Even if we have a ton of shows to choose from in this day and age, not all of them attain the kind of popularity and pop-culture status as a few of them do. The Avatar series can certainly be counted as one of the greats, as we’re still always up for discussing any feature of its vastly detailed and fleshed out fictional world.
With Avatar, Nickelodeon broke its usual style to bring us a more mature TV show that could tackle darker and deeper themes and could still be fit for kids’ television, and the result was a show that would be counted as one of the best animated shows to have come out in the past decade. Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, along with other material in the canon like the official graphic novels, come together to form the vast-yet-intricately-built Avatar universe a lot of us grew up with.
Because of the popularity of the first show, Aang is also an immensely recognizable pop culture character in general, though there are still details we don’t quite understand about his life, especially in the expanse of time that passed between the ending of A:TLA and the beginning of TLOK. The comic books published about that time, however, do give us some hints.
We’re here to highlight some of the details from Aang’s life between the two shows, and explain how some of those events subsequently formed the basis of many crucial plot lines in TLOK.
Here are the 20 Wild Things Aang Did Between Avatar: The Last Airbender And The Legend Of Korra.
20 Rebuilt the Air Nation
The Air Nation was completely destroyed before the events of the show in a pre-emptive strike by Fire Lord Ozai’s armies. While we see several glimpses of how life was like in the various air temples in some A:TLA episodes, we don’t quite yet see how it was really like. This drive to restore the air-nomad way of life formed a big part of Aang’s character, though he couldn’t do a lot about it due to the Hundred Years’ War.
As soon as the war was over and other things were wrapped up, Aang restored all of the four air temples, as well as made a new one – Air Temple Island, which also features heavily in TLOK.
There were still no air nomads in the world until season three of the show, though many people who had taken up the air nomad way of life did live there.
19 Taught Tenzin how to fight
With the air nation gone, so was all of the rest of air nomads’ culture. Unlike all of the other nations, we never quite get to know how life in the Air Nation was like. The different styles of airbending, the full extent of their ideology, and why they were considered such a big threat by the Fire Nation, among other thing. All we know about the air nation comes from Aang, and it looks like he did a good job of passing it on to his airbending son, Tenzin.
We can see Tenzin’s airbender-y calm and aversion to harm unless necessary throughout TLOK, though we also see some awesome moves against Zaheer when he had to defend his family, which could only have come from Aang too. His teachings carried forward to other air benders in and after season 3 of TLOK, too, as Tenzin was personally involved in finding and training new airbenders from around the world.
18 Looked for animals to repopulate the air temples
One of the best parts of the Avatar universe was its animals. Wildly varied and always a mix of two real world species, some of the animals in the show are as memorable as the benders, like the air bison, Appa, and the flying lemur, Momo. While it wasn’t an oft-repeated fact in the show, they were the last surviving members of their species as far as Aang knew, and formed a big part of the now-lost airbending culture.
Aang not only went around the world looking for surviving air bisons, he also discovered a completely new type of air lemur – the ring-tailed winged lemur, which is the type we see in a few of the episodes in TLOK.
17 Married Katara
While the show tackled some pretty mature themes, one thing it kept out of the mix was love stories between the characters. Sure, we could see things happening here and there, though none of those storylines were ever wrapped up, and we were left guessing as to what happened to them, like that of Mai and Zuko, Sokka and Ty Lee, and the most important of them all, Aang and Katara.
While we do see them kiss, it’s only in the comics after the Hundred Years’ War that it’s confirmed that they married.
We can see many of the decisions they took make important backdrops to much of TLOK, though we were just happy to know that they got together after all.
16 Struggled to keep up with his dwindling age in contrast with his young body
Aang was unlike the other Avatars in a variety of ways. For one, he was the last surviving member of his nation, which meant that he had no Air Nation predecessor to completely teach him the ways of the air nomad. He was also quite young and untrained when he was tasked with ending Ozai’s war, as he was entrapped in some kind of an enchantment that stopped him from aging when Katara and Sokka first found him.
While it was all good on the surface, as still being a kid when around 100 years had passed in the real world sounds pretty awesome, he wasn’t immortal. That gap in the aging caught up to him after the events of the first show, and even if we’re not clear on the extent of the effect, we know that his health started failing much sooner than it was supposed to.
15 Recognized the Air Acolytes
As the tales of Aang’s exploits travelled across the world, the number of his fans grew exponentially. Soon, most big cities had their versions of fan clubs for the airbending Avatar, though not all of them were recognized by Aang himself. That honor only goes to the Air Acolytes, who were a recognize part of the Official Aang Avatar Club and helped the Avatar in the repopulation of the air temples.
While a lot of their history lies in the events before TLOK, we can see glimpses of what they’re like in the first season of the show. Besides helping Tenzin and his family train the new airbenders, they’re also well versed in the air nomad way of life, even if they weren’t airbenders themselves.
14 Mistakenly believed that the nations could live in peace
The Hundred Years’ War was a major event that forms the backdrop of all of the first show, and it ended up completely changing the landscape of the world even when it was over. Many of the former Earth Nation territory was taken over by the Fire Nation, and fire nation populations lived peacefully in many of those cities. None of what happened in the immediate aftermath of the war has been shown in either of the shows, though we can find some answers in the comics.
After the war, Avatar Aang, at first, mistakenly believed that all the nations could now live in peace, as Ozai was no longer in the way.
There was even a name for the movement to bring peace to the world; Harmony Restoration Movement. Many differences erupted between the Fire and Earth Kings despite Aang’s best efforts, though, culminating in the major Battle of Yu Dao that formed the backdrop of many major events that happen between the two series.
13 Made truce between Fire Lord and Earth King
Soon after the Hundred Years’ War, Aang and the other world leaders agreed to the Harmony Restoration Movement; a coordinated push to bring peace back to the world. Though it went as well as anything in this universe does, as Aang soon found out that Zuko was not willing to make peace, and had occupied the Earth nation city of Yu Dao.
Aang had to make the difficult choice of not ending Zuko, as he had earlier promised he would if he ever followed in his father’s footsteps. The battle and the events that happened after it forced Zuko to look inwards and realize what he was doing wrong. The Earth King Kuei also realized the folly of an endless war, and with Aang’s help, helped form the peaceful and technologically advanced world we see in TLOK.
12 Gave birth to three children with Katara
Despite being so young, Avatar Aang had a lot of responsibilities he had to deal with before embarking on his personal journey, as he was born in a world already at a sort of a world war. Because of that, a lot of what we see Aang doing throughout the first show was trying to end the war, and not enough to make himself happy
One aspect of his personal life we wish we saw more of was his relationship with his three kids; Bhumi, Tenzin, and Kya, though we have some hints in the way of references from the second show. He spent much of his time with Tenzin, being a fellow airbender and all, though that left some lasting scars on his relationships with the other two, as we can derive from their conversations about Aang in season three.
11 Tasked the Order of the White Lotus with keeping the next Avatar safe
We only see hints of this super-secret organization of world’s oldest and best warriors that worked parallel to the Avatar throughout the A:TLA. Known as the Order of the White Lotus, we still don’t know a lot about it, though we saw how powerful they were in the final episodes.
Headed by Iroh at the time, the order was responsible for taking back Ba Sing Se from Fire Nationwith all of four people (Iroh, Piandao, Pakku, and Jeong Jeong).
What we don’t know about the order, however, is the task Aang left them with in the time between the two shows. Before his health started failing, he asked them to find and train the subsequent Avatars, as well as to protect them from danger. They are the ones that first found Korra, and did everything they could to protect her from a variety of dangers, including Zaheer.
10 Had a heated argument with Zuko
Aang’s relationship with Zuko forms an important story arc in the A:TLA series. It started as a usual hunter-hunted relationship in the beginning, though as the seasons and Zuko’s story unfolded, we realize that they were always destined to become friends and come together to defeat the Fire Lord Ozai. While we know that they ended up becoming best friends after the war from references in TLOK, it wasn’t exactly a rosy journey.
After the Hundred Years’ War, there was a time when Zuko and Aang found themselves at odds about what to do with the Fire Nation colonies. Zuko’s disagreement with Aang caused the Battle of Yu Dao. It almost caused Aang to enter Avatar State and end it all for Zuko, though he stopped himself at the last moment.
9 Passed down all of the air nomad’s knowledge to Tenzin and Air Acolytes
Despite being a child, Aang always knew that the burden of all of air nomads’ history was always on him to carry and pass down, though as we mentioned above, a lot of that knowledge was lost in Ozai’s war. We can see Aang’s disappointment at the loss of his culture by his sad reaction whenever he encountered anything related to the Air Nation, and that strengthened his resolve to keep the culture alive.
After the war and settling everything with the territories, Aang traveled extensively to collect and preserve traces of air nomad culture, often with Tenzin by his side. While it left some lasting issues with the rest of his children, his efforts to preserve the Air Nation and pass down its knowledge to Tenzin and Air Acolytes ensured its long term survival, which wouldn’t have been possible if he had just rested or something.
8 Got outsmarted by Smellerbee
As we mentioned before, The Battle of Yu Dao was one of the most important events to have happened between the events of the two shows. Tracing its origins to the disagreement between Zuko and Kuei on what to do with Earth nation territories, you can read about what went down in the comic trilogy; The Promise. Many of the world changing events after that could be traced to this battle, though it also features an episode with a lesser-known character from the A:TLA series.
Smellerbee, as we all remember, was an Earth nation citizen we saw in the Earth chapter of the series.
What we may not know, however, is that she also featured in the battle of Yu Dao, and was successfully able to distract Aang into a fake maneuver in the beginning of the battle, when the fight was going on somewhere else.
7 Helped Zuko become a responsible Fire Lord
From whatever we can tell from Zuko's changed attitude at the end of the first show, we may think that he clearly looks like he saw where he was wrong and embarked on a life only of good and peace. It was hardly that way after the Hundred Years’ War, though, as Zuko and Aang went through many disagreements, the biggest one of them being about the fate of the above-mentioned city of Yu Dao.
They had to go through some pretty tough events too, as Aang almost entered Avatar State to take Zuko down when things had started going too far South. Zuko was able to see sense, and helped Aang setup the new nation with its capital Republic City once they cleared it all out. We know that they soon became lifelong friends, as referenced many times in TLOK. Though it wasn’t a smooth journey, and we can only learn more by delving into the detailed comic book storylines.
6 Confronted the Earth King
The Earth King – Kuei – had a journey of his own, from his days in the second season to the long line of events between the two shows. For those who don’t remember, Kuei was the king with the bear, who was so out of touch with reality that he had left the entirety of the ruling of his kingdom to the Dai Lee; a shadowy police division. While we can’t say we know exactly what happened to the bear, we know that it all changed for Kuei.
After the events of the first show, he was more assertive about former Earth Nation territories under Fire Nation’s control. He was as responsible as Zuko in the Battle for You Dao, after which Aang had a ‘chat’ with him and made him realize what he was doing wrong. It was due to Aang’s efforts on both sides that ended the battle and the differences between the two kings.
5 Saved Azula
After the Hundred Years’ War and the end of the first show, many of the questions were left unanswered. One of the major ones of them was what happened to Zuko and Azula’s mother; Ursa. She formed a central part of Zuko’s journey, and could be said to be one of the most important characters in the backstory.
From the comic books after the show, though, we know that Team Avatar, along with Zuko, went to look for Ursa.
We also know that Azula was with them, who had been previously jailed but was freed by Zuko to help them in the search. At one point, though, Azula, in a heated situation, jumped off Appa, and Aang had to jump after her to get her to safety with his hand glider.
4 Helped Zuko’s claim to the throne
Looking at where A:TLA ended and where TLOK began, we may get the impression that everything went fine after the Hundred Years’ War, and that Aang just did his thing, Zuko got made Fire Lord and everything was fine. It wasn’t like that, though, as they had to go through many more tumultuous events to be able to make the world we see in TLOK.
One of the enduring mysteries after the first show was whether Zuko was Ozai’s real son. We get to know that Azula had found a letter from Ursa that proved that he wasn’t, and intended to use it against Zuko to dethrone him. Aang knew and understood this, and even spoke to Zuko about his claim. While Zuko found the idea relieving, Aang thought the claim going to an unstable Azula wouldn’t be the best outcome, either. In the end, Azula lost it and ran away from the group (though left the letter), and Zuko’s claim to be the Fire Lord was secured.
3 Invited by Zuko to investigate spirit attacks
As soon as the war was over and everything was wrapped up, Team Avatar was looking for some rest. Sokka and Katara were particularly keen on spending time back home at the Southern Water Tribe, though Aang just got a message from Zuko about some spirit attacks in Fire Nation towns. Unlike other missions, he had to take this one alone, as the others went ahead with their plans.
Briefed by Mai about the spirits, Aang got to know about Kemurikage; spirits that haunted some Fire Islands who were believed to have once been fire warlords from the islands. Upon further investigation, though, Aang found out that they weren’t spirits at all, successfully solving another world problem as the Avatar.
2 Helped Rafa get his face back from the Mother of Faces
Without doubt, one of the darkest aspects of the A:TLA series is the Mother of Faces and her son; Koh. Both of them are overpowered spirits; where Mother of Faces has the ability to grant someone a new identity or face, Koh is more into stealing faces, as we see from his encounters with Avatar Aang. Stories of his face-stealing are aplenty throughout the cannon, one of them being of Rafa – a Northern water tribe member.
Aang helps Rafa get his face back by having a conversation with Mother of Faces, who realizes the gravity of his son’s actions and decides to restore his face.
As we have seen at many other instances, the spirit world and the human world weren’t exactly on the best of terms, but this was one of the times when Aang was successfully able to use his Avatar convincing skills to negotiate peace between the two realms.
1 Revived the air nomad festival Yangchen's Festival
One of the best things Avatar did was revive old airbender traditions that had been inactive for hundreds of years, one of them being Yangchen's festival.
Yangchen was an ancient Air Nation Avatar, and her first mission was to broker peace between a spirit that was terrorizing a small town. She was able to calm the spirit down, as is the Avatar’s job, and that day started being celebrated in her honor. Because of the airbender’s being wiped out before A:TLA, however, the festival hadn’t been held for many years by the time the first show ended. Aang, with the help of some Air Acolytes and after seeing Yangchen’s spirit, helped restart the festivities, which celebrated harmony with the spirit world aside from being a traditional Air Nation festival.
Are there any other crazy things Aang did between Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra? Let us know in the comments!