The highly anticipated live-action “Avatar: The Last Airbender” has found its leading actors, and taking the title role of Avatar Aang is 11-year-old Gordon Cormier.
Netflix, which first ordered the remake in 2018, also announced that Kiawentiio will play Aang’s friend and waterbender Katara; Ian Ousley will play Katara’s brother, Sokka; and Dallas Liu will play firebender Zuko. There’s still no word on when the show will air.
“Wow! I’m so honored to be casted as the legendary Aang in Netflix’s live action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender! Yip yip!” Cormier posted to his Instagram account, which is run by his parents.
Cormier has been featured in “Lost in Space” and “The Stand.”
Kiawentiio, who is a Mohawk singer, songwriter and actor, also shared a message of excitement with her fans.
“I’m excited to share that I’ve been cast as Katara in Netflix’s live action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender!! I know you all have been waiting, thank you for all the love,” she wrote.
The original, animated version of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” aired for three seasons from February 2005 to July 2008. It became a cult favorite, receiving critical acclaim, and was exposed to a new generation of viewers when Netflix added it in May 2020. Though the characters appear to be drawn as East and Southeast Asian, the show’s predominantly white voice-casting has inspired conversation.
Another animated series set in the same universe, “Legend of Korra,” ran for four seasons from 2012 to 2014. Director M. Night Shyamalan helmed a live-action film in 2010, called “The Last Airbender,” based on the original series. The movie’s cast was almost exclusively white, and it performed poorly in reviews.
In addition to the cast, Netflix confirmed that Albert Kim would be signing on as writer, executive producer and showrunner. Michael Goi, Roseanne Liang and Jabbar Raisani will all have directing roles.
Kim wrote in a Netflix blog post that he started watching “Avatar” with his daughter 15 years ago. He ended up falling in love with the show and said he loved the fact that it gave his daughter Asian faces to watch in Hollywood.
“Netflix offers me the opportunity to develop a live-action remake of Avatar. My first thought was, ‘Why? What is there I could do or say with the story that wasn’t done or said in the original?’” Kim wrote. “But the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I became. VFX technology has advanced to the point where a live-action version can not only faithfully translate what had been done in animation — it can bring a rich new visual dimension to a fantastic world.”