Over nearly two decades, the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender has gained a passionate fanbase. However, the release of M. Night Shyamalan’s 2010 film adaptation of Aang’s story left many fans disheartened. Now, Netflix’s live-action adaptation has emerged to rectify this error.

Avatar: The Last Airbender
Daniel Dae Kim as Fire Lord Ozai in Avatar: The Last Airbender

Showrunner Albert Kim was steadfast in his commitment to preserving the authenticity of the beloved series. This dedication is particularly evident in the casting decisions, where each actor is carefully selected to embody their respective characters.
With meticulous attention to detail, Kim ensured that every aspect of the show remained true to its roots.

Albert Kim’s Authentic Casting Approach to Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender 

Avatar: The Last Airbender
A scene from Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender

Albert Kim stands as the visionary behind the highly anticipated Netflix adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender.  As a longtime Avatar fan, Kim seized the opportunity to bring this beloved world to life in the most authentic way possible.

Also Read: “You’re never going to please everyone”: Avatar: The Last Airbender Creator Has No Regrets Over Korra Backlash That He Deliberately Created Despite the Risk

One aspect that Kim held as non-negotiable in the production process was the casting decisions. In an industry where age differences between characters and actors are often overlooked, Kim insisted on authenticity.

Albert Kim told IndieWire,

“I know that’s a convention that happens in Hollywood, but that didn’t feel right to me because the journey of these characters is the journey of a bunch of kids, and it’s their outlook as kids that ends up changing the world. So it was very important for me to cast age-appropriately.”

For Kim, it was crucial to preserve the essence of the story, ensuring that the characters’ vulnerabilities and growth as children remained central to the narrative. This commitment to authenticity led Kim to select Gordon Cormier, a genuine 12-year-old, to portray Aang and Dallas James Liu, a 15-year-old, to take on the role of Zuko along with others.

Kim believes that by maintaining the vulnerability and authenticity of the characters, the show becomes more enjoyable and relatable to fans. By staying faithful to the original vision and ensuring that every aspect of the adaptation remains true to its roots, Albert Kim aims to create an experience that captures the hearts of fans old and new alike.

Also Read: M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender Script Got Blessings from the Original Creators But What Happened Next Will Make Your Blood Boil

Gordon Cormier portrayed the Real Aang

Avatar: The Last Airbender
Avatar: The Last Airbender

Albert Kim emphasizes the significance of Gordon Cormier’s portrayal of Aang, noting that Cormier embodied the character perfectly. Casting a mere 12-year-old boy in the pivotal role of Aang was absolutely crucial for maintaining the authenticity of the show.

Also Read: Avatar: The Last Airbender Fans Get to Relive Their Childhoods Once Again, New Webtoon Episodes Drop Every Saturday

By ensuring that Aang’s age aligns with his character’s journey, it becomes much easier for fans to emotionally connect with his experiences. Beyond simply matching Aang’s age, Cormier’s real-life personality mirrors that of Aang, characterized by boundless energy, and an unwavering sense of optimism.

Albert Kim told AV Club,

“Everyone who met him kept saying, “That’s just Aang.” It was that overall spirit he carried himself with that made us realize he was it. We would see other talented actors, but after every session, I would huddle with the producers, and we’d go, “But what about Gordon?” We kept coming back to him.”

Cormier’s transformation to Aang with a shaved head and makeup shocked everyone on set by how much he looked like Aang. In essence, selecting a young actor like Cormier to portray Aang not only ensures alignment with the character’s age but also captures the essence of Aang’s spirit and personality.

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