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Netflix’s Last Airbender series brings the Fire Nation’s most toxic family to live-action

Not to mention Uncle Iroh, Commander Zhao, and Azula

Daniel Dae Kim as Fire Lord Ozai holds an open scroll in a stone room lit by open flames in Avatar: the Last Airbender Image: Robert Falconer/Netflix
Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

Netflix has released a new look at its 2024 live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series, featuring only the hottest benders: The Fire Nation royal family.

The pictures are fans’ first look at Daniel Dae Kim (Lost) as royal dad Fire Lord Ozai, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (The Mandalorian, Ahsoka) as royal uncle Uncle Iroh, Elizabeth Yu (Somewhere in Queens) as royal daughter Princess Azula, as well as a new shot of Dallas Liu (PEN15) as royal disowned son, Prince Zuko. And also Ken Leung (Old) as not actually royal except for how he’s a royal pain in the ass, Commander Zhao.

Paul Sun-Hyung Lee as Iroh, standing in front of a grid of iron bars in season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Photo: Robert Falconer/Netflix
Elizabeth Yu as Azula in season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Photo: Robert Falconer/Netflix
Dallas Liu as Prince Zuko in season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Photo: Robert Falconer/Netflix
Ken Leung as Zhao in season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Photo: Robert Falconer/Netflix

All four look pretty well decked out in the classic Fire Nation reds and blacks, and fans will get to see a lot more in 2024, when the eight-episode series hits Netflix.

Now, just for the sake of disambiguation, this live-action series, which will adapt the Nickelodeon animated series of the same name, is distinct from Nick’s own efforts in the area of animation.

Franchise creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko stepped away from the Netflix production in 2020, citing a “negative and unsupportive environment” and a general lack of the creative control they had expected — though they wished the folks still working on the show well.

In their wake, Albert Kim (Sleepy Hollow) stepped in as showrunner for the Netflix series, with Michael Goi (Riverdale), Jabbar Raisani (Lost in Space), and Roseanne Liang (Shadow in the Cloud) directing the first season. DiMartino and Konietzko will still have writing credits on a few of its episodes, and are currently busy heading up Avatar Studios for ViacomCBS, which is in development on an animated movie reportedly following Aang and the Gaang on a new adventure, due in 2025.

So, the Netflix Airbender: No Mike and Bryan, live-action TV series, same story as the cartoon. The Avatar Studios Airbender: Yes Mike and Bryan, animated movie, new story about the characters from the cartoon.

Or, to put it another way, it’s going to be an interesting few years for Airbender fans.

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