Kataang vs Zutara

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Ship War
ShipWar: Kataang vs Zutara
Fandom: Avatar: The Last Airbender
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Kataang vs Zutara is a Ship War in the fandom of animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender, between shippers of two Katara pairings: Kataang (Katara/Aang) and Zutara (Katara/Zuko).

Kataang is generally considered to be the "winner" of the ship war, since it became canon in the series finale and their relationship was further explored in post-canon stories and The Legend of Korra. This has not stopped Zutara's popularity, though, or the fans who still wish or believe it should have been the canon pair.


This article or section needs expansion.

Zutara shippers developed into two camps: those who were simply passionate about their OTP and those who insisted it become canon. The "cave scene" in "Crossroads of Destiny" was an infamous moment in the shipping war.

During the third season, the increased Kataang shiptease (as well as the reveal of Mai as Zuko's love interest) led to outcry among more militant Zutara fans who ranted that the episodes were "bad" and "OOC" and looked for any sort of hints that would favor Zutara. The less they got, the more intense their anger and bashing became. This led Kataang shippers who felt pushed too far to start fighting back viciously.[1]

ATLA Finale

The finale saw Zuko getting back together with Mai and closed out with a romantic kiss between Aang and Katara, initiated by the latter. Zutara fans were livid. Some even tried to claim that everyone on the staff except Bryan and Mike shipped Zutara in order to validate their insistence that their ship should have won, though many of them failed to provide proper context or evidence.

Immediately after the initial run of the show, there were a number of rumors that appeared concerning the canonical validity of Zutara. One suggested that the show would be getting a fourth season, and that this mysterious fourth season would have Zuko and Katara getting together. Another rumor posited that head writer Aaron Ehasz was the one to write this fourth season, and that he had intended for Zutara to happen all along— the evidence for which was an informal interview that was spread by word-of-mouth through the fandom. Eventually, the theory that head writer Aaron Ehasz shipped Zutara was proven false, [2], and that the supposed interview had never happened.

I would first caution anyone that unfortunately there are some "fake interviews" with me out there that spread some false info

Aaron Ehasz, Reddit AMA [1]

However, there is also a lot of conflicting information. Ehasz confirmed that he was approached by Nickelodeon about his ideas for a fourth season and that he discussed this issue with co-creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino to the point where he thought it would end up being produced. He states such plans were eventually scrapped when the co-creators became occupied with assisting M. Night Shyamalan to produce 'The Last Airbender' live action movie.[3] The co-creators themselves, however, deny a fourth season was ever even discussed.[4]

Another point of contention is that the Avatar Extras state "Zuko was originally going to be the love interest for Katara" and "The writers and creators toyed with the idea of Zuko and Katara falling in love". While the co-creators deny that Zutara was ever considered, writers John O'Bryan and Joshua Hamilton have both stated in separate interviews that the writer's room fought over whether Katara should end up with Zuko or Aang.[5][6] Shyamalan has also stated that during the production of Book Three: Fire, the co-creators were still undecided, "At that time they hadn't even decided where things were going to end, even like who Katara was going to end up with."[7]


When The Legend of Korra was announced in 2010, it was revealed that Aang and Katara had stayed together and had three children, one of whom was revealed in the first trailer. This angered Zutara fans who had hoped the canon pair would break up somewhere along the line, freeing Katara for Zuko.


During 2020, “Avatar: The Last Airbender” was put on the streaming platform Netflix. This caused the fandom to experience what it has called the atla renaissance, a period where an influx of new fans flooded in, reinvigorating old ships and reigniting old tensions. Recently, Kataang shippers have begun to bring up Aang and Katara's mutual status as genocide survivors as an argument against Aang detractors who claim he "didn't suffer enough to deserve Katara"[8] and claim Zuko "understands Katara better".[9]


Results of the Conflict

A good number of Zutara shippers would go on to apologize for the behavior of their more rabid counterparts, who would continue to deny Kataang or try to make it look bad.[10][11][12][13]

In turn, some more extreme Kataang shippers began to accuse Zutara shippers of projecting onto Katara because they want to hook up with Zuko themselves[14], which others find uncomfortably close to hateful personal attacks. Some bitter anti-Zutara fans even went so far as to compare it to Reylo, a ship that's taken a lot of heat in fandom for being "abusive." [15]

In 2020, Netflix began airing the series, re-igniting the shipping war.

In 2021, it was announced that Katara in the upcoming live-action adaptation would be aged up to 16 with Aang still being 12,[16] causing Zutara fans to hope their ship would be canon. [17] This was eventually proven false. [citation needed]

Kataang shippers have become far more aggressive in their defense of their ship, due to Zutara fans who they believe to willfully misinterpret the characters and the show. [18] [19]