Netflix Needs To Get One Thing Right With Avatar: The Last Airbender Live-Action

By April Ryder | Published

If you’re a fan of the Avatar: The Last Airbender series, then the upcoming live-action Netflix (preview via YouTube) creation likely has you excited for what’s to come. There has been plenty of speculation on the news beat about which actors will fill what roles in the series, but the bigger question is how they will bring Appa to life as a live-action character. 

Netflix needs to nail Appa, the flying bison, when it brings Avatar: The Last Airbender to live-action.

Appa, being a flying bison, isn’t an animal that currently exists in reality, so bringing the character into a more natural setting should be quite a challenge for those responsible for the show’s visual effects. His size alone makes recreating Appa in a live-action series something we’re all on the edge of our seats waiting to see. 

If you’re unfamiliar with Avatar: The Last Airbender, Appa is Aang’s (the Avatar) best pal, pet, protector, and transportation. He’s a huge flying bison, and finding a way to make the character look like it’s there with the actors sets the production bar high. The good news is that production had a healthy budget to get the job done well. 

A post via the Avatar News page on X stated that “Live-action Appa, Momo, and other creatures are being brought to life with a combination of practical effects on-set and CGI in post-production.” 

Appa is just one of many creatures to be found in Avatar: The Last Airbender Book One, which also includes otter penguins, komodo rhinos, a dragon, and Momo, the winged lemur.

This likely means that puppetry could also be used to complete Appa’s character. The combined use of different methods may produce a final version of Avatar: The Last Airbender’s Appa as something similar to the look of Baby Yoda in The Mandalorian

Appa isn’t the only creature they’ll have to create while working to make a live-action version of Avatar: The Last Airbender’s book one. The first book also contains sledding otter penguins, platypus bears, ostrich horses, komodo rhinos, and even a dragon. 

Paul Sun-Hyung Lee as Uncle Iroh

Film creators have attempted a live-action version of Avatar: The Last Airbender once before, and it didn’t go well. The 2010 movie met harsh reviews, and the follow-up sequels were never brought to fruition. Good luck, Netflix. 

Netflix has had some ups and downs with its live-action anime recreations in the past. Currently, the platform is celebrating great success with its live-action anime recreation of One Piece, but the live-action version of Death Note didn’t do quite as well. 

The live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender is set to premiere on Netflix sometime next year (2024).

You will have to wait and see if they hit it out of the park with this one, and Appa could be the make-or-break creation for the live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series. 

In regards to the rest of the show, recent news dropped revealing which actors will fill the main roles in the new live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender. Gordon Cormier (The Stand, 2020) will play Aang, the Avatar. Dallas Liu (Shuji Ishii-Peters in PEN15) will play Prince Zuko, the Fire Nation prince. 

Kiawentiio Tarbell (Beans) will play Katara, the last waterbender of her tribe. Ian Ousley (13 Reasons Why) will play her brother, Sokka, and Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (Kim’s Convenience) will fill the role of General Iroh. Iroh is a retired general of the Fire Nation and Prince Zuko’s uncle/mentor. 

The live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender is set to premiere on Netflix sometime next year (2024). Like many other shows, production has encountered hurdles in light of the SAG-AFTRA strikes. However, fans still hope to see the series come to fruition, especially Appa.