23 Of The Biggest Differences Between The OG "Avatar: The Last Airbender" And The New Netflix Series

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The new live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series recently started streaming on Netflix, and people have a lot of thoughts. While the casting is pretty spot on, there were certain storylines and elements that were changed in the adaptation that might have fans of the original animated series wondering what went on here.

So, here are just 23 differences and changes between the new live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series and the animated show:

🚨 There are obviously MASSIVE spoilers ahead! 🚨

1.First, the live-action series opens with viewers seeing the assault on the Southern Air Temple by the Fire Nation, thus leading to the extinction of the Air Nomads, besides Aang.

Stills from the live-action Avatar the Last Airbender, upper image depicting a panoramic night view of a lit-up castle village, lower image showing a battle scene

2.In the live-action series, the Air Nomads are at the Southern Air Temple because of a festival that brings them all together in celebration, and Sozin realizes it's the perfect time to strike. In the animated series, Fire Lord Sozin took advantage of a comet, which would later be called Sozin's Comet, to launch his attack on the Southern Air Temple.

Sozin attacking the Souther Air Temple, with Gyatso protecting young Air Nomads

The live-action series uses this conveniently timed gathering of the Air Nomads to just, you know, wipe all of them out at once.


3.Speaking of Sozin's Comet, which is extremely important in the animated series, the live-action series does not use this celestial event to put a ticking clock on Aang's need to master all four elements. While the comet does exist, it's not mentioned that it will come back around and Aang will need to be ready before then.

Animated characters Aang and Roku discussing Sozin's comet coming back at the end of the summer

4.While a big part of the first season of the animated series is Aang learning to master waterbending by working with Katara, and later making it to the Northern Water Tribe, in the live-action show, we never see Aang waterbend, and he doesn't master the element in the first season.

the animated character bending water

In the animated series, Season 1 is ALL about Aang mastering waterbending, hence the first season being titled, "Book One: Water." In the live-action series, Katara masters waterbending, but not Aang.


5.One of the biggest changes between the live-action series and the animated series is Jet and the Freedom Fighters, the Mechanist and Teo, King Bumi, AND the "Secret Tunnel" singers all happen in Omashu during a two-part episode.

split images off all the different characters

6.Due to this change, Jet and the Freedom Fighters use their blasting jelly inside Omashu, and the whole storyline is connected to the Mechanist and his work with the Fire Nation, too. In the animated series, Jet's plan is to destroy the village of Gaipan in order to rid it of Fire Nation soldiers.

the live action characters outside

Also, since Jet's introduction is happening at the same time that Aang meets with Bumi and Sokka hanging with the Mechanist, Katara is really the only one who has a prolonged storyline with Jet and the Freedom Fighters in the live-action series.


7.Also, in the live-action series, Katara and Sokka are the only ones who journey into the Cave of Two Lovers, because it takes place, again, at the same time that Aang is with King Bumi. In the animated series, all of them journey into the cave, with Sokka getting separated from Aang and Katara.

the two characters inside a cave, in awe

8.The live-action series made the decision to have the story of Oma and Shu, the two lovers of Omashu who created the underground so they could be together, be a queer love story between two women.

illustrations on the wall depicting the legend

9.In the live-action series, Zuko and Uncle Iroh also end up in Omashu, which doesn't happen in the animated series. In this version, Zuko fights Aang in the city, and Iroh helps his nephew escape by getting captured by Earth Kingdom soldiers.

closeup of zuko and uncle iroh

Iroh's capture by the earthbenders does happen in the animated series, too, just not in Omashu.


10.Azula appears in Season 1 of the live-action series, whereas she doesn't appear until Season 2 in the animated series. This allows us to explore more of what Azula was up to before her introduction in the OG series, namely the live-action series shows her as a spy for the Fire Lord.

closeup of her character in normal dress and then in warrior attire

This storyline for Azula also leads to her working closely with Commander Zhao, who is also on a mission to find the Avatar after encountering Aang with Zuko earlier in the season. Azula's introduction leads to us getting Mai and Ty Lee earlier in the live-action series than in the animated one, too.


11.Also with Azula's introduction in Season 1, the live-action series has her conquer Omashu in the season finale. While in the animated series the Fire Nation does overtake Omashu, it's never stated that Azula is the one who did it.

character standing in front a group of soldiers

In the season finale, we also see Azula fight Fire Lord Ozai, as she shows off her blue fire and ability to bend lightning.


12.While in the Spirit World in the live-action series, Aang gets to reunite with Gyatso, which doesn't happen in the animated series. This adds to the heavy emphasis the live-action show puts on Aang and Gyatso's relationship and how crucial Gyatso is to Aang's journey.

Two scenes from a TV show featuring animated characters Aang embracing Monk Gyatso, expressing a heartfelt moment

Gyatso is Aang's anchor, as shown in the first episode of the live-action series when he helps pull Aang back from the Avatar state. Later, Katara pleads with Aang and becomes his new anchor out of the Avatar state during the season finale.


13.In the live-action series, when Aang is first taken by Zuko and later escapes his ship, he steals Zuko's journal — which has a ton of information about past Avatars. In the animated series, a lot of this info Aang learns from visiting the Spirit World.

Character Aang from 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' studies an ancient book with illustrations and text

Terribly convenient that Zuko has an entire notebook with all the information Aang could possibly need, LOL.


14.In the Netflix series, the first past Avatar whom Aang connects with is Avatar Kyoshi, which is different than the OG series. In the animated series, the first past Avatar that Aang meets is Avatar Roku. In the live-action show, Kyoshi also tells Aang that he can communicate with the past Avatars whenever he's physically at their shrines.

in a dream like scene, the past avator is standing in front of aang in the woods

While meeting with Kyoshi, she's also able to show him how there is a prophecy where the Fire Nation will attack the Northern Water Tribe, which gives Aang in the live-action series the sense of urgency to get to the Northern Water Tribe.


15.While training with Suki and learning about the Kyoshi warriors in the live-action series, Sokka doesn't ultimately wear the full Kyoshi warrior makeup as he does in the animated series.

Two images: Top shows live-action characters, Kyoshi and Sokka. Bottom is animated Sokka, all dressed in traditional warrior outfits

In the Netflix series, the episode in Kyoshi and Sokka's training with Suki also highlights how Sokka is a different type of warrior and how maybe it was kind of unfair that Sokka's dad left him in charge of everything in the Southern Water Tribe.

Netflix / Nickelodeon

16.In the animated series, one of the big steps in Katara's waterbending journey is when she finds a waterbending scroll while encountering some pirates. In the Netflix series, Gran Gran gives Katara the scroll.

the live action character reading the scroll, and the animated character with the scroll in hand

In the live-action series, the scroll being given to Katara from Gran Gran is seen as a generational passing of the scroll, instead of Katara finding it, realizing it's a precious waterbending scroll, and ultimately stealing it from the pirates.

Netflix / Nickelodeon

17.The live-action series includes a flashback to Zuko comforting Uncle Iroh at his son's funeral, which is not shown in the animated series. This moment also features an instrumental version of "Leaves From the Vine," which is, of course, a wildly important song from the animated series.

closeup of uncle iroh sitting in mourning

18.The Netflix series shows us what happened during Zuko and Fire Lord Ozai's Agni Kai and what led to Zuko's banishment. While in the animated series, we get bits and pieces, the live-action series depicts everything that happened.

warriors fighting with fire

This also leads to a pretty good change when we learn that Zuko's crew on his ship is made up of the 41st Division, aka the group Ozai wanted to sacrifice which led to Zuko questioning his military plan and ultimately getting banished.


19.In the live-action series, both Katara and Sokka are trapped in the Spirit World as they are forced to confront trauma from their past. In the animated series, only Sokka is trapped by Hei Bai, whereas in this version, they are both trapped by Koh.

closeup of each character in a gloomy wooded area

This is when we learn about what happened with Katara and Sokka's mother, and how she died while protecting Katara after the Fire Nation was looking for the waterbender in their tribe.


20.In the live-action series, Aang is captured by June — while trying to find a way to save Sokka and Katara from Koh — on orders from Zuko and Uncle Iroh, before Commander Zhao ultimately takes Aang from them. This leads to the Blue Spirit, aka Zuko, rescuing Aang. In the animated series, Aang is captured by the Yuyan Archers at the request of Zhao while he's trying to get medicine for Katara and Sokka.

soldiers wearing full face covering helmets and then someone taking aang and holding him against their sword

This is another instance where multiple episodes from the animated series are folded into a two-part episode in the Netflix adaptation.


21.While Pakku is still a waterbending master in the Northern Water Tribe and originally refuses to teach Katara, the new show doesn't include Pakku recognizing Katara's necklace and everyone learning that Pakku and Gran Gran know each other and how he had carved the necklace for "the love of [his] life."

two characters standing in front of each other in the snowy outdoors

Also, the live-action show cuts out the storyline where Zuko steals Katara's necklace in Season 1. Yes, I get it. It's not a big storyline, but it's one that I enjoyed as someone who loves the Zuko and Katara arc, and it showed how important the necklace is to Katara.


22.In the live-action series, Momo getting injured during the battle at the Northern Water Tribe is what leads Princess Yue to bring Sokka to the Spirit Oasis due to the water's healing abilities. In the animated series, Yue brings Aang, Sokka, and Katara there so Aang can connect with the Spirit World.

the characters walking to the water and putting the character in it

Also in the animated series, Zuko grabs Aang's body while he's in the Spirit World, and Katara ultimately has to save Aang. In the live-action, Aang isn't in the Spirit World, so he's able to join Sokka and Princess Yue in the Spirit Oasis, while Katara holds off Zuko.


23.And finally, in the Netflix series, Commander Zhao uses his final words to tell Zuko that his father never thought he would return from banishment and he wants Azula to be the heir. Zhao ultimately dies after Iroh uses his firebending on him. In the animated series, Zhao is grabbed by the ocean spirit as Zuko tries to save him.

closeup of the two characters

What other differences and changes in the live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series did you notice? And what did you think of the series overall? Tell us in the comments below!