To say that things have been busy on both the animated and live-action sides of the "Avatar" universe would be an understatement. Only days after learning that Paramount+ & Nickelodeon are teaming up for three new animated films, the fine folks over at Avatar News dropped some exclusive casting news for Netflix & Albert Kim's (Sleepy Hollow, Nikita) reimagined live-action take on Avatar: The Last Airbender. For the role of Master Pakku, the streaming series has tapped Longmire & Ambulance actor A Martinez, with the Indigenous Apache and Blackfeet actor having recently wrapped filming. Martinex joins a cast that includes Gordon Cormier (Gabby Duran and the Unsittables), Kiawentiio (Beans), Ian Ousley (Physical), Dallas Liu (PEN15), Daniel Dae Kim (Hot Zone: Anthrax), Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (Kim's Convenience), Lim Kay Siu (Anna and The King), Ken Leung (Industry), Elizabeth Yu (All My Love), Yvonne Chapman (Kung Fu), Tamlyn Tomita (Cobra Kai), Casey Camp-Horinek (Reservation Dogs), and Maria Zhang (All I Ever Wanted).
With Kim serving as showrunner, executive producer, and writer of the series, Rideback's Dan Lin (The Lego Movie, Aladdin) and Lindsey Liberatore (Walker), as well as Michael Goi (Swamp Thing, American Horror Story), will also executive produce. Goi, Roseanne Liang,(who also co-executive produces), and Jabbar Raisani have been tapped to direct. Now here's a look at the Instagram post from Avatar News, followed by Martinez's response in the comments section about the news:
Just to say, when I first got offered this part, I didn't know who I'd be playing, and I was wondering why would have picked me out of all the guys they could have chosen. Then I saw the drawing of the man. All my life I've been told that I look too intense –– "Why won't you just lighten up for a change, dude?" First time EVER that my face landed me the gig. ALSO: Playing him, in sync with the actors playin g the leads, was literally magical. Never felt better about the vibes on a set, and I've been around for a long, long time.
Cormier's Aang is a fearless and fun-loving twelve-year-old who just happens to be the Avatar, master of all four elements & the keeper of balance and peace in the world. An airbending prodigy, Aang is a reluctant hero, struggling to deal with the burden of his duties while still holding on to his adventurous and playful nature. Kiawentiio's Katara is a determined and hopeful waterbender, the last in her small village. Though only fourteen, she's already endured great personal tragedy, which has held her back from rising to her true potential, though it's never dimmed her warm and caring spirit.
Ousley's Sokka is Katara's sardonic and resourceful 16-year-old brother. Outwardly confident, even brash, he takes his responsibility as the leader of his tribe seriously, despite his inner doubts over his warrior skills… doubts that he masks with his wit and deadpan sense of humor. Liu's Zuko is a skilled firebender and the intense and guarded Crown Prince of the Fire Nation. Currently roaming the world in exile, he's on an obsessive quest to capture the Avatar because he believes that is the only way to reclaim his life and live up to the demands of his cruel and controlling father, the Fire Lord.
Kim's Fire Lord Ozai is 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. Lee's Uncle Iroh is a retired Fire Nation general and the wise and nurturing mentor to his hot-headed nephew, Prince Zuko. Siu's Gyatso is a kind and caring Air Nomad monk who is the guardian, father figure, and best friend to Aang. Leung's Commander Zhao is a scheming and ambitious Fire Nation military officer who's eager to leverage an unexpected encounter with a desperate Prince Zuko to advance his personal goals.
Yu's Azula is the intensely driven princess of the Fire Nation. A firebending prodigy and relentless perfectionist, she'll stop at nothing to secure her position as the heir to the throne. Chapman's Avatar Kyoshi is a legendary warrior revered for her bravery, fearsome fighting skills, and uncompromising dedication to the cause of justice. Zhang's Suki is the intimidating leader of the Kyoshi Warriors, an elite female fighting force dedicated to protecting their community and upholding the ideals of their namesake, Avatar Kyoshi. Tomita's Yukari is Suki's mother and the fiercely protective mayor of her small village on Kyoshi Island. Camp-Horinek's Gran Gran is Katara and Sokka's grandmother and the compassionate and wise matriarch of the Southern Water Tribe.