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Netflix's live-action 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' tones down Sokka's sexism

By Rayven Daligcon Published Jan 30, 2024 6:37 pm

With the premiere of Netflix's live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender around the corner, more details about how the upcoming show will differ from the original animated series. One of the most notable changes is how Sokka will be less sexist in the new version, actor Ian Ousley said.

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Ousley, who plays the Southern Water Tribe Warrior, discussed how live-action Sokka will compare to the cartoon.

"There's more weight with realism in every way," the actor said. "I feel like we also took out the elements of how sexist [Sokka] was."

Kiawentiio, who plays Sokka's sister Katara, agreed with the actor, adding: "I feel like there were a lot of moments in the original show that were iffy."

In the original series, there were moments where Sokka would make remarks about how guys are better at hunting and fighting while girls are "better at fixing pants."

More changes but still 'loyal'

Those won't be the only changes as the live-action series' showrunner, Albert Kim, said that the new show has made changes that could spark debate about the artistic decisions,

Fans can be left confused about the adaptation's future trajectory by these alterations but Kim is curious to see how they will react to these changes, he told Entertainment Weekly.

For starters, the live-action version won't start the same way as the animated series as part of a deliberate choice to differentiate both shows.

"We had to sometimes unravel storylines and remix them in a new way to make sense for a serialized drama," he added. 

Despite the retention of some familiar elements in the opening, the executive producer and visual effects supervisor, Jabbar Raisani, who directed the new sequence, had one goal: “We just wanted to make sure audiences didn’t think they were getting a kids’ show. We want to ensure that our show is for all ages."

Avatar: The Last Airbender will also depict the genocide of the Airbender people and the rise of the Fire Nation, elements that were only alluded to in the animation series.

In the end, the team's ultimate objective was to create a vast, epic fantasy tale while staying loyal to the original spirit of the animated series.

"All of our writers are also fans of the original, so they drew upon their own personal experiences and the things that they love the best," Kim explained. "We made sure to include all those in the show," he added. 

Avatar: The Last Airbender will make its Netflix debut on Feb. 22. Watch the trailer below.