Avatar: The Last Airbender (TV Series 2005–2008) Poster


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Creator Michael Dante DiMartino left Family Guy (1998) to work on Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005-2008).
Zuko was one of the last characters to be written into the show. The Fire Lord was meant to be the show's main antagonist, but the writers realized he would not be able to cause Aang and his friends trouble sitting from his throne. Zuko was then written into the show.
The "Cabbage Man" was not originally meant to be a recurring character, but due to the fans' response and the writers finding it so comedic, the Cabbage Man became a running gag throughout the series.
The four Chinese characters above the title translate to "The Divine Medium who had descended upon the Mortal World."
The symbols of the four nations that are written in the map of the avatar world has a literal meaning in Chinese calligraphy. For example, the symbol of water is joined with another that means virtue; for the one of earth, it means strong; for fire, it means fierce, and finally for of air, it means peaceful.
Mako, who played Uncle Iroh, passed away in the middle of recording his parts for the last seven episodes of season 2. They had to quickly re-cast the part of Iroh. The re-casting put a halt to production on season 3. Mako's part was succeeded by Greg Baldwin in the third season.
Iroh was not originally meant to be Zuko's uncle. He was originally meant to be merely a Fire Bending mentor to Zuko.
The elemental bending movements are based on martial arts :
  • Earthbending : Hung Gar Kung Fu.
  • Firebending : Northern Shaolin Kung Fu.
  • Waterbending : Tai Chi.
  • Airbending : Ba Gua.
Only five of the characters throughout the series have their age explicitly mentioned: Aang is 112 (though only 12 biologically), Zuko and Yue are 16, Toph is 12, and Tom-Tom (Mai's brother) is 2. It is also mentioned that Mai is fifteen years older than her brother, which makes her 17. Besides Aang, at least two other characters are over 100 years old: Bumi (who knew Aang before he got frozen) and Guru Pathik (who knew Monk Gyatso). Certain pieces of information from various episodes also imply that Firelord Sozin, Avatar Kyoshi, and Avatar Kuruk had lived for over 100 years each.
The calligraphy on the top and bottom of the map form a rhyming couplet when read aloud in Chinese. The characters at the top read "Powers are divided into four," while those at the bottom read "The world is guided by one."
During the opening credits, the silhouetted figures demonstrating bending styles are future characters (first appearance) :
  • The Waterbender is Master Pakku of the northern water tribe (episode 18).
  • The Earthbender is Sud, Roku's earthbending teacher, he was also an early prototype scrapped character design for Toph (episode 46).
  • The Firebender is Princess Azula (episode 12).
  • The Airbender is Aang.
  • The Avatar demonstrating all four bending arts is Roku, the Avatar before Aang (episode 7, but also a statue in episode 3).
During the very early stages of development, the show was going to take place thousands of years into the future.
Almost all of the animals in the show are a combination of two animals. For example, Appa is half bison, half manatee and Momo is half bat, half lemur, except Bosco who is a full bear, and said to be weird that he is only a bear...
"Avatar" is derived from a Sanskrit word which literally means "those who descend."
Each episode, from the time the script began being written to the time it was finished and ready to air, took about nine months to make.
Katara's name was originally Kya in the unaired pilot episode, but was changed before the start of the series proper. However, Kya was used for the name of Katara's and Sokka's mother later in the series.
The character of Admiral Zhao was inspired by the character William Tavington from The Patriot (2000). Casting director Maryanne Dacey was asked to find someone like the character and managed to get Jason Isaacs, who portrayed Tavington in the film.
Counting the episodes where they do not have any lines, the most prominent characters of the show are Aang, Katara, and Sokka, who appear in every episode of the series except episode 27, "Zuko Alone" (although Aang's spiritless body can be seen during the "Previously, on Avatar..." introduction). The second place belongs to Momo, who appears in 56 episodes, followed by Appa with 54, Zuko with 48, Iroh with 39, and Toph with 36 episodes. The most frequent recurring character is Azula, who appears in 22 episodes.
None of the characters, except for Toph Bei Fong, have a last name. They are known from their respected Nations (i.e. Zuko of the Fire Nation; Katara of the Southern Water Tribe).
The name of the princess from the Northern Water Tribe (and Sokka's first girlfriend), Yue, can be (depending on the tones) the Chinese word for "moon." Suki, the name of Sokka's second girlfriend (more commonly anglicized as tsuki), also means moon, but only in Japanese.
Although it is never explained just how Sozin's comet gives Fire benders enhanced strength, within the theology of the show, it is possible (if not likely) that as the comet skims the atmosphere, it acts like a "second sun," giving them a temporary extra boost in power.
Dai Li, the name of the protectors of Ba Sing Se, has a meaning in Chinese, which is "to act on behalf of someone in a responsible position" or "to act as an agent or proxy."
All three seasons opened on a boat.
The fate of Zuko and Azula's mother, Ursa, is never revealed in the series. One of the last scenes in the entire series features Zuko visiting his father in prison, asking what happened to their mother. The creators originally intended to make a television movie special about this quest, making the near series ending scene have sense to it. However, the idea was scrapped in favor of The Legend of Korra (2012-2014). The story was instead revealed in "The Search" comic books.
The firebenders' duel, which plays an important role throughout the series, is called "Agni-kai." "Agni" is a Sanskrit word for "fire," and is a name of a Hindu fire deity. "Kai" can be translated from Japanese as "meeting" or "together." "Fiery meeting" is an adequate description of the Agni-kai.
The character of Toph Bei Fong was originally a male.
Even though Bei Fong is the only actual surname mentioned in the series, there are two fake surnames as well: Fire and Pippinpaddleopsicopolis (made up by Sokka and Aang, respectively).
"Lake Laogai," the headquarters of the Dai Li agents, has a meaning in Chinese; Laogai is short for Laodonggaizao, which means "reform through labor" and is the name of the Chinese political prison camps where many political opponents were incarcerated during the 1960s, and is still in existence.
Other than Air, Water, Earth and Fire, there are considered to be other elements that can be bent, such as Spirit, Ice, Plant, Combustion, Lava, Metal, Sound, Blood and Lightning (though technically, all of these are considered sub-skills of Air, Water, Earth and Fire).
The music for the credits is the same throughout all of the episodes except in the the series finale, "Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang," where they went for more heroic music.
Many have wondered if this series is considered to be anime. United States fans stated that since it is not animated in Japan, it is not an anime series. However, many fans from Japan say that anime is not based on nationality, but rather in animation style. Because of this, the Complete Series box-set has been reported to be found with other anime box-sets in video stores.
During the same year, Dante Basco and Mae Whitman were working on another animated series together, which was American Dragon: Jake Long (2005), where Basco provided the voice for Jake Long and Whitman provided the voice for Rose.
Aang's arrow tattoos symbolize that he is an Air Bending master.
The original voice of Aang was Mitchell Musso, playing him in the show's pilot. However, the final voice for Aang was Zach Tyler Eisen.
The scene at the very end of the Season 3 episode "The Ember Island Players" where the group see's a misleading play about their lives, saying it's bad, but "The Effects were Decent" foreshadowed the audience reception of the M. Night Shaymalan film based on the series "The Last Airbender" which was released 2 years after the end of the TV series.
Jeff Goldblum was rumored to have been cast as Zuko, but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.
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The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Aang's Airbending teacher, Monk Gyatso, is named after the current Dalai Lama, whose full name is Tenzin Gyatso. In the spin-off series, The Legend of Korra (2012-2014), Aang has a son named Tenzin.
The opening shot of every episode (the shot which contains the episode's number and title) is accompanied by a melody. The melody for any given episode is unique and never repeated exactly in any other opening shot. Often, this melody characterizes the episode's most significant event. For example, the melody in "The Painted Lady" is part of the Painted Lady's theme, and in "The Firebending Masters," it is a slow version of the Sun Warriors chanting. The melodies of the first and the last episodes of the series are the different versions of the Avatar theme.
In the first episode of each season, Aang is waking up. In episode 1 of season 1, he awakes from an iceberg; in episode 1 of season 2, he awakes from a nightmare, and in episode 1 of season 3, he is awaken from being knocked out by Azula in the previous season.

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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