Avatar: The Last Airbender Wild Theory Explains Why Aang and the Other Airbenders Cannot Fly

This wild fan theory finally explains the reason why Aang and the rest of the Airbenders cannot fly independently.

Avatar: The Last Airbender Wild Theory Explains Why Aang and the Other Airbenders Cannot Fly


  • 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' shows that Aang and other Air Nomads can't fly independently but Zaheer can.
  • A wild fan theory claims this is because the airbenders haven't completely untethered themselves from everything because of their bond with the flying bisons.
  • Indirect clues from 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' and 'Avatar: The Legend of Korra' further justify this theory.
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The Avatar: The Last Airbender universe is arguably one of the most exciting fantasy worlds that fans have ever dived into. Introducing its audiences to stunning characters who can telekinetically manipulate one out of the 4 major elements—air, water, earth, or fire—through ‘bending’, a practice inspired by the Chinese martial arts, the series garnered a massive fanbase.

Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005)
Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005)

But in this adventurously fantastic universe, fans are also stuck with some yet-to-be-officially-answered questions about the abilities of the character. One of the most asked of these was why Aang and the other Airbenders could not take flight. And while these questions weren’t answered by the creators, fans have found the answer to it by themselves via a wild theory.

One Wild ATLA Theory Explains Why Aang and Other Airbenders Can’t Fly

In 2012’s Avatar: The Legend of Korra, fans saw their favorite sympathetic villain Zaheer take flight without using any tool by completely letting go of his “earthly tethers.” However, he was the only one able to do this, surpassing even the most skilled Air Nomads who couldn’t do it without using gliders or being inside a sphere of air despite focusing 100% on untethering themselves from everything.

Zaheer flying in Avatar: The Legend of Korra
Zaheer flying in Avatar: The Legend of Korra

This category of Airbenders who could not fly by themselves included Aang as well, who had lost his everything — family, friends, tribe, culture, everything. This is why fans were tremendously confused as to how Zaheer could do it but other Air Nomads couldn’t. As it seems, this much-asked question has finally been answered through one fan theory.

According to an anonymous theory posted to Tumblr by @atlalore, “The Airbenders during Wan’s era could all fly because they had no earthly attachment. However, once they met the Sky Bison and adopted them, they weren’t able to fly because they became attached to them.” And as unbelievable as it may be, the theory makes complete sense.

The airbenders share a strong emotional bond with their flying bisons
The Airbenders share a strong emotional bond with their flying bisons

As was widely seen throughout both the Avatar series, the Airbenders are greatly attached to the flying bisons, whom they consider sacred animals. Plus, the thematic element of the Air Nomads relying on the flying bisons as an external means for flight also serves as a metaphorical barrier. Both of these could have hindered their ability to completely untether themselves from everything.

Furthermore, one of the context clues from Avatar: The Last Airbender that justifies this is how there were multiple times in the series when Aang couldn’t master his bending abilities due to mental or emotional barriers. Although he had lost everything, the only one who stuck with him throughout this time was his flying bison Appa, whom he had developed a deep emotional bond with.
A still from Avatar: The Last Airbender
A still from Avatar: The Last Airbender

Adding to this were clues from Avatar: The Legend of Korra, where there was more than one instance when she struggled with spiritual blockages, which affected her connection to the spiritual aspects of bending. Moreover, it’s also worth noting that Zaheer could only develop this skill because he never had a bison, and thus, was never emotionally attached to one.

Other Clues From the Avatar Series Justifying This Theory

One other major clue from Avatar: The Legend of Korra justifies this fan theory significantly. As was seen in the series, there is a point when Wan comes across a group of distinctive benders who learned Airbending from their Lion Turtle and have the ability to float around on clouds. Their appearance and bending style also implied they would go on to become Air Nomads.

The flying airbenders in Avatar: The Legend of Korra
The flying Airbenders in Avatar: The Legend of Korra

When Wan later goes on to check on them by visiting their settlement, the place does not seem to hold even one single flying bison. If these looks weren’t deceiving, then it’s possible that those benders were actually able to fly independently because they never befriended or were ever affiliated with flying bisons like the Airbenders.


Because of all these reasons, the fan theory seems pretty justifiable despite being an inevitably wild one in explaining just why Aang and the rest of the Airbenders can’t fly.

You can stream both Avatar: The Last Airbender and Avatar: The Legend of Korra on Netflix.


Written by Mahin Sultan

Articles Published: 1003

Mahin Sultan is a News Content Writer at FandomWire. With almost one year's worth of experience in her field, she has explored and attained a deep understanding of numerous topics in various niches, mostly entertainment.

An all-things-good enthusiast, Mahin is currently pursuing her Bachelor's degree in Commerce, and her love for entertainment has given her a solid foundation of reporting in the same field. Besides being a foodie, she loves to write and spends her free time either with her nose buried in a good book or binging on COD or K-dramas, anime, new movies, and TV serials (the awesome ones, obviously).

So far, Mahin's professional portfolio has more than 500 articles written on various niches, including Entertainment, Health and wellbeing, and Fashion and trends, among others.