“The entire plot of ATLA is a bunch of kids with ADHD”: Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender Shot Itself in the Foot With 1 Decision That No Real Fan Can Forgive

Avatar: The Last Airbender completely diluted the journey of Aang and his transition to becoming the Avatar.

Avatar: The Last Airbender created glaring loopholes in Aang’s journey.

SUMMARY

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender is receiving backlash from fans for some controversial changes in character arcs and plots.
  • In one key modification, the various side quests that were pivotal to Aang transitioning to the Avatar State, were completely omitted.
  • Fans quoted statistics and said that the live-action series had a bigger time frame than the original show to be able to incorporate these side quests.
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Netflix’s live-action series Avatar: The Last Airbender hasn’t found favor with fans across the world. The show which is an adaptation of the popular 2005 animated series, has failed in its attempt to create a fresh take on the original mainly due to some key changes that were made to characters and various storylines.

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Avatar: The Last Airbender
A still from Avatar: The Last Airbender

While there were a lot of questions raised regarding the toning down of Sokka’s sexist attitude which was integral to the narrative, a bigger problem arose with the depiction of the central protagonist Aang and his transition to the Avatar State. The series took a huge risk by making one significant change that affected the core elements of the character’s journey.

Avatar: The Last Airbender Took A Superficial Approach To Aang’s Avatar State

A few days into the release of Avatar: The Last Airbender on Netflix, the show is getting some serious flak for its mediocre execution and some controversial modifications to the narrative and characters. Netizens are also calling out the live-action series for one particular aspect of the screenplay involving the central character Aang played by Gordon Cormier.

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In the books and the original animated series, Aang’s journey to attain the Avatar State was symbolized by many elaborate side quests that played an important part in the character’s ultimate enlightenment. Some of these storylines like The Library and The Blue Spirit were pivotal to Aang and his friends’ journeys along with his transition as the Avatar.

Avatar: The Last Airbender
Fans believed that Avatar: The Last Airbender did not give importance to the side quests

In a shocking departure, the Netflix live-action version seems to have done away completely with these side quests. This radical change has not gone down well with ardent fans of the franchise who believe that the show has diluted the legacy of Aang’s character. One fan on X lucidly stated,

“My one and only issue with Aang, Katara & Sokka in the live action is that they’re WAY too focused on the mission. The entire plot of ATLA is a bunch of kids with ADHD trying to complete a task but end up getting distracted & doing random side quests that teach them life lessons.”

The well-informed fan also pointed out that the show did not have an excuse to cut these stories due to a limited time frame. The original animated series had 20 episodes running for 20 minutes each which amounted to a total of 6 hours. In contrast, Avatar: The Last Airbender runs totally for 8 hours which gives it more time than the 2005 series to be able to incorporate the side quests.

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Why Was Sokka’s Sexism Toned Down In Avatar: The Last Airbender?

Among the barrage of criticisms being hurled at Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender, one of the most problematic modifications deals with the character arc of the main protagonist Sokka played by Ian Ousley. In the animated series, Sokka is seen as someone with very distinctive traits including sharp intelligence, wry humor, and a protective brotherly affection towards his sister Katara.

Ian Ousley
Ian Ousley as Sokka in Avatar: The Last Airbender

In addition, he also had a penchant for making immature and sexist remarks throughout his adventures. In fact, it was Sokka’s inappropriate comment that accidentally led to the siblings discovering Aang. But in an effort to make the character more relatable to modern audiences, Katara actor Kiawentiio revealed to Entertainment Weekly that Sokka’s sexism was toned down in the show.

Ousley also concurred with his co-star’s statement and revealed that these changes were made in order to bring a different aesthetic and nuance to the character. But it seems that this risk has not paid off for Avatar: The Last Airbender, with fans being quite vocal about their displeasure on seeing the character’s inherent quality being manipulated this way.

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Avatar: The Last Airbender is streaming on Netflix.

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Written by Sharanya Sankar

Articles Published: 995

Sharanya Sankar, Writer for Fandomwire
Having completed her Masters degree in Journalism and Mass Communication, Sharanya has a solid foundation in writing which is also one of her passions. She has worked previously with Book My show for a couple of years where she gained experience reviewing films and writing feature articles. Sharanya’s articles on film and pop culture have also been published on Film Companion, a popular film-based website. Apart from movies and pop culture, her interests include music and sports. She has contributed over 650 articles to Fandomwire so far.