriend and ultimately his wife. Katara serves as the moral compass for Aang throughout the whole series.
She is fast, kind and just the perfect female character that a series needs. The writers always tried not to make Katara a damsel in distress so they provided the strong will and a great control over the elements to Katara. She defies all gender stereotypes and acts as a teacher of Aang as she teaches him the art of water bending and earth bending.
Although he serves mostly as the comic relief on the series, Sokka is nothing short of a genius. He is a very skilled engineer who is able to copy any type of technology that the other tribes use. This character is also very skilled in Martial arts and is wonderful with his boomerang. Sokka is a skilled spy when it comes to it and also able to demerge other’s technologies. He is also a very complicated character in the mix having a free will of his own.
He does not follow the others just because they are more powerful, he has a will of his own and he is not afraid to walk out when necessary. At first, he is kind of hesitant to the idea of Aang but he slowly starts to have faith in him. The bond that these two creates throughout the series is very fascinating indeed.
Toph is probably one of the most unique characters in the mix. She is very funny and sarcastic and has a tomboy vibe going on about her. But, do not be fooled by her innocent and cute look as she can bring havoc on earth. She is a very talented earth bender and acts as Aang’s teacher. She has a clear vision of what she wants to do and what she wants to become. This allows her to have a clear idea about her path at all time.
She can manipulate dirt, rock, sand and any other objects that she might find useful in the earth’s core. She can also detect any kind of metal that is laying on the earth. Toph is the strongest metal bender in the series and packs quite a punch. The writers wanted Toph to be very cute and menacing at the same time and they succeeded in doing so.
Prince Zuko is without a doubt the most complex character in the avatar series. He is always in confusion between being good and being bad. He wants to restore his name on the fire kingdom but at the same time, he wants to help those who are suffering. This ultimately puts him in a position where he has to choose from the good and his family.
Zuko is one of the strongest character known in the series. Aside from his phenomenal power of controlling the fire, he also has the ability to fight with dual swords. He can manipulate lighting with a specific martial art technique and can also summon fire chains. He came as an antihero from the very start but he later befriends Aang and turns into his teacher.
Cast In The Movie And The Series
Let’s look at the cast that worked to bring this masterpiece into life.
In The Movie
- Noah Ringer as Aang
- Dev Patel as Prince Zuko
- Nicola Peltz as Katara
- Jackson Rathbone as Sokka
- Shaun Toub as Uncle Iroh
- Aasif Mandvi as Commander Zhao
- Cliff Curtis as Fire Lord Ozai
- Seychelle Gabriel as Princess Yue
In The Series
- Dee Bradley Baker as Appa
- Zach Tyler as Aang
- Mae Whitman as Katara
- Jack De Sena as Sokka
- Dante Basco as Prince Zuko
- Jessie Flower as Toph
- Mako as Uncle
- Grey Griffin as Azula
Interesting Facts About Avatar The Last Airbender
Let’s have a look at some of the most interesting facts about the Airbender Series;
- Zuko and Katara were about to make into a couple. The creator thought that it would make a good pair as they represent two rival elements. But, they later changed the idea and paired up Aang with Katara.
- Toph and Sokka probably married after the end of the anime series. There are some clear indications that Sokka and Toph would fall for each other and later married.
- Toph was originally a guy. The maker thought that a tough element like earth would be better as a boy but they changed it in the last minute.
- Toph has the ability to metal bend. She was also capable of lava bending which is more of a fire bending than her signature earth bending.
- There is a bending nation that bends blood. It can rip the blood from your body if you and not completely in control of your chakra. This is also as extreme as the energy bending.
- There are places in the Avatar series that tells a different story. It indicates that Zuko might not be Ozai’s son at all.
- Sokka should be a very strong and serious character in the series. The directors initially wanted Sokka to have a strong personality and grim action style. But, they later thought that there were way too many serious characters in the series so they later changed the whole character design.
Differences Between The Movie And The Series
If you ask an honest fan then he will clearly tell you that the main difference between the movie and the series is in its character development. None of the characters in the movie was given enough time to shine. They were put in a hurry and the casting choices were poor. Plus, the storying telling of the series was much more gripping where the movie made it sound irrelevant and disjointed.
The minimal approach in the series was also its strong point. The dialogues were great and they did not just rely on the actions. But the movie completely did the opposite and that’s why it bombed so badly at the box office.
Critical Reception Of Avatar The Last Airbender
Avatar The Last Airbender is one of the highest ranked Animated Tv series of all time. The critic was booming with excitement because of its simple premise but heavy topics. The critic noted that the series was enjoyable and eye-opening at the same time. It currently has a 100% approval rating on the rotten tomato and has a 9.2-grade approval rating on the IMDb. It won tons of accolades from critics and award shows and it took the Nickelodeon channel to a whole new level of fame within a matter of months.
Upcoming Project On Netflix
Netflix has announced that they are going to make a live action series of the Avatar. They have already started working on the script and the casting choices are almost finalized. The series will follow the original story with a more intense character development. The original directors of the series will come together to build this visionary masterpiece. They are going to keep things steady and on a different track than the one that the movie followed. Principle photography has already begun and there is a huge hype surrounding this series.
Avatar The Last Airbender is such a series that will stand the test of time. It will always remain as the cult classic in the pop culture. The light set up yet the heavy message is a combination that a few people have managed to perfect. We are eagerly waiting for an honest and smooth adaptation of the whole series and hopefully, Netflix will do us so some justice.
That’s all we had to say about the Avatar. Hopefully, you have learned new and fascinating things about the series. Don’t forget to leave a comment and tell your opinion about the series. Until then, have a great time.