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Live-action ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ kicks off production; reveals new cast members

By Kara Santos Published Nov 18, 2021 11:21 am

The live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series is officially in production at Netflix. 

Netflix revealed that it has partnered with Pixmondo for the upcoming series billed as an “authentic adaptation of the award-winning and beloved Nickelodeon animated series.”

The streamer shared photos on the set as the cast and crew begin production in Vancouver this month.

In addition to announcing the start of production, Netflix also unveiled additional key cast members for their version of ATLA

Actors playing fan-favorite Uncle Iroh, Gyatso and Commander Zhao are the latest to join the previously announced cast of Aang, Katara, Sokka and Zuko and Fire Lord Ozai to the live-action reimagining.

Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (Kim’s Convenience, The Mandalorian) will play Uncle Iroh, a retired Fire Nation general and the wise and nurturing mentor to his hot-headed nephew, Prince Zuko.

Lim Kay Siu (Anna and The King, Nightwatch) will play Gyatso, a kind and caring Air Nomad monk who is the guardian, father figure and best friend to Aang.

Ken Leung (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Industry) will play Commander Zhao, a scheming and ambitious Fire Nation military officer who’s eager to leverage an unexpected encounter with a desperate Prince Zuko to advance his personal goals.

The new cast joins previously announced Gordon Cormier as Aang, Kiawentiio as Katara, Ian Ousley as Sokka, Dallas Liu as Zuko and Daniel Dae Kim as Fire Lord Ozai.

No casting updates yet have been released for Toph Beifong, one of the greatest earthbenders of all time, and antagonist Azula, princess of the Fire Nation and Zuko’s younger sister.

Netflix also shared a cast photo on set showing the four kids along with showrunner, executive producer and writer Albert Kim, directors Jet Wilkinson and Jabbar Raisani, Executive Producer and director Michael Goi (Swamp Thing, American Horror Story), Executive producer and director Roseanne Liang (Walker), executive producer Dan Lin (The Lego Movie, Aladdin), and Executive Producer Lindsey Liberatore.

In a report on Deadline, it was revealed that filming for the series will take place in a custom-built facility using some of the same technology that was used for Netflix’s The Midnight Sky and 1899, and Disney’s The Mandalorian

The production stage designed and operated by Pixomondo (“PXO”) Virtual Production will allow for visual effects to be done in real time in camera, combining multiple environments on a single stage, will set a new standard for immersive storytelling.

“We’re thrilled to start production on this incredible project, and we’re especially excited to work with the technology-benders at PXO to create the wondrous world of Avatar: The Last Airbender using the most advanced techniques available to filmmakers anywhere in the world,” said Kim.

Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, the creators of the original Avatar: The Last Airbender animated series and its sequel The Legend of Korra, dropped out of the live-action series in 2020, citing a lack of control over the creative direction of the Netflix remake.

They have since set up a new Avatar Studios at ViacomCBS to make new animated projects set in the world of A:TLA and Korra for Paramount Plus and Nickelodeon.