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From left to right, Sokka, Mai, Katara, Suki, Momo, Zuko, Aang, Toph, and Iroh enjoy tea and relax at the latter's tea shop at the end of Sozin's Comet.

The animated television series Avatar: The Last Airbender and its live-action film adaptation, The Last Airbender, feature an extensive cast of characters created by Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino. Taking place in a fictional universe composed of four sovereign nations, the series deals with a war started by the belligerent Fire Nation as an attempt to conquer the world. The Avatar, a being who represents the spirit of the Earth itself and alone holds the power to counter the Fire Nation aggression, has been mysteriously missing for the past 100 years, plunging the world into a century of war. The first phase of war ended with a genocide of the Air Nomads, near extinction of the Water Tribes, and extensive colonization of the Earth Kingdom, thus setting up the world in which the characters of the series live.

The main protagonist of the series is Aang, the most recent incarnation of the Avatar, who is released from an iceberg after being frozen for 100 years. With his new friends Katara and Sokka, and later Toph, Aang sets out to master the three unlearned bending arts and end the war that has ravaged the world during his absence. The series also focuses on Zuko, the crown prince of the Fire Nation; initially portrayed as an antagonist who tries to capture Aang, but with the help of his uncle, become a deuteragonist.

Character designs were originated from a series of drawings by one of the show's creators, Bryan Konietzko. The main sketch depicted a middle-aged monk with an arrow on his head and later included a flying bison as his pet. Konietzko's partner, Michael Dante DiMartino, was interested in documentaries related to the South Pole at the time. They combined these ideas and created the concept of an "air guy" and "water guys" trapped in a snowy wasteland, with "fire guys" invading them.[1] Additionally, the writers based the characters' different bending abilities on distinct styles of martial arts.

Character conception

The characters of Avatar: The Last Airbender were designed by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, the co-creators of the series.[1] The anime-styled character art was inspired by Shinichiro Watanabe's Cowboy Bebop, Samurai Champloo, and FLCL (Fooly Cooly) of Gainax.[2] The original character conception was derived from a sketch by Bryan Konietzko that depicted a middle-aged balding man with an arrow on his head.[1] Studios such as Studio 4°C, Production I.G, and Studio Ghibli, which produced anime-styled cartoons, were also sources of inspiration.[3]

The greatest influences on the series were Asian art and history; the characters' various personalities and traits are based on philosophical teachings such as Taoism and Buddhism.[4][5] In the show, some characters have the ability to manipulate one of the four classic elements of ancient philosophy: Water, Earth, Fire and Air, although the Avatar has the ability to control all four.[6] Each of these employ a different form of martial arts in their fighting choreography: Ba Gua for Airbending, Hung Gar for Earthbending, Northern Shaolin for Firebending, and T'ai chi for Waterbending.[7] These individual styles of martial arts also reflect on the personalities of the user and the nations as a whole. These starkly individual tendencies are explained in eighty-five distinct types of "Jings", or internal energy.[8] For example, Ba Gua employs the "negative jing" to create erratic circular movements and capitalizes on centripetal force and defensive positions while Northern Shaolin follows the "positive jing" and emphasizes brute strength and aggression to generate power.[7] The negative jing reflects Aang's bending styles and his tendency to be unpredictable and extremely carefree, as well as his pacifist and non-aggressive nature.[9][10][11]

Many of the recurring characters of the series have received traits based on the respective element. Aang is carefree and child-like, as is commonly attributed to the "freedom" of the wind and the air.[12][13] Toph, despite being blind, is extremely perceptive of the world around her due to her connection to the Earth. Unlike Aang, she is extremely brusque when criticizing others, as attributed to Earth's toughness.[14][15]

Main characters

Aang

Main article: Aang

Aang (Template:Zh) is voiced by Mitchel Musso in the unaired pilot[16] and Zach Tyler Eisen[17] for the remainder of the animated series. He is portrayed by Noah Ringer in the live-action film.[18] He is the primary protagonist of the series and current incarnation of the Avatar, the spirit of the planet in human form.[19][20] A reluctant hero, Aang often acts in a fun-loving, carefree manner.[21] His pacifist and vegetarianism demonstrates his love for life, a primary trait of Buddhism. The creators intended Aang to "defeat enemies with his wits" and be a "trickster hero".[22][23] Though Aang is often frivolous and enthusiastic, he becomes serious during a crisis.[24][25]

After Aang is rescued from a century of suspended animation by Katara and Sokka, the trio embark to teach Aang the remaining three elements: water, earth, and fire. Aang eventually learns Waterbending at the North Pole and continues his instruction from Katara in the rest of the series,[26] Earthbending from Toph,[15] and Firebending from Zuko and the last two dragons in the world.[27][28] Throughout the series, Aang comes to the aid of those of oppressed by the Fire Nation. Aang ultimately defeats the Fire Lord at the end of the series; but instead of killing him, deprives him of firebending ability using his recently aquired Energybending to permanently seal off his chi.

Katara

Main article: Katara (Avatar: The Last Airbender)

Katara (Template:Zh) is voiced by Mae Whitman in the animated series[17] and portrayed by Nicola Peltz in the live-action film.[18] She is the last waterbender of the Southern Water Tribe, the others being captured or killed by the Southern Raiders. At the age of fourteen, she had mastered the art of waterbending,[29] and therefore began teaching Aang the art alongside his study of earthbending.[15] Katara is very stubborn and is known for resisting gender stereotypes and discrimination;[26] but acts as den mother to the other protagonists.[15] As a waterbender, she is able to heal injuries, change water into ice, and use it to cut through solid objects, and learns the manipulation of liquids within a living creature, called 'blood-bending'.[30] She is known to become enamoured easily, and is often deeply hurt and angered by treachery or dishonesty.

Sokka

Main article: Sokka

Sokka (Template:Zh) is voiced by Jack DeSena[17] in the animated series and portrayed by Jackson Rathbone in the live-action film.[18] He is a 15-year-old warrior from the Southern Water Tribe, and Katara's elder brother.[15] He is one of Aang's companions; but has no bending power of his own, and instead relies on his intellect, courage, and martial skill.[31]

Surprisingly in an inhabitant of a mystical world, Sokka prefers science and is something of a jack-of-all-trades, in which respect he is easily able to understand the Fire Nation's advanced technology, and perfects the design of the hot air balloon.[32] In addition, he is is shown to be both heterodox and resourceful in his endeavors,[33] and is a source of comic relief throughout the series.

Toph

Main article: Toph Bei Fong

Toph (Template:Zh) is voiced by Jessie Flower[34] in the animated series. She is a blind Earthbending grandmaster of the prestigious Bei Fong family in the Earth Kingdom.[14] Though blind, Toph has the ability to "feel" vibrations in the earth, be it the presence of trees and buildings or the march of ants several meters away. Through this heightened sense, she can identify people's locations, their distance from her, and their physical build. This sense provides her with a distinct advantage when facing other Earthbenders in combat, as they characteristically require contact with the ground and extract rocks from their surroundings. As another result of her blindness, Toph has acquired an acute sense of hearing, enabling her to recognize people by the sound of their voices and to eavesdrop on distant conversations.[24] Unlike other Earthbenders, Toph has a distinct style of earthbending not based on Hung Gar as is conventional, but rather the Southern Praying Mantis. This style places emphasis on quick generation of energy and low kicks that complement Toph's build.[35]

Against the will of her parents, Toph learned Earthbending through secret training and later fled her home to help Aang master Earthbending.[14] Toph is fiercely independent, sarcastic, direct, and confrontational; commonly depicted as the choleric and tomboy of the group.[14] Later in the series, Toph taught herself metalbending while escaping from a metal box, by manipulation of the impurities within the metal.[36]

Zuko

Main article: Zuko

Prince Zuko (Template:Zh) is voiced by Dante Basco[17] in the animated series and portrayed by Dev Patel in the live-action film.[18] At first, Zuko appears with a shaved head and a long topknot; but as the series continues he cuts off his topknot and grows his hair into a shaggy mane. He is the primary antagonist of the first season, but becomes an anti-hero, and later a protagonist as the series progresses. Zuko had been exiled prior to the beginning of the series by his father,[37] and believed that capturing the Avatar was the only way to regain his honor.[38]

Zuko's ancestry reflects his own conflicted nature; his paternal great-grandfather is Fire Lord Sozin, who started the war, while his maternal great-grandfather is Avatar Roku, who attempted to prevent it.[39]

As a result of his failure to capture the Avatar, he and his eccentric uncle Iroh earn the further displeasure of Firelord Ozai, and must flee into the Earth Kingdom, where Zuko befriends the locals and once goes so far as to rescue a town from its corrupt Earth Army guards.[37][40] After being tempted by his sister Azula's offer of honor's restoration, he betrays his uncle,;[41] but later rejects his father's plans [42] and seeks his uncle's forgiveness [43][44] later to become Aang's friend and Firebending teacher. With Aang, he learns a secret of Firebending from two dragons.[27] During the series finale, Zuko is crowned Fire Lord and ends the war.[45] Originally only a semi-competent Firebender,[38] he becomes far more proficient as the series progresses, eventually reaching mastery. In addition to his firebending, Zuko is proficient in the use of double broadswords wielded in his alter ego of the "Blue Spirit". The upper-left part of his face is fire-scarred, giving the left eye a squint. He later loses his obsession; but retains his sense of honor and self-discipline.[15][46]

Iroh

Main article: Iroh

Iroh (Template:Zh) is voiced by Mako for two seasons[17] and Greg Baldwin for the final season[47] of the animated series. He is portrayed by Shaun Toub in the live-action film.[18] Commonly known as the "Dragon of the West", Iroh is a Firebending master and former heir to the Fire Nation throne. After the death of his son at the Siege of Ba Sing Se, Iroh's younger brother Ozai was named Fire Lord.[37] Iroh, unlike most firebenders, is shown in tune with all four elements. He is also very well-versed in the history of firebending methods and generates his fire and lightning not from fury, as is conventional, but from a sense given him by dragons, the original source of firebending.[27] As a member of the Order of the White Lotus, Iroh has social connections throughout the Four Nations, and thereupon organized the release of the city Ba Sing Se from the Fire Nation's rule. At the end of the series, his self-stated wish is to resume operation of a tea-shop therein.[25][45]

Iroh is outwardly easy-going and friendly, and particularly fond of food, good tea,[48] the strategy game Pai Sho,[49] cheerful company, and pleasant music.[9] Something of a hedonist in his old age, he focuses more on the pursuits of relaxation and amusements than on the pursuit of the Avatar, often clashing with the goals and aspirations of his nephew.[37]

Appa

Main article: Appa

Appa (Dee Bradley Baker in both the animated series and the live-action film)[18][34] is Aang's flying bison who serves as the group's Mode of transport around the world.[9] He possesses the ability to fly and can use his tail to create powerful gusts of air. According to Aang, flying bison were the first Airbenders.[50] The show's creators, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, have described Appa's appearance as a cross between a bison and a manatee.[51] and is known to shed his coat at the end of winter.[52] It is also shown that he and Aang share an inseparable bond.

Momo

Momo (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker in both the animated series and the film) is the only known Winged Lemur. Avatar's co-creator Bryan Konietzko admits that Momo is his favorite character to draw and that his body language is derived from memories of a childhood cat.[53] Much like Appa, Momo is the last of his kind in the show. Momo was introduced in the episode "The Southern Air Temple". In the episode Aang finds him at the Southern Air Temple and then keeps him as a pet. [54] Although Momo has been in many dangerous situations while traveling with the protagonists, he has also been of aid to them and a source of comic relief throughout the series. According to the creators, Momo was intended to represent the spirit of Aang's mentor, Monk Gyatso.[55]

Azula

Main article: Azula

Princess Azula (Template:Zh) is voiced by Grey DeLisle in the animated series and played by Summer Bishil in the live-action movie. Despite cameo appearances in the first season of the series, Azula became the primary antagonist only in the second season.[56] She is a gifted Firebending master, able to produce both fire and lightning. After Admiral Zhao's death, Azula is sent to stop Aang at all costs, but also to capture and humiliate Zuko. She lacks empathy, treats people as expendable, and is unable to view them as her equals. Her amorality and ability to act without hesitation or remorse also accounts for her ability to create lightning, which skill requires peace of mind.[15] Despite her cruel temperament, she becomes distraught, and later insane, when abandoned by her friends Mai and Ty Lee.[57]

Ozai

Ozai (Mark Hamill in the animated series,[34] Cliff Curtis in the live-action film),[18] ruler of the Fire Nation, is the father of Zuko and Azula, younger brother of Iroh, husband of Ursa, and the supreme antagonist of the series. In Sozin's Comet: The Final Battle, he renames himself the Phoenix King, ruler of the world, and appoints Azula to watch over the Fire Nation alone;[45] but is defeated by Aang. Ozai is depicted as a cruel and merciless leader, and is described as "the worst father in the history of fathers" by his son Zuko.[58] Ozai went as far as to banish his own wife, and later admitted that he thought banishment too light a punishment.[59] He favors Azula over Zuko, because he sees her as a firebending prodigy and sees his own beliefs embodied in her.

Suki

Suki (Jennie Kwan in the animated series,[34] )[18] is the leader of the exclusively female Kyoshi Warriors (a sect established by a previous Avatar).[21] She is an exceptionally skilled fighter and staunch ally of the protagonists. She was imprisoned by the Fire Nation after the Kyoshi Warriors were defeated by Azula, but was released by Sokka, Zuko, Hakoda, and Chit-Sang.[57] She remained with the protagonists thereafter and joined Toph and Sokka to disable the Fire Nation's air force; later to appear in the epilogue.

Major recurring characters

  • Admiral Zhao (Jason Isaacs in the animated series,[34] Aasif Mandvi in the live-action film)[18] is a hot-tempered Fire Nation admiral in pursuit of the Avatar and is Zuko's principal rival throughout the first season. Zhao is a very ambitious man who is intent on making a mark on history, as by attempting to kill off Zuko for his interference in his capture of Aang and planning to kill the moon spirit and thus destroy the waterbending capability to take control of the Northern Water Tribe, in which he fails when Water Tribe Princess Yue becomes a new moon spirit to replace the old, and is himself killed by the ocean spirit.[60]
  • Avatar Roku (James Garrett in the animated series)[61][62] is Aang's immediate predecessor. A friend of Fire Lord Sozin, Avatar Roku attempted to prevent him expanding the Fire Nation at others' expense; wherefore, and despite their friendship, Sozin left Roku to die in a volcanic eruption.[63] Avatar Roku acts as Aang's mentor many times throughout the series, offering advice and occasionally helping Aang evade or escape his enemies.[64] Roku is also Zuko's maternal great-grandfather. In the live-action film, Roku's role as Aang's guide is assumed by the Dragon Spirit (John Noble).
  • Mai (Cricket Leigh in the animated series)[65] is an impassive, bored, stoic young noble-woman who, along with Ty Lee, accompanied her childhood friend Azula on her quest.[56] She is the elder child of the Governor of New Ozai (previously Omashu) and his wife. She is a master of stealth and light weaponry; her primary weapons are all kind of throwing knives and shuriken kept concealed in her clothing.[8] She later began a relationship with Zuko, culminating in her love for him prompting her to chose Zuko over Azula and betraying the latter, which led to her imprisonment. She is released after Zuko defeats Azula,[45] and later reunites with Zuko.
  • Ty Lee (Olivia Hack in the animated series)[34] is cheerful, energetic, and somewhat of a valley girl who, along with Mai, accompanies her childhood friend Azula on her quest.[8] She is one of seven sisters and joins the circus at an early age to appear "different from a matching set". She is a peerless acrobat and can paralyze people or temporarily neutralize their bending powers by striking pressure points. She was temporarily imprisoned after she supported Mai against Azula by paralyzing her when she was about to attack Mai. She was released when the Fire Lord was defeated. She later joined the Kyoshi Warriors, whom she had earlier impersonated.[45]
  • Jet (voiced by Crawford Wilson in the animated series) is a charismatic teen-aged rebel who holds a deep grudge against the Fire Nation. He is the leader of the Freedom Fighters, a group of children who spend their days antagonizing Fire Nation soldiers, even at the expense of innocent lives. In the show's second season, he takes refuge in Ba Sing Se, in which most of the main characters are also hiding. Jet's hatred of the Fire Nation and intent to kill even innocent citizens thereof was described by critics as a bad influence on the series' viewers.[66] In Ba Sing Se, Jet is brainwashed by Long Feng, the Earth King's chancellor, after attacking Zuko and Iroh; but released from this condition by the protagonists, and later killed during a fight against Long Feng.[67]

Other characters

  • The Cabbage Merchant (James Sie) Though never given a name, this character appears occasionally throughout Seasons one and two. His character is used mainly for comic relief. The cabbage merchant was a Earth Kingdom salesman who specialized in selling cabbages. He repeatedly had his cabbages destroyed or damaged. His ill-fated produce products have met their demise by a multitude of characters, first by the Earth kingdom city of Omashu's import control earthbenders, 2nd by Aang and the Omashu mail delivery service, again by Aang being chased by pirates, next by a platypus-bear at the Ba Sing Se ferry boat center, lastly again by Aang within the walls of Ba Sing Se when the zoo animal mass release gets out of control and a rabiroo feasts on his supply. A cabbage stand could be seen destroyed in Gaipan in the flood initiated by Jet and his Freedom Fighters, however it was never confirmed to belong to the cabbage merchant. His only speaking parts throughout the series is to shout his catchphrase "My cabbages!". When Aang and his mail delivery service fiasco comes to an end he shouts "Off with their heads, one for each head of cabbage!" during their trial. Again when Aang from the pirates, he shouts "This place is worse than Omashu!", in Ba Sing Se as the rabiroo has lunch, his final speaking part "MY CABB!... Oh forget it." as he throws a head of cabbage over his shoulder exiting the scene. His last appearance was when he was a material source for the fire nation play and he was referred to as "a surprisingly knowledgeable merchant of cabbage", though he made no actual apearance. The cabbage merchant will not appear in The Legend of Korra, but it has been confirmed that his legacy will be carried on in some way.
  • Chief Arnook (voiced by Jon Polito) is the chief of the Northern Water Tribe, and father of Princess Yue. In episode "The Siege of the North", he helps to defeat the Fire Nation in their raid of the tribe, but is not seen or mentioned thereafter.
  • Princess Yue (Johanna Braddy in the animated series,[34] Seychelle Gabriel in the live-action film)[18] is the daughter of Chief Arnook of the Northern Water Tribe. When Yue nearly died at birth, her father invoked the Moon Spirit to give her life, which it granted, knowing she would be useful to it thereafter. She first appears in the series as a sixteen-year-old girl engaged to marry the warrior Hahn; but befriends and eventually develops a romantic bond with Sokka.[68] When the Moon Spirit is killed by Fire Admiral Zhao, Yue gives up her mortal existence to become the new Moon Spirit,[60] in which role she re-appears in later episodes. The word Yue () means "moon" in Mandarin Chinese.
  • Bato (voiced by Richard McGonagle[69]) is a friend of Hakoda. He is first seen in the episode "Bato of the Water Tribe", and later takes part in Sokka's invasion of the Fire Nation; eventually to be imprisoned at its failure, and released in the finale.
  • King Bumi (voiced by André Sogliuzzo) is the eccentric, elderly king of Omashu, an Earth Kingdom stronghold. As a child, Bumi was a close friend of Aang. Despite his age and apparent frailty, Bumi is an Earthbending master, himself claiming at one point to be "the most powerful Earthbender you'll ever see". He appears only once in each of the first two seasons and twice in the third season: in Book 1 wherein his character is introduced, in Book 2 when Aang seeks to learn Earthbending from him, and in Book 3 wherein he aids Iroh and others to recapture Ba Sing Se from the Fire Nation and when Zuko and the others go looking for Aang and encounter the White Lotus Society. The word Bumi comes from the Sanskrit 'bhumi' meaning 'earth'.
  • Combustion Man (also known as "Sparky Sparky Boom Man"; both of these are labels given to him by Sokka, as his real name is unknown) first appeared in the third season as an assassin hired by Prince Zuko to kill Aang, and served as an antagonist until his apparent death. His chief weapon is a unique method of Firebending allowing him to generate explosions from a third eye painted on his forehead, whereby he terrorizes the Avatar and his friends. He has no speaking parts and shows no mannerism except those suggesting a fierce attachment to his purpose.
  • Earth King Kuei (voiced by Phil LaMarr) is the king of the Earth Kingdom. In his first appearance, he is shown to have been tricked by his chancellor, who kept the war with the Fire Nation a secret from him. Upon learning of the war, the king joined forces with the Avatar and arrested his chancellor, eventually leading to the fall of the Earth Kingdom capital of Ba Sing Se. His final appearance is at the beginning of the third season, where it is said that he left to travel the world with his pet bear Boscow.
  • Monk Gyatso (voiced by Sab Shimono) was a member of the Council of Elders at the Southern Air Temple. He was Aang's guardian and surrogate father, and is noted for his kindness and sense of humor.[70] Gyatso also had a strong friendship with the previous Avatar, Roku. Gyatso was killed by Firebenders before the beginning of the show, and only appears in flashbacks and dream sequences.
  • Hakoda (voiced by André Sogliuzzo) is Katara's and Sokka's father and the leader of the Southern Water Tribe. Much of Sokka's ingenuity and craftiness in the show is attributed to Hakoda's teachings. Hakoda went to fight the Fire Nation before the beginning of the series, reappearing later to lead his son's invasion.
  • Haru (voiced by Michael Dow) is an Earthbender that Sokka, Aang, and Katara meet in the first season, and whom they assist freeing his father and other Earthbenders from the Fire Nation. Like many other characters, he appears later in an invasion of the Fire Nation. After the invasion fails, Haru leaves with Aang and his group for the Western Air Temple, but is separated from them during Azula's attack. He is reunited with his father at the end of the finale.
  • Tyro (voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson) is an Earthbender and the father of Haru. In "Imprisoned" he and many other Earthbenders escape from a Fire Nation prison thanks to his son, Katara, Aang and Sokka. He later joins the invasion of the Fire Nation with his son, but is captured after the invasion fails. He is seen with Haru at the end of the finale.
  • Jeong Jeong (voiced by Keone Young) is one of Aang's firebending teachers; a former admiral of the Fire Nation's navy, who lives in exile with his followers. Though he had once been Zhao's teacher, Zhao quit because he believed Jeong Jeong's teaching methods ineffective. It is later revealed that he is a member of the international Order of the White Lotus, as which he helped reconquer Ba Sing Se in the series finale.
  • Long Feng (voiced by Clancy Brown) is the intelligent Grand Secretariat of Ba Sing Se, head of the Dai Li, and advisor and chancellor to the Earth King. Shortly after his appearance in the show, it becomes apparent that the Earth King is a figurehead of Ba Sing Se's government,[71] with Long Feng holding power. He utilizes the Dai Li, Ba Sing Se's cultural protectors, to silence anyone who is disrupting the peace, secretly imprisoning them and using hypnotic tactics to subdue them. This effectively keeps the citizens of Ba Sing Se in ignorance of the war until Ba Sing Se is captured by the Fire Nation.
  • Joo Dee (voiced by Lauren Tom) is a woman in Ba Sing Se, who appears as the protagonists' hostess but later turns out to be one of the Dai Li. She shows little emotion at all and, despite seeming brainwashed, understands the city's situation. She is not seen after the episode "Lake Laogai".
  • June (voiced by Jennifer Hale) is a bounty hunter who travels around the Earth Kingdom. She hunts her prey with the help of her mount, a giant beast called a Shirshu, named Nyla, which is totally blind but possesses a heightened sense of smell. June is confident and self-assured, and considered very beautiful, but dangerous. She also possesses impressive physical strength.
  • Avatar Kyoshi (voiced by Jennifer Hale) was the incarnation immediately preceding Avatar Roku, 412 years before the start of the series. Kyoshi is described as a gigantic woman, possessing the largest feet of any Avatar, and lived to be 230 years old. Her traditional weapons are golden metal fans which, in addition to her manner of dress and style of fighting, were adopted by the young warrior women of Kyoshi Island, which she detached from the mainland to defy a self-stimulated conqueror.
  • Longshot is another member of the Freedom Fighters. He accompanies Jet and Smellerbee to Ba Sing Se. He rarely speaks, until the final episode in which he appears, "Lake Laogai".
  • Nyla is a male Shirshu (an immense, musteline-like predator), who served as the mount and companion of the bounty hunter June. Characteristic of his species Nyla's tongue contains neurotoxins that temporarily paralyze a human being. Also like other Shirshu, Nyla has no eyes and "sees" by his powerful scent receptors; a trait utilized by Sokka by tipping perfumes into Nyla's path.
  • The Mechanist (voiced by Rene Auberjonois) is a brilliant and eccentric inventor and engineer from the Earth Kingdom who led his people into the mountains to take up residence in the abandoned Northern Air Temple when their village was destroyed by a flood. His ingenious inventions, some inspired by the Airbenders, made his people's lives easier. Because of his scientific approach to the world, he becomes friends with Sokka, and they develop a number of devices together. Unfortunately, his abilities come to the attention of the Fire Nation and he is coerced into developing a number of machines, redeeming himself after he breaks the arrangement and helps Aang repel the Fire Nation when they raid the temple. He later aids the invasion on the Day of the Black Sun with numerous new inventions, including waterbending-powered submarines. When the invasion fails, he is captured and later reunited with his son Teo after the war.
  • Teo (voiced by Daniel Samonas) is the Mechanist's son, rendered paraplegic and wheelchair-bound after a flood destroyed their village and killed Teo's mother. To give his son and the villagers a new and happier life, the Mechanist led them into the mountains, where Teo became adept with at flying on a special glider. A kind-hearted, respectful, and honest boy, he soon becomes friends with Aang. After discovering that his father has been reluctantly creating machines for the Fire Nation, Teo aids Aang repelling Fire Nation raiders. He returns during the invasion of the Day of the Black Sun, but is forced to separate from his father when the Avatar's group is forced to surrender. He accompanies Aang to the Western Air Temple and befriends Haru and the Duke before the Avatar's group is forced to flee when Azula attacks the temple. He is reunited with his father after the war.
  • Master Pakku (voiced by Victor Brandt) is a Waterbending master and instructor of the North Pole's Northern Water Tribe Waterbending classes. He is dryly sarcastic and very serious about his teachings. He is also stubbornly set in the customs of his culture, as by only teaching Waterbending to male students; but his ways change after identifying Katara as the granddaughter of his runaway fiancee Kanna, whom he later marries.
  • Master Piandao (voiced by Robert Patrick) is a swordsmith and master of swordsmanship, based in the Fire Nation, who teaches a foundation of his skills to Sokka. He is later shown assisting the others of the White Lotus in recapturing Ba Sing Se.
  • Smellerbee (voiced by Nika Futterman) is a Freedom Fighter. She was first seen in the episode "Jet", wherein she helped destroy a dam. She is later accompanying Jet and Longshot to Ba Sing Se, but leaves Jet after watching him become obsessed with proving that Iroh and Zuko are Firebenders. She and Longshot are not seen after Jet is killed in "Lake Laogai".
  • The Duke (voiced by Mitch Holleman in Book 1, and Nick Swoboda in Book 3) is the youngest of the Freedom Fighters. He does not accompany Jet to Ba Sing Se but is later seen with Pipsqueak in the Black Sun invasion force. He goes with Aang to the Western Air Temple after the invasion's failure, and is separated from them after Azula's attack. He is also seen hugging Toph at the end of the finale.
  • Pipsqueak (voiced by Sterling Young) is the largest and strongest of the Freedom Fighters, despite his name. He joins the invasion against the Fire Nation and is taken captive when it fails. He is seen again at the end of the finale. He is friends with The Duke.
  • Xin Fu (voiced by Marc Graue) was a promoter and host of an earth-bending prizefighting ring who later becomes a bounty hunter, hired by Toph's father to bring her home. He works with Earthbending instructor turned bounty hunter Master Yu to accomplish this. While searching for Toph, he also briefly pursues Zuko and Iroh. He succeeds in capturing Toph in a metal box, but she manages to escape by creating Metalbending and proceeds to seal him and Master Yu inside. Neither of them are shown again after this.
  • The Boulder (voiced by Mick Foley) is an earthbender first seen in the episode "The Blind Bandit" as a prizefighter; but who re-appears during the attempt to invade the Fire Nation. He speaks of himself in the third person, and his name is thought a parody of The Rock.
  • Big Bad Hippo (voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson) is an opponent of Boulder's in an Earthbending match, and later appears with him in the invasion. He is a tall, heavy man with 4 especially-prominent teeth, and is possibly a parody of King Hippo of the Punch-Out!! franchise.
  • Fire Lord Sozin (voiced by Ron Perlman) was the Fire Lord who started the war with the other nations. In a flashback, it is shown that he was once friends with Avatar Roku, but disobeyed his advice against war and later permitted his death. With the Avatar no longer there to maintain balance, Sozin wiped out the Air Nomads using the power of a nearby comet, which was renamed Sozin's Comet in his honour. It is hinted that, in his last moments before death, Sozin regretted his actions.

Organizations

The following is a list of collective entities within the fictional universe.

  • Freedom Fighters - First encountered in "Jet", this rag-tag group led by episode's namesake and operates out of the forests in the Earth Kingdom. The group consists of its leader Jet and his subordinates Pipsqueak, Smellerbee, Longshot, Duke, and Sneers.
  • Kyoshi Warriors - A group of female warriors from Kyoshi Island, led by Suki, resembling Avatar Kyoshi in costume and fighting-style. Ty Lee joins the group at the end of the series.
  • Sandbenders - Earthbenders who specialize in bending sand. They are nomads who live in a great desert in the Earth Kingdom.
  • Order of the White Lotus - An international organization of teachers, philosophers, and warriors, who value knowledge and wisdom above all else.
  • Dai Li - The secret police and cultural enforcers of Ba Sing Se, usurped by Princess Azula until she banishes them shortly before her coronation as Firelord. The group had originally been created by Avatar Kyoshi to protect the social conventions of Ba Sing Se, but had become corrupt over time.
  • Foggy Swamp Tribe - The country-like folk of the foggy swamp composed of Tho, Due, and Yew. They use water bending to control the vines in the swamp. They first appear in season two as hunters trying to eat Appa, and later in season three to help during the invasion. [72]

Reception

The characters of Avatar: The Last Airbender received both praise and criticism from reviewers. Troy Island Mell, of IGN, felt that the story "would [not] be anywhere near as good as it is without its ability to create such strong characters". In particular, Mell enjoyed the development of Katara and Zuko throughout the first season, but thought that Zuko's relationship with his uncle was not "very organic."[73] Jamie S. Rich of DVDTalk generally agreed with Mell's assessment of the characters. Rich also praised the fact that, unlike many cartoon television series, Avatar introduces antagonists that have a deep backstory and "are [not] just evil for the sake of it".[74]

Jeremy Mullin, another IGN reviewer, felt that the characters were not brilliantly done, though he noted that they introduced some drama and romantic tension usually not found on Nickelodeon, especially between Aang and Katara.[75] Lair of the Green Knight and DVD Verdict also enjoyed the romantic tension, focusing mainly on the female cast: Katara, Toph, and Azula, as well as the two minor characters, Mai and Ty Lee. Fitz at Lair of the Green Knight lauded the decision to not stereotypically fashion the woman into the "usual weak female characters" but to instead give them "strong opinions and strength".[76] IGN also compared character relationships, complimenting "Sokka and Princess Yue's forbidden love" while criticizing Iroh and Zuko's relationship as not being executed properly.[77] DVDVerdict felt that some minor characters, especially Mai and Ty Lee, were "love em' or hate em'" characters.[78] Gabriel Powers of DVDActive thought that while the characters fit into neat "archetypes", it was not a bad thing and fit well with the series.[79]

In 2008, Avatar was awarded a Peabody for its "unusually complex characters".[80] This makes the cartoon one of few animations to win the award and the only one to be cited for its character development.[81]

Casting

Sokkakatara

Katara and Sokka as depicted in the third season of the cartoon (left) and film (right). The casting of white actors to portray dark-skinned characters sparked controversy and accusations of racism against the studio and casting agencies.

M. Night Shyamalan originally offered the roles of Aang to Noah Ringer; Sokka to Jackson Rathbone; Katara to Nicola Peltz; and Zuko to Jesse McCartney.[82] In selecting Nicola Peltz, Shyamalan commented that he did not want to make The Last Airbender without her, saying that "I said that only once before in my career, and that was when I met Haley in The Sixth Sense auditions.".[83] In February 2009, Dev Patel replaced McCartney, whose tour dates conflicted with a boot camp scheduled for the cast to train in martial arts.[84][85]

The casting of all-white actors for main protagonist roles in the live-action, Asian-influenced film triggered a negative reaction which was marked by accusations of racism, a letter-writing campaign, and a protest outside of a Philadelphia casting call for movie extras.[86][87][88] Jackson Rathbone dismissed the complaints in an interview with MTV, saying, "I think it's one of those things where I pull my hair up, shave the sides, and I definitely need a tan. It's one of those things where, hopefully, the audience will suspend disbelief a little bit.".[89] Shaun Toub, who plays Iroh, also defended the casting choices. He noted that "if they would have put all Asians in a certain nation, I think then there would be people who come out and said, ‘Well, now you're stereotyping, saying that anything that has to do with martial arts has to do with Asians and chop suey and all that.' So it's nice to mix it up and just do the unexpected."[90]

Movie critic Roger Ebert was one of the critical voices against the casting decision. When asked about selection of primarily white actors to portray the characters, he said, "The original series Avatar: The Last Airbender was highly regarded and popular for three seasons on Nickelodeon. Its fans take it for granted that its heroes are Asian. Why would Paramount and Shyamalan go out of their way to offend these fans? There are many young Asian actors capable of playing the parts.".[91] Jevon Phillips of the Los Angeles Times noted that despite Shyamalan's attempts to defuse the situation, the issue will "not fade away or be overlooked", and that this film exemplifies the need for a debate within Hollywood about racial diversity in its films.[92] Popular Korean cartoonist Derek Kirk Kim reacted to the film's casting by comparing it to a hypothetical film which depicts white actors wearing traditional African clothing and eating traditional African food in traditional African huts.[93] Shyamalan, however, countered that "this movie, and then the three movies, will be the most culturally diverse tentpole movies ever released.".[90]

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External links

el:Κατάλογος χαρακτήρων του Αβατάρ: Ο Τελευταίος Μαχητής του Ανέμου

es:Anexo:Personajes secundarios menores de Avatar: la leyenda de Aang id:Daftar karakter dalam serial Avatar: The Legend of Aang it:Personaggi di Avatar - La leggenda di Aang nl:Lijst van personages uit Avatar: De Legende Van Aang pt:Anexo:Personagens de Avatar: The Last Airbender ru:Список персонажей мультсериала «Аватар: Легенда об Аанге» simple:List of Avatar: The Last Airbender characters tr:Avatar: Son Havabükücü karakterleri listesi

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