Avatar: The Last Airbender Trailer Remembers Most Important Part of the Show

Netflix’s Avatar series hasn’t forgotten what made the best moments of the series work.

Sokka in Netflix's live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Photo: Netflix

Amidst the rapid-fire shots of the newest trailer for Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender, fans have a lot to take in. The show looks to be incredibly faithful to the original Nickelodeon animated series. The outfits are bright and colorful. The bending has deliberate movements that echo the martial arts of the show. Fan-favorite side characters like Bumi, Jet, June, and more all make appearances. 

Perhaps most importantly to fans, the trailer makes it seem as though the show gets the dramatic storytelling of Avatar: The Last Airbender. The original series always managed to impress audiences of all ages with taking a show “for kids” and making it some of the best drama ever put on TV, with scenes of incredible weight and substance. This trailer understands how serious Avatar can be.

But it also hints that it understands something even more critical for any adaptation of the series.

A third of the way through the trailer we get an appropriately dramatic line from Katara, “if the world is going to have any chance, it’s gonna need Aang.” It’d be easy to juxtapose this line with a shot of Aang airbending some bad guys, or a shot of Zuko terrorizing a village. 

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But no, after that line the trailer cuts to a shot of Aang showing off on his air ball. He SLAMS right into a statue, comically falling over. Katara and Sokka watch, Sokka pulling a “not very impressive” face. He deadpans, “Right. There goes the savior of the world.” And bites into some fruit.

It’s a simple gag, which directly references the opening of the original show, but one that thankfully shows off this live-action series hasn’t forgotten the humor of Avatar: The Last Airbender – a humor that helped make the show what it was. For every dramatic moment that made it so much more than many kids shows, it was also filled with hilarious jokes. Jokes that not only helped give the audience a break from the intensity of the story line but in fact make those dramatic moments hit all the harder.

If Avatar: The Last Airbender was dark, gritty, and serious 24/7, it wouldn’t be Avatar. It would have been so easy for the live-action series to push the humor aside in an attempt to get new audiences to take the show more “seriously.” Thankfully it knows that humor is a core part of the show, especially when it comes to Sokka, who was always a source of great jokes.

Later in the trailer, as Aang discusses not wanting the responsibility of stopping the Fire Nation, Sokka comforts him and says, “You don’t have to do this alone. You have me, Katara, and a flying ball of fur.” 

It doesn’t just stop with that little jab at flying bison Appa. The lemur Momo lands on Sokka’s head. Sokka looks up, annoyed, which causes Aang and Kata to break into laughter.

The use of this bit hopefully demonstrates that the live-action series won’t take itself too seriously. Sure, it’ll know when to stop the jokes and get down to business. But it also knows when to let the characters sit back and enjoy themselves for a minute. That, more than anything, gives us faith that the live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender can do this series justice.

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Avatar: The Last Airbender premiers on Netflix Feb. 22.