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Elizabeth Yu Doesn’t Care About Body Shaming Against Azula: ‘The Backlash Is Normal’

There’s been a lot of talk on Yu’s appearance as Princess Azula in the live-action remake. The actress is thought to be too soft-looking for the part.

When Netflix announced Elizabeth Yu as the Fire Nation princess in the Netflix show, some fans were quick to point out that her facial features didn’t exactly match the angular look of Azula from the animation, and others mentioned that she seemed younger than expected for the role.

Yu is fine with all this criticism, as she joked to Refinery29 in late February:

“I’m a hit with the kids. I think anybody playing this part would’ve gotten some kind of backlash.”

The 21-year-old has made it clear that the new series does more than retelling Nickelodeon’s ‘The Last Airbender’ by giving audiences a chance to understand Azula’s backstory before she becomes the notorious antagonist in the second season of the original animated series.

She Appreciates The Asian Representation

What really matters to Yu is how her portrayal of Azula will sit with her younger sisters and other Asian viewers. Having grown up with limited representation of Asian Americans on TV, she appreciates the more inclusive casting in today’s entertainment landscape.

Shouting out to her inspirations, including Brenda Song in ‘The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody,’ the actress shared:

“All I had growing up was London Tipton. The idea that my little sisters are going to be able to watch TV and movies, and the likelihood of them getting to see someone that looks like them is so much higher, is such a win. It’s so healing to know that we’re creating an industry where little girls — little anyones — can feel like that.”

The Cast Is In Favor Of The Changes

Netflix’s version of the lore has stirred talks not only about casting choices but also about its storyline, including the early introduction of Fire Lord Ozai and tweaks to Sokka’s character dynamics. These changes have led to mixed feelings among fans.

Supporting the live-action show’s creative decisions, Ozai’s actor, Daniel Dae Kim, explained in a GQ interview:

“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.”

Addressing fan concerns, Ian Ousley (Sokka) also pointed out that the updates aimed to modernize the series while keeping true to the spirit of the original characters.

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