The Last Airbender proved that American serialized cartoons could be just as exciting and relevant as their anime counterparts. Although hopes for a movie franchise fell flat, the show still has a dedicated fan-following and a follow-up series, The Legend of Korra, was also well-received.
Like all complex TV shows, however, the original had a few dropped threads that were never picked up, and others that were teased in both the original and subsequent series but were simply forgotten. Here are a few of the most obvious, the most disappointing, and the most confusing unfinished storylines from The Last Airbender.
10 The Freedom Fighters
This group taught us that you don't have to be benders to be badass. We could assume that some of this rebel group had bending powers, but the few that we got to know the best never did. Their leader, Jet, was a complicated character. He was both an ally and antagonist throughout the series and presented Aang with his first real romantic rivalry.
The show had several characters that walked a fine line between good and evil, which made the Freedom Fighters so interesting. When they turn up again in the Earth Kingdom at the end of the second season, we think their story is going to have some kind of resolution. Not only for Jet, but his co-leader Smellerbee and her companion Longshot. These two were left in Ba Sing Sae with the seriously wounded Jet and although his death was strongly hinted at it was never confirmed. Even if it was, is there any kind of memorial or burial? The current whereabouts of the other Freedom Fighters also remains a mystery.
9 Bloodbending, The Story Of Hama
Was Katara really the only person Hama taught Bloodbending to that whole time? How long had Hama been building a prison underneath that mountain, and are we expected to believe that she did it all by herself? Don't you think she would have used her powers to help other POWs escape, and wouldn't they want to help her? These are all great questions and the series doesn't even address the answers.
In The Legend of Korra the practice of blood-bending is illegal, which only thickens the plot. We never find out how or when that happened. It's only hinted that Katara's influence as an adult might have had something to do with it. Considering how terrifying and overpowered blood-bending is, it's a shame we didn't get to see more of it, or of the fearsome Hama.
8 The Invasion Of The Air Temples
The Fire Nation destroyed every last Air Nomad by invading their cities. The question is, given the time period, when and how could this have happened? The flying machines the Fire Nation uses in the series were developed fairly recently, only a few decades before Aang woke up. It's possible that the Fire Nation used dragons, which could both fly and breathe fire. However, dragons are extinct in Aang's time after General Iroh claimed to have killed the last two, which we found out later wasn't true. Why would they hunt them to extinction if they were so useful as weapons? Granted, the story is so compelling that it flies under the radar and doesn't affect the story too much, but an explanation would have been nice.
7 Koh, The Face Stealer
Of all the villains that the Avatar ever faced, none was more deadly or chilling than Koh. Also known as the Face Stealer, Koh could take away your face if you reacted when coming into contact with him. That was almost impossible since any normal person would flinch or grimace at his gruesome visage. He looks like a big centipede and his face is hidden under a lid, like an eye. No other Avatar except the calm and peaceful Aang would have been able to face him, literally. It's strongly hinted and sometimes stated outright that Koh has had contact with several previous Avatars. The conversation with Aang seems to hint at a long grudge between them that's more like competition for power than animosity. You would like to think this comes to some kind of resolution, especially since Koh actually tells Aang they'll see each other again. Koh only appears again during a flashback and never turns up in The Legend of Korra. If you're a Koh fan, there's more action and backstory to be found about him in the online video game, Escape from the Spirit World.
6 The Life And Times Of Sokka
The heart and soul of Team Avatar and everyone's favorite non-bender, Sokka's early life is an open book, and that's exactly how he would want it. His adult life, however, is mostly unknown. We know he had a role as a leader in politics, being instrumental in trial, conviction and capture of Yakon. Perhaps he had a connection to the effort to criminalize blood-bending due to the influence of his sister Katara, along with his own personal experience of doing battle with Hama. None of this answers any of the big questions.
Whatever happened to Suki? Did Sokka ever have a family? What exactly was his position in government? We learn a bit more about how the Water Tribe system of hereditary rule works in The Legend of Korra but none of these rules seem to apply to Hakoda's family, or his children, Katara and Sokka. Despite all the time Sokka spent with us, we know surprisingly little about his career post-Avatar. It feels like a series is missing.
5 The Fire Nation Royal Family
A nuclear dynamic tore through this fire-bending family, giving us some of the greatest heroes and villains of the whole series. Given how important that is, you would think that these characters would have finished storylines. Especially since they were hinted at so strongly. For those that haven't read the comics or played the video games, the fate of Ursa (Zuko's mother), Ozai, and Azula was totally unknown. Even The Legend of Korra touched on the issue but provided no answers.
The graphic novels that fill in these gaps are compelling and gorgeous. The Promise,The Search, and the Smoke and Shadow trilogies tell Ursa's story. Ozai stays in prison and Azula escapes capture to continue being an antagonist. The lack of any kind of change or further character arc for Ozai and Azula is disappointing.
4 The Last Lemur
We love Momo, and we don't know what Team Avatar would be without their mascot, but we can't help but wonder how he could still be alive after literally everything else living in that air temple was dead. If he could survive on fruit, bark and leaves why wouldn't the other lemurs? The Fire Nation would naturally target the monks and flying bison, but what would be their motivation to hunt and kill lemurs? They're small and clever and would have hidden easily. It doesn't make any sense that Momo would be the only one left without any further explanation.
3 Sword And Boomerang, Lost Forever?
This is connected to how little we know about the fate of their owner, Sokka. It's not just his future we know almost nothing about but also what happened to his cool stuff. Boomerang was introduced in the very early in the story, Book 1, Chapter 2, "The Avatar Returns." In some interesting foreshadowing, it knocks Zuko's helmet askew during their first encounter. It becomes apparent throughout the series that Boomerang is one of Sokka's few possessions and he takes great pride in it. In Book 3, Chapter 4, "Sokka's Master" he obtains the weapon he nicknames the Space Sword, forged from a rock that was salvaged from a meteorite. Both of these fell from an airship in the last episode, Book 3, Chapter 21, "Sozin's Comet Part 4, Avatar Aang." They fell into the woods below, and we were looking forward to watching Sokka get them back. We have to assume he never did and those cool icons are lost forever.
2 The Rules Of Bending
You have to wonder if there are any at this point. It's easy to absorb the new information about bending earlier in the show without asking too many questions, but those questions only grow more numerous. The Legend of Korra only makes the problems worse.
For example, in The Last Airbender blood-bending is only possible during the full moon, but in The Legend of Korra several characters can do it whenever they want. The concept of "bending" has become what's known in literary circles is called a MacGuffin. It is used to do whatever is needed to move the plot along. Other powers like spirit bending and the Avatar state are used in a similar way and the explanations we were waiting for never came.
1 Giant Turtles
You could ask a similar question about the disappearance of dragons. Why did the Lion Turtles decide to take in mankind in the first place? And why would mankind have turned against them and hunted them to near extinction? Aren't they spirits anyway? Why are they here? Are they even mortal? These ends stay loose, although the comic books and video games give us more of their lore none of these questions are answered.
The giant Lion Turtle in The Last Avatar is the only one of its kind. How did it survive? It looked like an island, but if Aang found it in his sleep a conscious person would notice a moving island so how was he hidden for so long? How come he isn't in the Spirit World? Or can he travel back and forth like between those realms like the Avatar? Unless there are clues hidden in an upcoming movie or the Netflix series, it will have to stay a mystery.