• Follow us on Instagram @MWHS.Catalyst
  • Follow us on Twitter @MWHSCatalyst for Breaking News
The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Student News Site of Millard West High School

The Catalyst

The Avatar returns

“Avatar: The Last Airbender” gets a live-action reboot
One of the very first promotional posters features characters in a similar fashion to the original.

Once a beloved animated kid’s show, “Avatar: The Last Airbender” follows 12-year-old Aang (Zach Tyler Eisen), last living Airbender and first Avatar in 100 years in his quest to save the world from the raging war brought on by the Fire Nation.

Even having ended its journey in 2008, Avatar continued to be a favorite among children and adults alike in every generation. However, 10 years later in September of 2018, a live-action adaptation of the show was announced to be in the works. Today, “Avatar: The Last Airbender” is streaming on Netflix, right beside its animated counterpart.

The first season of the new series features eight episodes adapted from the classic story. The first episode, titled “Aang,” shows us the backstory of young Avatar Aang (Gordon Cormier) in the Western Air Temple, one of the many homes of the Air Nomads. At only 12-years-old, Aang is informed by his teacher and friend Master Gyatso (Lim Kay Siu) that he must begin his Avatar training. Conflicted, Aang departs on his flying bison to collect his thoughts. Flying over the sea, a storm begins to brew, knocking the bison, Appa, off course and hurtling into the water. Thankfully, Aang’s Avatar instincts kick in as he manages to Waterbend a block of ice to encase himself and Appa- for the next 100 years, leaving his people undefended against the Fire Nation’s advances.

By the second episode, “Warriors,” we have been acquainted with Sokka (Ian Ousley) and Katara (Kiawentiio), two siblings of the Southern Watertribe who discovered Aang and broke him from the ice. We were also introduced to Zuko (Dallas Liu), an anti-hero tasked with finding and capturing the Avatar to restore his honor. Accompanying the disgraced prince is Iroh (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee), Zuko’s uncle and former Fire Nation general. Zuko and Iroh have tracked “Team Avatar”, otherwise known as The Gaang by fans of the show, into the Earth Kingdom and onto Kyoshi Island, named after the former Earth Avatar Kyoshi (Yvonne Chapman). The island is protected by the Kyoshi Warriors, a group of young women who take inspiration from their namesake. Their leader, a woman named Suki (Maria Zhang), agrees to harbor the misfit group and let Aang attempt to connect with his past life. When Zuko and his team of Firebenders arrive on the island, Aang is able to channel Kyoshi, who, along with the Kyoshi Warriors, fight off their enemies long enough for Team Avatar to escape with Appa.

The third episode begins with an inside look at the Fire Nation capital, showing a group of Fire Nation revolutionaries who seek to kill Firelord Ozai (Daniel Dae Kim). They are ultimately betrayed, however, by a young girl who they believe to be a rebel informant. The girl is, in fact, Princess Azula (Elizabeth Yu), loyal to none but her father. The rebels are killed by Ozai’s soldiers and we get our first glimpse of Azula’s character as she watches the slaughter with great interest. The third and fourth episodes are titled “Omashu” and “Into the Dark” respectively. The metropolis is protected by an incredible mountain range, the entrance of which is guarded by Earthbenders who, quite literally, move the mountains to let people in and out. Initially, Team Avatar is unable to enter the city due to not having Earth Kingdom identification. They find help from a delivery boy who smuggles the group into Omashu in his cart. 

Once in the city, they go their separate ways, Aang intent on finding King Bumi (Utkarsh Ambudkar). While Aang reconciles with an old friend, Katara and Sokka take refuge with a man known only as the Mechanist (Danny Pudi) and his son, Teo (Lucian-River Chauhan). Katara, leaving her brother with Teo and the Mechanist, traverses the city in search of Aang, who has been gone for quite some time now. She bumps into the boy who snuck her in, who now introduces himself as Jet (Sebastian Amoruso), leader of a group of young revolutionaries who call themselves “The Freedom Fighters.” Jet manages to convince Katara of the Mechanist’s treachery, but Sokka will not be swayed. Regardless, the siblings decide they need to find a way into the stronghold where Aang and Bumi are, but the only entrance that won’t alert the guards to their presence is a series of winding tunnels that are nearly impossible to navigate. Through the tale of Omashu’s creation, ‘love shines brightest in the dark,’ Sokka and Katara are able to find their way into the stronghold. By the wrap of the episode, Aang and Bumi are able to work out their grievances, the Mechanist is proven innocent, and the Freedom Fighters are outed as a terrorist group.

The next two episodes follow Aang, Katara, and Sokka into the spirit world as Aang tries to connect with former Avatar Roku. Episode five is cleverly titled “Spirited Away,” an allusion to the widely popular Studio Ghibli film. In the spirit world, Team Avatar is forced to relive traumatic events of their past. Katara must come to terms with her mother’s death while Sokka struggles with his deep-set imposter syndrome. Aang sees the horror brought on by the Fire Nation in his absence, and the genocide of his people he failed to prevent. In episode six, “Masks,” Aang manages to overcome the illusions of the spirit world and come face to face with Koh (George Takei) the Face Stealer. Koh agrees to let Aang go, only if he promises to return with a relic that Roku stole 100 years ago. For collateral, Koh keeps Sokka and Katara under his control, knowing that a true Avatar would never put his friends’ lives at risk. 

Overall, the show, while not entirely compliant with the cartoon’s timeline, “Avatar: The Last Airbender” is a thrilling action-adventure that has captured the attention- and hearts- of old and new fans alike.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Alex Elgert
Alex Elgert, Staff Reporter
Alex is a sophomore at MWHS. They enjoy reviewing entertainment media, like music, movies, plays, and books. This is their first year on the CATalyst staff.

Comments (0)

All The Catalyst Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *