Here’s the summary — Avatar: The Last Airbender is a cartoon that, while ostensibly for children, is much loved by many adult types who enjoy awesome animation. It draws a lot on Asian culture and mythology, but it’s always handled well. It’s a rich, beautiful show with a diverse cast of characters, none of whom I’d really describe as being “white.”
M. Night Shyamalan, who I wouldn’t describe as being “white” either is directing the live-action version.
The cast of which is full of white people, including Jesse McCartney.
So yeah, people are upset because this is ridiculous. I can’t imagine it’s that hard to find one or two Asians to put in the cast (and someone who’s not Jesse McCartney for Prince Zuko).
While out of the handful of main characters on the show, only two were voiced by Asian actors (the late, the great Mako as Uncle Iroh and Dante Basco as Prince Zuko), there were plenty of guest star turns by Asian actors, including the omnipresent James Hong and the godlike George Takei as well as plenty of others — Takayo Fischer, George Cheung, Sab Shimono and Jennie Kwan, to name a few — that had recurring or extended roles on the show. The show always felt lovely an inclusive to me.
I think everyone should be able to recognize themselves in the media that they like. The Last Airbender live-action movie just took that chance away from a lot of people.
Image of Azula from Avatar: The Last Airbender because she’s angry. Yes, she’s always angry, but it works.