Avatar: The Last Airbender: 5 big differences between the animated series and live action series

There are some important differences between the animated series and the live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Image Credit: Netflix

The Avatar animated series has won the hearts of many children around the world. Now, with the arrival of the live-action adaptation on Netflix entitled Avatar: The Last Airbender, fans have been thrust back into Aang's universe, but this time with notable changes from the original animated series. Which ones are they? How much did they influence the success of the series?

1. The beginning of Avatar: The Last Airbender

The beginning of the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender immediately captures viewers' attention, immersing them directly in the action. The first meeting with Aang occurs when he is freed from the iceberg by Sokka and Katara, without initially providing many details about his past or why he is there. This creates a sense of mystery that gradually unfolds through flashbacks and dialogue throughout the series, allowing the audience to slowly discover the protagonist's backstory as the plot progresses. In contrast, Netflix's live-action adaptation takes a different approach, providing a more detailed overview of the events leading up to Aang's centuries-long slumber right from the start. Viewers are immediately introduced to the circumstances that led to his freezing in the iceberg and his subsequent release by Sokka and Katara.

2. Meeting the other Avatars

In Netflix's live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender, a significantly different approach is introduced to Aang's interaction with past Avatars compared to the original animated series. One major discrepancy concerns the involvement of Avatar Kyoshi, a fan-favorite character. In this new narrative, Kyoshi takes on a more prominent role when he possesses Aang's body to help him defend Kyoshi's island from invading Fire Nation soldiers. This event represents a significant departure from the animated series, in which it is the firebender's previous Avatar, Roku, who communicates with Aang in a similar situation.

Image Credit: Netflix

3. Omashu in Avatar: The Last Airbender

In Netflix's live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender, one of the most significant changes involves Omashu, the city in the Earth Kingdom. In this new interpretation, Omashu becomes the focus of several plots that are combined to create a more intricate story. The live-action adaptation merges the stories of Jet, a character known for his anarchic nature, and the Machinist, a traitor who inspires Sokka's skills as an inventor. These events take place in different contexts in the original animated series, with Team Avatar meeting Jet near a Fire Nation camp and not meeting the Machinist until they reach the Northern Air Temple later in the season. In the adaptation, Omashu is a much more antagonistic figure.

4. The Dark Spirit of Koh

Another significant discrepancy between the animated series and the live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender concerns the use of the character of Koh, the dark spirit who steals faces and dwells in the spirit world. In the original animated series, Aang has a brief but memorable encounter with Koh during his search for help saving the Northern Water Tribe. However, in Netflix's live-action adaptation, it is Sokka and Katara who find themselves trapped in Koh's kingdom. This change allowed Netflix to conveniently insert other important subplots while the two brothers are trapped, such as Hei Bai's story, the fleeting inclusion of the bounty hunter June, and the crucial moment when the Blue Spirit intervenes to save Aang from capture. These events, which occur at different times and in separate contexts in the animated series, are combined into a single sequence in the live-action adaptation.

Image Credit: Netflix

5. High differences in the adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender

Inevitably, the live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender had to sacrifice many of the side missions and fun moments that filled the animated series' episodes. Fans may miss the eccentric herbalist, whom Aang turns to to help Sokka and Katara when they fall ill, the complex diplomatic interactions between the tribes, the fire master Jeong Jeong and his crucial role in Zhao's story, so as of Bato, the family friend who provides valuable information about the brothers' father.