Netflix's 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' Live Action Series NEEDS Accurate Representation
Start writing a post

Netflix's 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' Live Action Series NEEDS Accurate Representation

We're not even going to start with the 2010 movie...

Netflix's 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' Live Action Series NEEDS Accurate Representation
Screenshot via Nickelodeon

Avatar: The Last Airbender, or ATLA, was one of my favorite shows when I was younger, and I'm still rewatching it at 18.

It had a fantastic storyline, great character development, a beautiful soundtrack and the most amazing representation for Indigenous and Asian communities.

From the character names, to the outfits, to even the different bending styles seen in the show, they were inspired by Asian and Indigenous cultures.

The show really revolutionized representation for both of those minorities and non-stereotypical characters. This was especially important for kids growing up without a favorite character that looked like them. ATLA gave them that: a fictional role model they could watch and see accomplish amazing things.

The cartoon version of ATLA was released on Netflix, and it quickly gained even more popularity in the past few months on TikTok. Users were making fan art, cosplaying as characters, discussing their favorite character storylines, writing their own ATLA musical songs and recreating the soundtrack.

Then, fans found out that Netflix planned on filming a live action ATLA series. Everyone was ecstatic that they'd be able to see their favorite cartoon remade, especially after the horrific 2010 live action movie. Users were even posting auditions to play their favorite character!

Despite the excitement over this live action, most people were concerned that it would end up just like the movie. One of the biggest issues fans had with the movie was the racial representation. For example, Katara and Sokka, two of the main Indigenous characters, were portrayed by white actors.

This is an issue that, as a white-identifying person, I'm really concerned about. Indigenous and Asian characters need to be played by people of that ethnicity, especially because the entire show is influenced and inspired by those cultures, and white-washing has happened too many times in the media.

POC too often don't have media representation or are heavily stereotyped. This show was important to thousands of kids, who are now teens and adults, and we care about having an accurate representation redo.

Further, the characters start off very young in the show. Aang is 12 at the start of the series, and that needs to be accurate as well. This needs to be included in the live action series to make it as accurate as possible, but also because kids NEED to see other kids go through struggles and accomplish their goals.

These concerns grew even more when users starting talking about how Noah Centineo was rumored to be considered for a role, which caused an uproar from fans as he isn't the age nor the proper ethnicity for the characters. However, this was just fake news, but the outcry it sparked made fans even more focused on the appropriate casting.

People even started making jokes about famous white actors being the "dream cast" for the show (i.e. Joey King, Tom Holland and even Scarlett Johansson).

An unfortunately true piece of news about the series, however, is that the cartoon creators, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, left this series after two years of development over creative differences with Netflix.

As you can read in DiMartino's blog post, the creators' vision for the show will not be the one coming out. DiMartino and Konietzko weren't part of the 2010 movie, and we know how that turned out. Not only that, but this is also really concerning for fans because they shaped the Asiatic culture and ideologies for the characters. Without the original creators, will the show even feel the same?

Overall, the realistically-imagined cinematic universe of ATLA will be so breath-taking to watch, so long as it is an accurate live action series. We NEED Indigenous and Asian actors to play our beloved ATLA characters, not only for the sake of the show's integrity, but because accurate ethnic representation is absolutely essential in the media.

The casting is still undergoing, and with COVID-19, it could be a while before we hear any official news. This means Netflix has time to do this right, and I truly hope they listen to ATLA fans.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
the beatles
Wikipedia Commons

For as long as I can remember, I have been listening to The Beatles. Every year, my mom would appropriately blast “Birthday” on anyone’s birthday. I knew all of the words to “Back In The U.S.S.R” by the time I was 5 (Even though I had no idea what or where the U.S.S.R was). I grew up with John, Paul, George, and Ringo instead Justin, JC, Joey, Chris and Lance (I had to google N*SYNC to remember their names). The highlight of my short life was Paul McCartney in concert twice. I’m not someone to “fangirl” but those days I fangirled hard. The music of The Beatles has gotten me through everything. Their songs have brought me more joy, peace, and comfort. I can listen to them in any situation and find what I need. Here are the best lyrics from The Beatles for every and any occasion.

Keep Reading...Show less
Being Invisible The Best Super Power

The best superpower ever? Being invisible of course. Imagine just being able to go from seen to unseen on a dime. Who wouldn't want to have the opportunity to be invisible? Superman and Batman have nothing on being invisible with their superhero abilities. Here are some things that you could do while being invisible, because being invisible can benefit your social life too.

Keep Reading...Show less

19 Lessons I'll Never Forget from Growing Up In a Small Town

There have been many lessons learned.

houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments