The Last Airbender

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This article is about the live action The Last Airbender movie. You may be looking for the original animated series, Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Name: The Last Airbender
Creator: M. Night Shyamalan
Date(s): 2010
Medium: Film
Country of Origin: U.S.
External Links: Facebook
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The Last Airbender is the live-action movie adaptation of the successful animated TV show Avatar: The Last Airbender. The film received poor reviews from both critics and fans of the show.

Possible points of interest for this article:

  • Original reaction to the news of the movie.
  • Dismay regarding casting (whitewashing -> racebending).
  • Support for the casting.
  • Aang Ain't White and Racebending movements.
  • Anti-fans vs. Pro-movie fans: fandom tension.
  • Release of the movie and fan reactions. (roundup of links at unfunnybusiness)
  • Renewed interest in animated series because of discussion re: TLA. Many people inspired to check out the animated series for the first time.


About six months before The Last Airbender's release, James Cameron's Avatar was released, to avoid confusion, the title was changed to "The Last Airbender" dropping the word "Avatar" from the title.



A gif expressing fans' frustrations with the Last Airbender casting by contrasting it with the culturally diverse influences of the original show

In December 2008, the first pictures of the proposed cast of M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender movie began to circulate. To the shock of many fans, the four main characters were all slated to be played by white actors. [1] [2]

The fandom erupted as some fans raged over the whitewashing of Avatar's Asian and Inuit-influenced world, while others saw little problem with the casting of white actors [3] [4] Fans against the whitewashing of Avatar began to organize: Aang Ain't White began a letter writing campaign; the Racebending community was founded on Livejournal to discuss the upcoming movie and related race fail, as was

Professionals associated with the movie helped to build fan outrage with culturally insensitive remarks. The open audition for Aang called for "male actors 12-15 years old, Caucasian or any other ethnicity." [5] Casting director Deedee Rickets advised prospective extras to dress in traditional cultural ethnic attire: "If you're Korean, wear a kimono. If you're from Belgium, wear lederhosen." [6] In February 2009, Jesse McCartney, previously cast as Zuko, withdrew from The Last Airbender. He was replaced by Dev Patel, an Indian actor. [7] While a step in the right direction, fans of the series still weren't satisfied: the one actor of colour was to play the movie's villain; Patel is Indian, while the Fire Nation is based on Chinese culture; casting Patel was little more than tokenism aimed at quieting the controversy surrounding the movie. [8]

(More from glockgal)


Partially, for the reasons listed above, and partially because of a genuine dislike for the final product, the film is disliked in the fandom.[9] In fact, there is a surprisingly large portion of fans that stubbornly insist this movie does not exist.[10] [11]


  1. ^ First Look: The Cast of The Last Airbender. (Accessed May 20, 2009)
  2. ^ Casting for the Avatar movie. (Accessed May 20, 2009)
  3. ^ See, for example, the Avatar Racefail Bingo Card. Avatar Racefail Bingo and Discussion Roundup. (Accessed May 20, 2009)
  4. ^ Avatar: The Last Airbender. (Accessed May 20, 2009)
  5. ^ The Last Airbender - Open Casting? (Accessed May 20, 2009)
  6. ^ Lisa Zhu, A 'last' straw for ignorance. (Accessed May 20, 2009)
  7. ^ Shyamalan cast floats on 'Air' (Accessed May 20, 2009)
  8. ^ A first step in the right direction. . . but we have a long way to go! (Accessed May 20, 2009)
  9. ^ Just check "the last airbender movie" tag on tumblr
  10. ^ see: this tumblr post
  11. ^ and this reddit thread