The series’ showrunner Albert Kim, stated back in August 2021, that he’ll make sure Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender Live-action TV Series will be “authentic” to the source material and wishes to NOT change things just for the sake of it.
However, that seems to not be the case, as fans were informed by cast members Kiawentiio (Katara) and Ian Ousley (Sokka) that Sokka’s sexism was deliberated and removed during the development of the live-action program because it did not belong in the new adaptation.
Kiawentiio: “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.”
Ousley: “There are things that were redirected just because it might play a little differently [in live action]”
This sparked major controversy amongst the fandom, as they feel that by doing this, Netflix is completely ignoring Sokka’s character growth, which is in fact one of the signs of good storytelling!
Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender live action removing Sokka’s sexism is bad writing. People are NOT always perfectly woke. Sokka is a product of the water tribe, they have sexist ideals too, and watching him grow from it after seeing the world IS necessary to his arc https://t.co/5cEgd0seR9 pic.twitter.com/qdqtzlCsXv
— Growing Up With Disney (@GrowWithDisney) January 30, 2024
— Eighter (@80Eighter) January 30, 2024
— Mando D. Luffy 🏴☠️🔛Post-con depression (@Bsmith517) January 30, 2024
Sokka being a little sexist was part of his character growth to no longer be sexist. It’s called Character Development, Netflix is afraid to do.
— ✨❄️Frost the Hobidon❄️✨ (@FrostTezuka7) January 30, 2024
Fans wasted no time in pointing out that this has started to become a trend in Hollywood and film industries, where characters aren’t allowed to have these flaws but are created in such a way that they appear “woke-friendly.”
This is part of a worrying trend in fiction where viewers/readers conflate flawed characters with their creators, and assume depicting something is to promote it. You can’t have a character arc without flaws and you can’t critique society without depicting flawed characters https://t.co/YT02bncBUf
— Moniza Hossain (@moniza_hossain) January 30, 2024
This is after knowing the fact that the original creators, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko have openly stated in a letter dated August 12, 2020 that they have left the live-action production team because, according to them, Netflix did not respect their vision for this retelling.
“Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Avatar has the potential to be good. It might turn out to be a show many of you end up enjoying. But what I can be certain about is that whatever version ends up on-screen, it will not be what Bryan and I (DiMartino) had envisioned or intended to make.”
Netflix describes the official synopsis of Avatar: The Last Airbender as follows:
“Water. Earth. Fire. Air. The four nations once lived in harmony, with the Avatar, master of all four elements, keeping peace between them. But everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked and wiped out the Air Nomads, the first step taken by the firebenders towards conquering the world. With the current incarnation of the Avatar yet to emerge, the world has lost hope.
But like a light in the darkness, hope springs forth when Aang, a young Air Nomad — and the last of his kind — reawakens to take his rightful place as the next Avatar. Alongside his newfound friends Sokka and Katara, siblings and members of the Southern Water Tribe, Aang embarks on a fantastical, action-packed quest to save the world and fight back against the fearsome onslaught of Fire Lord Ozai.
But with a driven Crown Prince Zuko determined to capture them, it won’t be an easy task. They’ll need the help of the many allies and colorful characters they meet along the way.”