Fans slam Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender’s change to major character

Ethan Dean
Avatar The Last Airbender Sokka Character Change

Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender will reportedly make a major change to the character of Sokka and fans of the franchise are not happy with the news.

Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series is nearly here and hype is building for the new series. A stellar trailer had fans of the beloved animated series getting emotional.

This adaptation of the Nickelodeon classic looks to write some of the wrongs of M. Night Shyamalan’s take on Avatar: The Last Airbender, of which we do not speak. The lead-up has been fairly exciting with a positive fan reception but a new development has those looking forward to the show a little less enthused.

In an interview with Variety, Kiawentiio who plays Katara and Ian Ousley who plays Sokka revealed that Ousley’s character has undergone a major change for the live-action series. In Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender, Sokka will be somewhat stripped of his misogyny.

“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,” Kiawentiio told Variety. “There are things that were redirected just because it might play a little differently [in live action],” Ousley elaborated.

Fans of the original Avatar: The Last Airbender animated series have not taken the news well. An overwhelming number of commenters on the Variety Tweet that broke the story feel that this change will deeply impact Sokka’s character arc.

“I could write a two-hour-long video essay on why Sokka’s sexism was important to his character arc,” one user said. “Growing and accepting the powerful women in his life was a major plot point for him.”

Prominent content creator Chris Ray Gun took to Twitter with his own take on how the change could hurt the series. “There’s literally a whole episode in the original show dedicated to Sokka getting put in his place by women warriors because of his sexism and it was great character development,” he explained.

Other criticisms of the change reference the roots of Sokka’s attitude in the Patriarchal culture of the Water Tribe and have fears for its impact on Katara’s character development.

Of course, Avatar: The Last Airbender won’t be released on Netflix until February 22, 2024, so there’s no real way to know how they will affect the series until then.