When “Avatar: The Last Airbender” makes its live-action debut on Netflix next month, Sokka’s sexism will be toned down considerably. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, cast members Kiawentiio (Katara) and Ian Ousley (Sokka) informed fans that Sokka’s sexism was discussed during the live-action show’s development and was deliberately cut away at, as it had no place in the new remake.
“There’s more weight with realism in every way,” Ousley said, which prompted Kiawentiio to reveal: “I feel like we also took out the element of how sexist [Sokka] was. I feel like there were a lot of moments in the original show that were iffy.”
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“Yeah, totally,” Ousley agreed. “There are things that were redirected just because it might play a little differently [in live action].”
As Entertainment Weekly notes: “There are entire Reddit threads about [Sokka’s sexism], discussing how the original Sokka (prior to his character journey) would make remarks like ‘Girls are better at fixing pants than guys, and guys are better at hunting and fighting.'”
Sokka’s sexism won’t be the only difference “Avatar” fans see in Netflix’s “The Last Airbender.” Showrunner Albert Kim previously said the show does not begin the same way the animated series does. The live-action series will also show the genocide of the Airbender people and the rise of the Fire Nation, which was only alluded to in the animated series.
“That was a conscious decision to show people this is not the animated series,” Kim said. “We had to sometimes unravel storylines and remix them in a new way to make sense for a serialized drama. So I’m very curious to see what’ll happen in terms of reaction to that.”
“Avatar: The Last Airbender” creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino spent two years developing the live-action adaptation for Netflix before they shocked fans by announcing their exit due to creative differences, which left Kim as the sole showrunner. He recently told Entertainment Weekly that it was “absolutely” daunting to stick with the show without them.
“You’d have to be an idiot not to be intimidated a little bit,” Kim said. “My first reaction after ‘Hell yeah!’ was ‘Holy shit! Do I really want to do this? Is there a way to improve upon the original?’ Whenever you tackle something that’s already beloved by millions of fans, you have to ask yourself those questions.”
“Avatar: The Last Airbender” streams Feb. 22 on Netflix.
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