This fan-cast is going to be a bit different from my previous ones. This is a non-voting post and is purely my opinion on a new Avatar live-action film. I call it “Part One” simply because there are three “books” (seasons) of the series. In my opinion, the creator should split each season into two movies, so there would be six total. This way, its not a sloppy mess like the previous attempt. I think three is too much for each season and that two each would nicely fit each story line. Now this “Part One” is in fact characters from the first season ONLY. I will update this later with Part Two and Part Three however…If you’d like to share your ideas for a live-action, please comment! I love to hear others’ ideas!
Ethan’s 14, Auli’i is 14, and Ryan’s 20. So they’re a couple years older than their actual characters but finding actors who match the exact age is difficult…An open casting call for the main characters would be ideal in my opinion to make sure the right actors are cast. Also, I do think they should age the characters at least by a couple years. But I think these 3 could do the roles well. They’re relatively new actors so of course they’d need to make sure they (or whoever they cast) can pull off the roles.
Also, for Appa and Momo, I want them to stick with the animated series’ voice actor. Since these two will CGI anyways, it makes sense, right? That was one thing the previous live-action attempt did right.
Casting Zuko and his family was a bit difficult and that was mainly because of the ages (of Zuko and Azula). Ludi Lin and Shannon Kook are in their late 20s while Ryo Yoshizawa is 21, probably the better pick of the 3. Jasmine Chan and Kasumi Yamaya are about the right age for Azula, a year or two older. Ryo and Kasumi would need to brush up on English though if they were to do these roles. It shouldn’t be a problem seeing that English is taught in Japan from a young age…As for their parents, I went with a few veteran actors. I thought that Li Bingbing, Miki Nakatani, and Yukie Nakama would work as their mother, although a small role. I really want them to cast an actress who has a gentle face and a regal-air to her. As for Firelord Ozai, the actor needs to be intimidating and memorable. I went with Collin Chou, Daniel Wu, and Takeshi Kaneshiro.
Finding an actress for Suki who not only looks the part but is also the right age was a bit difficult. Yuuka Yano is the youngest at 17, Kiko Mizuhara is 25, and Karen Fukuhara’s age is 24/25 I believe. Each has had some sort of fighting experience with their acting jobs (Kamen Rider, Attack on Titan, Suicide Squad) and have the looks to pull off the role. As for Kyoshi, a Japanese actress I think is a must who is also tall. Tao is the tallest I’ve found at 5’10” while Rinko only stands at 5’5″ but proved her acting and fighting capabilites (Pacific Rim). They’re both in the right age range (of how I pictured Kyoshi, hard to tell with all the face paint haha) and both had roles where they got to spar.
I only found one actor (so far) I think would work as Iroh and that’s Chow Yun Fat. As for Zhao, I narrowed it down to David Lee McInnis and Brian Tee. But I think Johnny Tri Nguyen and Rick Yune could be good Zhao’s as well. For Jeong Jeong, I knew I wanted a veteran (martial arts) actor and that obviously led to either Jackie Chan or Jet Li. As for Roku, Hal Yamanouchi could work but I only know him from his role in The Wolverine. I would prefer if Ken Watanabe got the role of Roku.
If there’s one thing the live-action movie attempt got right, it was Princess Yue. Seychelle looked just like her and I think was one of the better parts, if not the best, of the entire film. She’s a little too old now for the role, but I still wouldn’t mind if she returned for the role. If not, these actresses, Hailee Steinfeld, Kelsey Chow, Lulu Antariska, Naomi Scott, are about the right age range and look the part. As for Master Pakku, he was a bit difficult to find actors that’d suit him but I ended up with Alexander Siddig and Ken Watanabe (even though I have him for Roku as well).
If you remember, Shaun Toub was Uncle Iroh from the previous live-action attempt. That casting (along with so many others) was wrong and I actually think he’d be better as Aang’s mentor, Monk Gyatso. He looks the part and he’s a great actor. As for Hakoda and Kya, Katara and Sokka’s parents, I thought Jason Momoa and then Kristin Kreuk or Kelly Hu would fit the roles. Whoever plays Kya will likely be younger than whoever plays Hakoda as she was murdered when Katara and Sokka were kids. For Haru, I always pictured him around Sokka’s age, so I decided on Boo Boo Stewart and Brandon Soo Hoo for the role.
TBA – Bumi, Jet
There are some characters I left out because they are so minor, most likely unknowns will take the roles or it’ll be filled by surprise cameo. For example, Sokka and Katara’s grandma, Jet’s Freedom Fighters’, the 5 sages at the Fire Temple, the Pirates, Aunt Wu…It’s also dependent on if they will even be in the films.
Now outside the cast, its important on how they approach the films. If they did two movies per season like I wish for, TV shows make it easy with that mid-season split, which is something they could use when splitting the season into 2 movies. The split. for the first season/two movies, is after Ep. 8; The Winter Solstice Part 2.
Important episodes to keep from Season 1:
First few episodes – Sokka and Katara find Aang, Aang learns of what he’s missed in the 100 years passed, meet Zuko the enemy and learn his agenda, learn background of Southern Water Tribe, Zuko captures Aang who escapes with Sokka & Katara. This is about 15-20 minutes right here. Then Aang decides to go see Monk Gyatso (where he learns how much time has passed…and fuels his need to master the 4 elements). Zhao should be introduced, I think the agni-kai introduction is important either here or some other point (mainly because of that big battle at the end of the series…)
Episode 4 The Warriors of Kyoshi – It’s important to introduce these warriors and Suki since they come up more than once in the series, particularly since Suki becomes the love interest of Sokka. We also get to meet another past Avatar.
Episode 5 The King of Omashu – I am not entirely sure about this episode. It’s important to introduce Bumi, but it depends on time to put Aang through the trials and figuring out who the King is. For sure a pit stop for the trio, but the trials? Hmm
Episode 6 Imprisoned – We meet Haru and his dad this episode, who we see later in the series. But this episode is important to show the brutality of the Fire Nation. It also gives Katara some character development!
Episode 7/8 The Spirit World (Winter Solstice) Part 1/2 – These two episodes would probably end the movie. Aang reaches the Spirit World, he goes to the Fire Temple to meet Avatar Roku.
Episode 10 Jet – I think this could be a good episode to pick back up where the gang left off. I don’t know about the Pirates episode…Jet we see again later and this episode features a group trying to fight back…Just in the wrong way.
Episode 13 The Blue Spirit – I put this in the list below as well but here’s the thing – The Blue Spirit is important. But I’m not sure we need the group getting sick plot. I think this can be introduced a bit differently…
Episode 15 Bato of the Water Tribe – The first sign that Katara and Sokka’s dad is alive. But in this episode we also see a test among the group – where will each one go?
Episode 16 The Deserter – This episode contains a fire nation village’s festival and when Aang first attempts to learn fire bending. I think this is important to show Aang’s character and will serve as a point to develop from. It’s also important to introduce a particular character who appears again in the third season…
Episode 17 The Northern Air Temple – This episode contains The Mechanist and Teo, who fly using machines. They come back later and I think they should introduce them. It’s also a nice hint to the developing technology of their world (which can serve as an easter egg to Legend of Korra).
Episode 18, 19, 20 The Waterbending Master/The Siege of the North Part 1/2 – Obviously the last 3 episodes of the season should be in the film. We have to see the Avatar begin training, Katara fighting the sexist Pakku, Sokka and Yue falling in love, the importance of the spirit world…and then of course the big battle. We see Zhao and Zuko clash, and this time we better see Aang take form with the Ocean Spirit and not just bring up some giant wave. And the best mid/end credits scene? Firelord Ozai assigning Azula the task of capturing her brother and uncle, possibly with the side job of taking down the Avatar, just like in the series.
Episodes from Season 1 that can be cut or reduced:
Episode 11 The Great Divide – This episode was more of a test for Aang as an Avatar. This can be put elsewhere.
Episode 12 The Storm – I think what the 3, particularly Aang, reveal/learn can be incorporated elsewhere and spare so much time.
Episode 13 The Blue Spirit – I don’t want the concept of the Blue Spirit to be eliminated, but this episode isn’t entirely needed. We see Aang get captured by Zhao and the Blue Spirit (Zuko) saves him…
Episode 14 The Fortune Teller – This episode was mainly to show Aang’s improvement and also the developing love interest of Katara. I think the trio should go on a couple missions on the way to the Northern Water Tribe, and maybe or maybe not this episode could be one of them. Again, there is some time since I want to see each season split into two movies.