Facts

Things you didn’t know about Avatar: The Last Airbender

A lot of people know this series by heart. So do I. When I was younger, this was the series I grew up with. When I sometimes feel too grown up, I go to the internet and find the episodes online. Though, I can now ask Netflix to help me out. Anyway, I used to love this show and still do. So, there are lots of facts out there about Aang and his friends, facts most don’t even know about! So, let’s take a look at them!

1. Relationship between Zuko and Katara

The writers wanted to create a relationship between Zuko and Katara. Sure, we were all already surprised by Zuko’s amazing change throughout the seasons. He was a banned Fire Nation prince and turned into one of the heroes, fighting alongside Aang to stop the Fire Lord. Though, where he ended up with Mai, they wanted him to end up with Katara. No one can deny the chemistry between the two of them, but it stayed that way. Katara fell in love with Aang.

2. Sokka’s character

Sokka was supposed to be a very serious character. Sure, he had no possibility to maintain any element, but he was an essential character to the series. Team Avatar would be nothing without his creativity and humour. We almost had to miss out on his humorous trait as the writers wanted him to be serious. Though the writers changed their mind and his voice actor Jack DeSena used his own personal humorous trait to let Sokka come to life. And come on, don’t tell me he’s not your favourite on this show.

3. Toph -> man

Toph Beifong was supposed to be man, but everyone knows her as the blind girl, master of the earth. She uses her limitation to good use, detecting the earth around her to its fullest. So, her original design was supposed to be very different. They wanted her to be a muscled man, looking somewhat like Dwayne Johnson. You know, The Rock. Anyway, they eventually used that idea for ‘The Boulder.’ Who turned out to be yet another earthbending character in the series.

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4. Lake Laogai

In the series, Appa (a sky bison) was captured by a group of sand benders. Eventually, they find them underneath the Lake Laogai. It’s the secret basis of the Dai Li, the state police of Ba Sing Se (capitol of the Earth kingdom). There were many horrifying things happening down there, including the brainwashing of rebellious citizens. The name of the lake is derived from the Chinese word Laogai, which means ‘reform through labour.’ The term was linked to the several prison camps ordered to be built by Mao Zedong. In the series, the opponents of the Communist regime were send to these camps. They had to work in awful labour conditions.

5. Monk Gyatso

Thought the series is called Avatar: The Last Airbender, we barely get any background information about the airbenders. One of the few air masters we see is Monk Gyatso. He’s Aang’s teacher and father figure. His character’s full name is Tenzin Gyatso, known as the Dalai Lama. Not an unlikely choice, since Monk Gyatso shows similarities with the spiritual leader. Gyatso is soft-hearted and has a sense of humour. On top of that, naming him Gyatso is also a clear reference to Tibetan Buddhism, on which the airbenders were inspired.

6. First scene

Each book starts with a comparable and familiar scene. Let me explain: The story is built with a clear structure, executed with great details. The clearest example is the start of each book. Each book starts with an overview of the highlights of the previous season. The flashback is shown with a shot of Avatar Aang waking up from his dream. This starts at the beginning of book 2 when Aang travels alongside the fleet of the Northern Water Tribe. In the third book, this happens again. Though, he’s on board of a Fire Nation ship this time.

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7. Azula -> marriage

Princess Azula in a romantic relationship; many fans can’t even begin to imagine that image. Though, the creators of Avatar were thinking about that detail. At the end of book 3, Azule was supposed to be married off with an influential young man from the Fire Nation. Sadly, the writers didn’t have enough space to elaborate that story, so it got erased. Which is kind of a relief for her fiance? I mean, who wants to marry a psychopathic Fire Nation princess?

8. The cabbage man

The biggest fans know this dude by heart. At the most random moments, this infamous ‘Cabbage man’ crosses paths with Team Avatar. He’s first seen in book 1 when his stall gets destroyed by a group overenthusiastic earthbenders. And that would be it, no more further appearances. Though, fans loved the joke and so he got three more performances in the series. His most famous saying: ‘My cabbages!’ has begun to lead a life of its own. People started to speculate about his background. In The Legend Of Korra, the sequel in 2012, it was revealed that the Cabbage Man had a successful business named ‘Cabbage Corp.’

9. Futuristic universe

The series has been praised worldwide because of its inspiring Eastern setting. The first brainstorm session back in 2001, showed nothing more than a sketch of a bald young man and a flying bison. The story was miles away from the series as we know it today. It’s even crazier when you think about the possibility for the writers to put Avatar in a futuristic universe. The characters looked very different in those plans. Aang was supposed to be travelling with a robot named Momo-3. And come on, that’s less cute than a winged lemur, right?

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10. Uncle Iroh

Uncle Iroh, choosing the path of the Fire Nation. That’s one of the most unlikely things to happen in the series. Iroh is one of the most beloved characters in the entire series. He’s wise, funny and has no comparisons with his brother whatsoever. His brother is, by the way, the evil Fire Lord Ozai. Anyway, Iroh was a true father figure to Zuko. So, no one can even think of the possible image that Iroh would betray his nephew. Though, the original script said that he was functioning as a double spy, betraying Zuko to the Fire Nation. Luckily, the writers erased the idea. I mean, we couldn’t survive without Iroh’s illuminating tea moments. Am I right?

Which fact surprises you?

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