Netflix AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER Gorgeously Puts the Art in Martial Arts

Netflix AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER truly understands the art of martial arts
Netflix Avatar: The Last Airbender

Avatar: The Last Airbender is not just a show; it’s a cultural phenomenon that redefined the integration of martial arts into storytelling. With Netflix’s highly anticipated live-action adaptation, the series has put the ‘Art’ in Martial Arts, showcasing an unparalleled dedication to authenticity and detail in its portrayal of the four elemental bending arts. Unlike a previous adaptation…

The cast and crew’s commitment to this vision is evident in the meticulous preparation and execution of each bending sequence, transforming traditional martial arts into a mesmerizing dance of power and grace.

The Art in Martial Arts

Netflix Avatar: The Last Airbender
Daniel Dae Kim as Ozai in season 1
Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2024

Daniel Dae Kim, who plays Fire Lord Ozai, sheds light on the unique approach taken by the stunt team to ensure that the martial arts depicted in the series accurately represent the bending of each element. The specificity with which they approached the portrayal of each nation’s bending style is a testament to their dedication to the source material and its fanbase.

“TI would just add to that you know just to highlight the excellence of the stunt team. They were very specific about the kind of martial arts that each nation performed. And they were also very specific about the way we were dealing with our particular element like for instance with the fire nation they would talk to us about you know what kind of fireball we were creating.

How big it was going to be how fast it was going to travel whether it was a ray or whether it was a ball. And so I really appreciated the fact that they were thinking about the nuances of those things because I knew the fans would be.”

-Daniel Dae Kim, Fire Lord Ozai in Avatar: The Last Airbender-

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This attention to detail not only enriches the visual experience but also deepens the audience’s understanding of the characters and their powers, making the world of Avatar more immersive and believable.

The Stunt Team’s Dedication

Netflix Avatar: The Last Airbender
(L to R) Dallas Liu as Prince Zuko, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee as Iroh in season 1
Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2024

Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, who plays Uncle Iroh, reflects on the humbling experience of training for his role, highlighting the patience and support of the stunt team. Their commitment to authenticity extended to recording each training session, allowing for continuous improvement and refinement of the actors’ movements.

“Man that was humbling. It was humbling because and props to the entire stunt team the coordinators the fight choreographers. They really brought it and for me it was an intensive like two or three week process where I had to go in and they would video they would record each session on an iPhone… And so the patience of the team was tremendous.

And when you feel you have that level of support and from every source we felt we were fully supported. Like that’s what I loved about the experience was they worked with us tirelessly and they were always available if we wanted to do extra.”

-Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Uncle Iroh in Avatar: The Last Airbender

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This rigorous training regimen ensured that the bending sequences were not only visually stunning but also grounded in the physicality and discipline of martial arts.

A Commitment to Authenticity

Netflix Avatar: The Last Airbender
(L to R) Paul Sun-Hyung Lee as Iroh, Dallas Liu as Prince Zuko in season 1
Cr. Robert Falconer/Netflix © 2024

Paul further emphasizes the team’s dedication to making the bending as believable as possible. The stunt team’s commitment to detail and the actors’ determination to do justice to their roles culminated in a portrayal of bending that is both authentic and awe-inspiring.

“Because they wanted us to succeed and they knew the bending has to look right. In this world for it to be believable you have to do it right. And I love that commitment to detail. And as a performer you don’t wanna let people down either. And it also helps when you have a prodigy who’s doing all the heavy lifting in all the sequences to just sort of like lean back and watch him do his magic.

And all of them really it is a tremendous privilege to see them do their thing. And it’s gonna be wonderful when the rest of the world gets to see them do their thing.”

-Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Uncle Iroh in Avatar: The Last Airbender

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The collaborative effort between the actors and the stunt team has elevated the portrayal of bending in Avatar: The Last Airbender, setting a new standard for the integration of martial arts in television.

The Heart of the Art

Netflix Avatar: The Last Airbender
Ken Leung as Zhao in season 1
Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2024

Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender is a masterclass in the art of martial arts choreography, blending traditional techniques with the fantastical elements of bending to create something truly unique. The dedication of the cast and crew to authenticity and detail not only honors the beloved animated series but also brings its world to life in a way that is both respectful and innovative. As the series prepares to make its debut, fans and newcomers alike can look forward to experiencing the magic of bending as never before.

Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender will premiere exclusively on Netflix on February 22, 2024.

About Avatar: The Last Airbender

Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Premiere Date: February 22, 2024
Episodes: 8 episodes x 1 hour
Executive Producer / Showrunner: Albert Kim
Executive Producers: Jabbar Raisani, Dan Lin, Lindsey Liberatore, Michael Goi
Cast: Gordon Cormier, Ian Ousley, Kiawentiio, Dallas Liu, Ken Leung, with Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Daniel Dae Kim

Water. Earth. Fire. Air. The four nations once lived in harmony, with the Avatar, master of all four elements, keeping peace between them. But everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked and wiped out the Air Nomads, the first step taken by the firebenders towards conquering the world. With the current incarnation of the Avatar yet to emerge, the world has lost hope.

But like a light in the darkness, hope springs forth when Aang (Gordon Cormier), a young Air Nomad — and the last of his kind — reawakens to take his rightful place as the next Avatar. Alongside his newfound friends Sokka (Ian Ousley) and Katara (Kiawentiio), siblings and members of the Southern Water Tribe, Aang embarks on a fantastical, action-packed quest to save the world and fight back against the fearsome onslaught of Fire Lord Ozai (Daniel Dae Kim). But with a driven Crown Prince Zuko (Dallas Liu) determined to capture them, it won’t be an easy task. They’ll need the help of the many allies and colorful characters they meet along the way.

What was the most disappointing aspect of the first live-action adaptation attempt? Are there any aspects to worry you about Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender? How have you enjoyed the glimpses at the bending so far? Let us know what you think on Discord!



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Kevin Fenix

Professional Nerd | Amateur Human | Creative/Content Director The best way to describe Kevin Fenix is the kid you never tell what the buttons do in video games so you have a chance to win. Being 6’ 4” and Asian, he never really fit in, so he got comfortable standing out. Not only is it easy to find him in crowds, he dabbles in the culinary arts, does a little stand up and improv, and can honestly say Spider-Man is the Jesus-like influence of his life. Kevin Fenix loves dogs, movies, television, comics, comedy, and to shoot people… with video.