Netflix’s live-adaptation of the beloved Nickelodeon animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender may have lost the original showrunners, but the sprawling cast just keeps getting bigger. The streaming service has announced who’ll be playing a bevy of roles, including major antagonist Azula.
Elizabeth Yu, a newcomer, will play the troubled Fire Nation princess who becomes twisted under her father’s emotionally abusive tutelage and serves as one of the series’ biggest threats after Prince Zuko (played by Dallas Liu in the live-action series) joins Team Avatar in later seasons. Native rights advocate and actor Casey Camp Horinek will play the Water Tribe leader and grandmother of Katara (Kiawentiio) and Sokka (Ian Ousley), a.k.a. Gran-Gran.
Several members of the Earth Kingdom have been announced as well. Maria Zhang will play Suki, a love interest of Sokka’s but more importantly the badass leader of the equally badass Kyoshi warriors, an elite cadre of all-female fighters founded by the Avatar Kyoshi to protect her home island. Tamlyn Tomita (The Good Doctor, Cobra Kai) will play Yukari, Suki’s mother and the mayor of their village on Kiyoshi Island. Finally, speaking of the former Avatar, PEN15's Yvonne Chapman will play Kyoshi herself, the deceased Avatar who preceded Aang (Gordon Cormier). Interestingly, Kyoshi’s only appearance in the first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender is as a statue in the Air Nomad temple; she doesn’t physically appear until the second season, a.k.a. Book Two: Earth, first as a vision experienced by Aang, and later by manifesting in his body. Netflix has presumably hired Chapman ahead of time in order to nail down the look of the statue, but there remains the possibility that Kiyoshi—and potentially the other previous Avatars—might play a larger role earlier on in the Netflix adaptation than she did in the animated series.
Netflix’s adaptation of The Last Airbender has no release date, but it’s currently in production in Vancouver, Canada.
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