Saturday, November 06, 2021

Netflix's 'Avatar' Cast React to Daniel Dae Kim as Fire Lord Ozai

Gordon Cormier and Dallas Liu, the stars of Netflix's Avatar: The Last Airbender series, have the perfect reactions to Daniel Dae Kim's casting.

The cast of Netflix's live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series have welcomed new addition Daniel Dae Kim with open arms. Despite going off the air over ten years ago, Nickelodeon's Avatar: The Last Airbender remains one of the most beloved children's series of all time. It centers on Aang, the titular last airbender who stands as the final hope for a world ravaged by war. Avatar won over fans young and grown with its compelling world and character development, and its renewed popularity within the past year has led to the development of several new projects set within the universe.

Netflix's Avatar has actually been in the works since 2018, but it's only recently gained real traction. Under the care of showrunner Albert Kim, the live-action reimagining of the series has added several cast members in recent months. Gordon Cormier will take on the lead role of Aang, while his friends Katara and Sokka will be played by Kiawentiio and Ian Ousley, respectively. Dallas Liu nabbed the fan favorite role of Zuko, and earlier this week, Daniel Dae Kim was cast as overarching antagonist Fire Lord Ozai.

Members of the Avatar: The Last Airbender cast were quick to welcome Kim to the series, as noted by Avatar News. After Kim shared the news on social media, he got some fun responses from Cormier and Liu. Cormier previewed what's to come between Aang and Ozai by pulling out a quote from the final episode of the animated series, writing, "AND NOW YOU SHALL PAY THE ULTIMATE PRICE!" Liu, meanwhile, shared his excitement by posting, "LETS DO THISSS." Fittingly, he added a fire emoji.

In the animated series, Ozai is the tyrannical leader of the Fire Nation, consumed with continuing the 100-year war against the rest of the world that was set up by his grandfather, Fire Lord Sozin.

Ozai is defined in the series by his ruthlessness towards everyone, including his own children. He burns the eye of his own teenage son, Prince Zuko, and molds his daughter, Azula, into his image causing her to become an equally cold, unemotional figure.

Ozai doesn't actually play a big role in the first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender; though his presence his always felt, Zuko is actually a larger villain at the beginning. The dynamic between Ozai and Zuko is one of the most emotional parts of the series. Finding out that he was responsible for harming his own son became a huge game-changer in the way audiences viewed Zuko and started his transformation into a sympathetic character.

Kim's casting, as well as his position as a series regular, suggests that Ozai will have an expanded part for the Netflix show.

In that case, it's nice to see his younger co-stars are so excited to work alongside him. Liu in particular will likely get a good number of scenes Kim, but it remains to be seen when audiences will get their first showdown between Aang and Ozai. The animated Avatar kept that until the very end, but Netflix might opt to take things in a different direction. Nevertheless, this is a positive step forward for this long-awaited show, and the enthusiasm of those behind the scenes only heightens the overall sense that Netflix's Avatar: The Last Airbender just might live up to expectations.

Kim has previously been part of the A:TLA universe, voicing General Fong in one episode of the original series and then having the recurring role of Hiroshi Sato, bisexual icon Asami Sato’s father, in several episodes of its spinoff series, Legend of Korra.

Now, we need to find someone perfect to play Iroh, and we are set.

It is unclear when the Netflix series will air exactly, but it will be sometime in 2022.

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