The following contains spoilers for AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER and THE LEGEND OF KORRA.
The Legend of Korra‘s first season had a big mystery attached to it. Who was the real identity of Amon, the leader of the Equalists? At the time of the show’s airing there were tons of theories thrown around about who was under the mask. Possible suspects included Koh the Face Stealer, Jet, and even Aang! However, the true person hiding under the mask was much more complicated and not whom anyone suspected. MASSIVE spoilers for The Legend of Korra season one are ahead so proceed at your own risk.
Amon was in fact a water-bender named Noatak who was trained by his father, Yakone, to be a bloodbender. Yakone wished to pass this technique along to Noatak in order to get revenge on Aang for taking away his bending. After killing his father in order to protect his brother Tarrlok (another suspect for Amon’s identity), Noatak fled and was presumed dead. However, Noatak was very much alive and learned he could use bloodbending to take other benders abilities away from them. With this power he took the alias of Amon and became leader of the Equalists.
Yep, all that backstory about his family being killed by a firebender and that scar? His claim that spirits gave him the power to bend because the Avatar had failed the world? All fake.
Amon’s true history also explains how he was able to shake off Tarrlok’s bloodbending. At the time of Korra’s original airing, fans were stumped how Amon was able to resist what had previously been one of the most powerful techniques in the ATLA universe. Once we learned Amon himself was a bloodbender, more powerful than Tarrlok, it made sense.
Amon’s downfall began when Korra managed to airbend him into the water. By reflex he waterbent himself to safety but in doing so washed off his makeup. This quickly exposed him for a fake and he lost all support amongst his followers. He managed to escape with Tarrlock in a speedboat but was killed when Tarrlok used an electric glove to blow up the fuel tank.
Thankfully Amon’s bloodbending ability to take away others bending wasn’t permanent and Korra managed to heal everyone thanks to energybending.
That’s the story of Amon! At the time everyone assumed he had to be someone from the original series or at least a person related to them. However, the team behind The Legend of Korra made the right call in making Amon a totally new character. By doing that they kept the story focused on Korra and her attempting to overcome Amon’s influence and power.