It’s been 15 years since “Avatar: The Last Airbender” premiered on Nickelodeon in 2005 and became a massive commercial success. Now that the animated series is available on Netflix (and the streamer’s most popular show this week), fans old and new can experience the story of 12-year-old Aang, Avatar and sole survivor of Air Nomads as he and his friends work to restore harmony between nations water, fire, earth and air.
But the popular series that fans know and love today did not turn out to be what the creators originally imagined. It’s hard to imagine the show without Zuko, the legitimate Fire Nation Prince fan who hated to love, or “batsman” who became a recurring fan favorite, but both characters were almost erased in the writer̵
Here are eight surprising facts about the beloved series:
“My cabbages!” Is a line that is too familiar to viewers of the show. Originally thought of as comic relief, “The Coalman” wouldn’t last long, but the writers kept him as a running gag throughout the series.
Prince Zuko Enter
Prince Zuko was originally just an extension of Fire Lord’s persona, and never really intended to be a protagonist. In order to give a little more lure and story to Fire Lord’s legitimate mission, they had to write in a character that would strengthen the cat and the mouse chase around the kingdom which eventually gave birth to a mature and relatable role of characters. It also gave us someone we honestly hated, but won our hearts by revealing a complex person behind a disgusting facade.
Toph was originally supposed to be a guy
In order to serve Toph’s tough and robust exterior, the show producers suggested that she get a more correlated physique. She, the most powerful earthbucker, was originally supposed to be a “he” who was as strong physically as they were in appearance. Thriller.
Zuko and Katara were almost one thing
The relationship between these two would blossom into a complete romance. The show’s writers tossed around the idea that Zuko and Katara ended up together. Unfortunately, their romance wasn’t meant to be.
Socks Boomerang’s personality
Where would this series be without Socka’s silly humor to cut off the animosity? Originally thought to be yet another dry and sober serious character, the character’s voice actor Jack DeSena decided to add his own feel to the character’s personality. It ended with being quite successful and ended up perfectly wrapping up the character in the show’s biting yet moving nature.
Azula was supposed to have an arranged marriage
Yup, Azula, the tip of being the most heinous of the Fire Nation’s army, would marry. According to the program’s creator, Azula was actually supposed to have an arranged marriage under book three. Thankfully, the idea was later scrapped.
Co-creator Michael DiMartino left “Family Guy” to work on “The Last Airbender”
One of the co-creators of “The Last Airbender”, Michael DiMartino, actually worked on “Family Guys” for several years, directing and writing a number of episodes, but left the Fox comedy show in 2002 to work on his passion project, “The Last Airbender.”
Uncle Iroh, by the way, almost Zuko
There’s not a nicer character in the series than Uncle Iroh, so it’s hard to imagine that the series finale ended with him punching his favorite nephew, Prince Zuko, in the back. In Iroh’s original role in the series, Uncle was destined to betray Zuko, acting as a double agent who would have been a major intrigueist in the animated series. Thankfully, the authors ended the series with the happy ending that Uncle Iroh deserved.