After years in development, Netflix’s live-action series Avatar: The Last Airbender is finally pushing ahead with production. Most of the key roles have been cast, with the lead role of Aang being played by young Gordon Cormier.
Kiawentiio Tarbell will play Katara while her brother Sokka will be portrayed by Ian Ousley. The villainous Firelord Ozai – ruler of the Fire Nation – will be portrayed by Daniel Dae Kim.
Prince Zuko, who has a character arc that goes from villain to ally, will be played by Dallas Liu. And Liu has had the seal of approval from Dante Basco, the voice actor behind the character in the original Nikelodeon series. Basco discussed “passing the torch” to Liu at a recent Q&A.
Zuko starts the show as the primary antagonist, only to evolve into a key ally for Aang and his friends. His character development has long been praised by fans, and getting him right will be important for Netflix’s new version of Avatar.
Fans will be hoping that the live-action series will be not make the same mistakes as M. Night Shyamalan’s live-action movie The Last Airbender, which starred Dev Patel as Prince Zuko. The film is considered a notorious turkey, with a 5% rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
Dante Basco’s sweet advice for Dallas Liu is as follows; “I just had a conversation with the new kid playing Zuko on the show for Netflix – Dallas Liu – and we were talking about the character, and, you know, I was kinda passing the torch, like, bro, it’s your turn to play him, how you’re gonna play him.
“I’ll tell you things about how I did it, and it could help you on your journey, but ultimately, it’s your turn to play him how you’re gonna play him, wherever that character intersects with you.”
Rounding out the live-action cast is Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (Kim’s Convenience) as Uncle Iroh, a retired Fire Nation general and the wise and nurturing mentor to Zuko (Liu). Lim Kay Siu will play Gyatso, an Air Nomad monk who is the guardian to Aang (Cormier). Lastly, Ken Leung (who appeared in Lost with Daniel Dae Kim) will portray Commander Zhao, a cunning Fire Nation officer looking to progress his career through any means necessary.