First Look At Key Characters In ‘The Last Airbender’

Published 5 years ago by

the last airbender aang the avatar First Look At Key Characters In ‘The Last Airbender’

One of the greatest cartoons ever, in my opinion, is Avatar: The Last Airbender. Last year, I watched all three seasons (called ‘books’ in their cool structure, named after the elements in the story) and while it took a few episodes to get into, it picked up fast and quickly became an incredible journey, a deep story and most of all, an entertaining series for all audiences.

Today, we finally have the first images of two main characters, Aang and Prince Zuko from the movie after the jump.

The show was critically acclaimed and a massive success for Nickelodeon. So, it was no surprise when they quickly went ahead and started to make a movie (or a trilogy of movies) based on the show. The project is headed by M. Night Shyamalan who desperately needs a new hit on his resume to counter his falling reputation from each of his movies being consecutively worse than the previous.

What raised a sense of worry about this particular project is that many thought it just too difficult to translate the cartoon into live-action without it either being too extreme, goofy and corny (similar to Dragonball Evolution), or it not respecting the source material and therefore, the built-in fanbase.

The situation got real bad later on in the process, when casting announcements started hitting the web and many folks were up in arms over alleged racist casting choices in selecting mostly Caucasian actors to play Asian characters. This was most notable when young pop star Jesse McCartney was cast as Prince Zuko.

Fans were not impressed. Could this situation have any more negatives going for it?

Conveniently, he dropped out, and more conveniently they cast a non-Caucasian actor to replace him. Hot from the buzz surrounding Slumdog Millionaire, the talented Dev Patel stepped in to play the role and I thought it was a great decision.

Continuing the trend of addressing the lack of a multi-cultural cast, further casting announcements were made over a month later adding Aasif Mendvi, Shaun Toub, Cliff Curtis and Keong Sim to the The Last Airbender’s roster.

There were still doubts surrounding the movie and I didn’t feel much positive for the project. That is, until now…

USA Today has a pair of exclusive photos of Noah Ringer, the 12-year old Karate star in full costume as Aang (the Avatar) and of Dev Patel in costume as Prince Zuko of the Fire Nation:

the last airbender noah ringer aang First Look At Key Characters In ‘The Last Airbender’
Noah Ringer in full costume as Aang

the last airbender dev patel zuko First Look At Key Characters In ‘The Last Airbender’
Dev Patel as Prince Zuko

Their costumes look awesome and the actors look good in character – except for Patel’s hair which is the same as in Slumdog and nothing like Zuko’s from the first season. That being said, we don’t know what context that photo is from. It could be a flashback or some other scene. You’ll notice the angle of his face hinders our view of the part of his face where his big scar should be.

With these images finally out, we can hopefully expect to see more popping up online. I’m interested in seeing the other main characters and most especially, Appa, the six-legged flying Sky Bison. For those of you who never saw the show, I know it sounds crazy.

What do you think of the live-action incarnations of Aang and Prince Zuko?

The Last Airbender (the leading title word “Avatar” was dropped as to avoid confusion with James Cameron’s Avatar) is scheduled to open July 2, 2010.

Airbender Trivia: Noah Ringer’s friends called him Avatar for years because of his resemblance to the character before even auditioning.

Source: USA Today

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75 Comments

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  1. awful just awful lol

  2. Guck. His arrow is barely visible!
    The casting in this movie could not be more off.

  3. if the arrow was more visible it would too cartoony. i not as skeptical as before, things are lookin up

  4. DoctaDoom,

    What do you expect from “The ShammHammer”

  5. I like the subtlety of the arrow, Aang looks good. Can’t say much about Zuko though. Katara?!?!?

  6. I like the photo’s. The direction seems kinda cool and the setting in the Aang pic seems like this could be a very cool visual movie. I dont mind the arrow not being bright blue, but im must say, i can see part of zuko’s face and it doesnt look like there is a scar there. His face isnt hidden too much. I hope your right on the flash back scenario. But im really excited for this film. I love the show and hope that it is a good adaptation.

  7. Well I don’t think you could find a kid that looks more like Ang. I think they got him spot on. And the Patel guy looks pretty much like Zuko. So far it looks good. The action and effects is what will really make or break it for this movie. It’s being made from a cartoon so you have to do something special to match that kind of action with real life. I watched the Series religiously and am a big fan as far as cartoons go. It really was a work of animation art if you ask me. So I’m really looking forward to it. This is only two photos so far guys so lets not shoot it down yet. I too can’t wait to see Apa and I’m really interested in seeing MoMo too.

  8. Oh and just like Ang’s arrow not standing out like it was finger painted onto his head…I wouldn’t be surprised if Zuko’s scar looks more like a realistic scar instead of a bright read flame spray painted over his eye. It’s probably not noticeable from across the room like in the cartoons. I mean really, admit it, if they looked exactly the way they did in the cartoon you’d probably be complaining that they looked silly and stupid. Right?

  9. Well I’ve never actually seen the series so I don’t have the cartoons ruining what looks like a very nice movies.

    The characters look intence and awesome. And not like the whole Dragon Ball cheesy-ness. How long has it been since we’ve had a good movies about ninja’s? And who could not love Dev Patel?

    Though reading the comments I might end up like LXG where I didn’t read the comics and loved the film and people look at me like I kill puppies for a living.

  10. I’m a huge fan of the Avatar cartoon. So, far, these two pics give me hope the film will not suck, but still, what’s up with Aang’s arrow?

  11. Alos, i think Sokka was the heart and soul of the series, can’t wait to see him :)

  12. Not doing it for me. For one Ang looks too serious. To show how close to the character this will be, we need to see a smile. Ang’s smile should light up his face.

    Zuko, not scary or harsh looking. Just a bit of a stern stare.

    Maybe it will be better but I’ve seen too little on those involved in this to get my hopes up. They just seem the wrong people.
    The show was emotional but also had a great sense of humour. The movie needs that too.

  13. I hope the movie has “My cabbages!” scene :)

  14. Reminds me of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

  15. Looks interesting but from the history Hollywood has of taking a concept and making a mess of it, I’ll reserve my judgment until I actually see it.
    The cartoon series was great, I can only hope they don’t turn it into another Howard The Duck.

  16. Looks more promising than Dragonball Evolution, I suppose. But then that’s not saying much…

    Patel is a good actor, so I don’t care about his hair. They still made a good choice with him.

    But I am not crazy that they gave this trilogy to a director that is desperate to have a hit, and this is very far outside the genre of movies that he usually does – so he may have no idea what he’s doing. That’s a bit distressing.

  17. I’ve never seen the cartoon, but with M. Night Shaggydoodle involved, my expectations are not high.

  18. i think they’ve done fairly well with those two aang looks good but i not sure about zuko he’s ok though, ill definitely go see it when it comes out.

  19. was taking a closer look at the photo of zuko and was thinking that maybe the reason the scars not visible is becuse its from before he fought his father and lost or maybe during the fight?he dose look serious so maybe that’s it? cuse that’s when he got the scar and that happened in the intro in the first Ep.

  20. @ Xigbar,

    The image is small and it’s not a close-up. When you see Aang on screen, his tattoo will be VERY visible. It’s a perfect live-action version of the markings I think – I’m interested in seeing how it looks when it glows.

  21. The movie might be good or it might be not but the casting does bother me in that it continues the trend of hollywood movies that whitewash the main cast. The movie 21 was a prime example where two of the main characters were Asian in the real life story it was based on but Caucasian actors were cast instead (Sturgess & Spacey).

    Sure this is a fictional story but for example would you cast a white guy as the Black Panther in a live action movie? It just seems odd and unrealistic to cast Caucasian actors in a world that clearly takes place in Asian-like cultures.

    http://www.racebending.com/

  22. I’ve long thought that Shayamalan’s greatest strength was in directing, not in writing. So as much as I’m an outsider to this series, I am interested in seeing how he handles directing someone else’s words. Besides, he needed to get his ego cut down a tad, and if this helps him get back on track, the better for all involved.

  23. not only am i a huge fan of the show, but i actually worked as an extra on this movie, and from everything i saw on set (i was part of the final battle between the fire nation and the northern water tribe), i definately feel like this movie is going to be way better than the naysayers are expecting. the actors don’t all look EXACTLY like their characters, but the kids playing them seem to all have personalities that match the characters perfectly. i say that without exaggeration. i’m fairly certain these actors will bring life to the characters in a way that will please all fans. i for one am extremely excited for this film.

  24. sorry but im somewhat dissapointed myself, given that you dont even know what to expect when your translating from cartoon to live action, and my pinion’s have been known to change with more media being released so lets just wait shall we, and my guess for that zuko shot is that it may just be a screen test of some sort, thats all i can guess anyway, but please PLEASE dont let this end up as another DRAGONBALL EVOLUTION type film that would be another embarrasment and a shame to all fans

  25. I should also add that the only thing going for this movie, even with M Night Shaylaman is that 1. if you watch the extras on the second season extra’s disk, you’ll find out how he came to want to do this movie, he quoted that this is something he will be putting his heart and soul into for the next 6 years (at that point)to make this worthy of the series.
    I can actually believe him so here’s hoping…
    2. he has both producers who created the series watching over his back and helping him extensivly so there is hope for these movies.

  26. Hmmm…helluva lot better than Jesse McCarteny, but I think Dev Patel would be better as Sokka.

  27. He doesn’t look like aang! He’s fat! He’s too serious! He’s WHITE!

  28. I am a big fan of the animated series, The Avatar, but this live action movie is terrible! Where are the Asian actors? This is story heavily set with Asian settings, costumes, and characters, so where are they?!? The actors don’t fit the characters, the costumes aren’t right, it’s just awful!

    M. Night Shyamalan, being someone who is clearly is Indian working in Hollywood where there aren’t a lot of people from your ethnic background directing films, you of all people should know the importance of ethnic characters in film and using actors that clearly fit the role! There are plenty of fantastic Asian actors who deserve the chance at this! Instead you chose to pass them up. This is so disappointing! I for one will not be financially supporting this film or merchandising involved in it’s promotion.

  29. I was really skeptical about the whole thing, but these pics do put some faith back in it. The action will make or break it in my opinion. I do still think that they should have just kept it as an animation, things like this are just better that way, but i am less inclined to hate the movie now :)

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