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Daniel Dae Kim Endorses The Changes Made In ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ Despite Fan Backlash

The live-action ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ on Netflix is different from the cartoon. Despite some fans being upset, actor Daniel Dae Kim supports the changes to his character and the story.

Speaking to GQ, Daniel Dae Kim, who stars as Fire Lord Ozai in ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender,’ recently voiced his support for the creative liberties taken in this new live-action adaptation.

In the interview with GQ, Kim explained the rationale behind these changes, citing their function to deepen character development and enhance the storyline. Calling the changes ‘dramaturgical function,’ he said:

“There was an effort made to deepen all of the primary characters earlier on. If you look at Sokka’s story and Katara’s story, certain elements got pushed up. I think the reason they pushed up my story was in service of Zuko because we wanted to feel what his motivations were and why he was relentlessly chasing Aang. I personally applaud the decision because I think you care so much more about the primary four than you would otherwise. It’s the right decision.”

According to Kim, these decisions enrich the storytelling, and by introducing major characters and their backstories earlier, the adaptation aims to strengthen the audience’s connection to them in the story.

Why ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ Failed to Meet Fan Expectations?

‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ sparked a great number of reactions after its release, receiving both anticipation and skepticism from fans of the original animated series. Premiered on February 22, 2024, the series introduced numerous changes from its animated predecessor, especially in character portrayal and narrative pacing.

One of the most notable changes involves the early and expanded role of Fire Lord Ozai, which differs way too much from the character’s mysterious and late reveal in the animated series. This adaptation strategy places Ozai at the forefront of the story, offering viewers a chance to explore his motivations and actions.

Sokka’s Character Also Received Backlash

Fans were especially vocal about changes to character dynamics and behaviors, with Sokka’s portrayal, played by Ian Ousley, receiving attention. Ousley recently addressed these concerns, reassuring fans that while some updates were made to reflect modern sensibilities, the spirit of Sokka remained intact:

“He’s still the Sokka we know and love from the cartoon. I don’t even think fans would notice some of those things, honestly, [when] watching our show… He definitely still has his arcs and his lessons in the show.”

Critics offered mixed reviews on the series, praising its visual and production design but criticizing aspects of the writing. Despite this, the show achieved viewership success, topping the Netflix global chart in its first week with over 154 million hours watched.

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