Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender series has found its Fire Lord Ozai in Daniel Dae Kim. It’s just been announced that the actor has taken on the role of a live-action incarnation of Ozai in the upcoming series in development at Netflix. Other cast members that Kim will be joining include Gordon Cormier as Aang, Kiawentiio as Katara, Ian Ousley as Sokka, and Dallas Liu as Zuko.
An official tweet from Netflix states, “Daniel Dae Kim has joined the cast of Avatar: The Last Airbender! He will play Fire Lord Ozai; Prince Zuko’s father, the ruthlessly-driven leader of the Fire Nation!”
Daniel Dae Kim has joined the cast of Avatar: The Last Airbender!
He will play Fire Lord Ozai; Prince Zuko’s father, the ruthlessly-driven leader of the Fire Nation! pic.twitter.com/R3mhadahjv
— Netflix (@netflix) November 3, 2021
Fire Lord Ozai was originally voiced by Mark Hamill in the animated series version of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Per Variety, the character is described as “the ruthlessly-driven leader of the Fire Nation who demands everyone live up to his impossible standards, especially his teen son, Prince Zuko. Ozai’s drive to conquer and unite the world under firebender rule is a family burden – he believes that it’s his destiny to finish a war started by his ancestors.”
Avatar: The Last Airbender was first given the live-action series order at Netflix back in 2018. The show will be written by Albert Kim, who also serves as series showrunner. Kim is also executive producing alongside Dan Lin and Lindsey Liberatore for Rideback and Michael Goi. Roseanne Liang will co-executive produce. Goi and Liang will also serve as directors along with Jabbar Raisani and Jet Wilkinson.
Daniel Dae Kim does have a connection to the franchise already, as he voiced General Fong in the Last Airbender animated series. He also voiced Hiroshi Sato in The Legend of Korra, a followup series, and had another voice role in Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon. Video game fans will also know him as Johnny Gat from the Saints Row video games. The actor is better known for his live-action roles, which includes starring in the shows Lost and Hawaii Five-0, as well as the movie Hellboy among many others.
Created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, Avatar: The Last Airbender originally ran for three seasons on Nickelodeon between 2005-2008. The animated series previously spawned a live-action movie that was released in theaters in 2010 by writer-director M. Night Shyamalan. The project was developed with the idea of making a trilogy, but it fell short at the box office with even worse reviews. It sits with a paltry 5% score on Rotten Tomatoes, and all plans to move forward with the trilogy were scrapped.
Netflix might be rolling the dice by taking another crack at Avatar: The Last Airbender, but let’s hope they’ve learned from the mistakes made by the movie. Originally, the animated series creators, DiMartino and Konietzko, were on board to executive produce the live-action series and serve as showrunners, but they’ve since parted ways with the project, for better or for worse. This was due to creative differences, which might be concerning for some fans moving forward, but putting Daniel Dae Kim in a prominent role is a step in the right direction. Netflix has not yet announced a release date for Avatar: The Last Airbender.
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