Dev Patel is Zuko in The Last Airbender

Dev Patel as Zuko in The Last Airbender“Slumdog Millionaire” star Dev Patel has joined the cast of M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Last Airbender,” the Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Films live-actioner based on a Nick TV series.

Dev Patel will is set to play Zuko, a member of the Fire Nation. Jessica Jade Andres has been cast as the Earth Kingdom’s representative, Suki.

Jesse McCartney was knocked out of the role of Zuko by scheduling, much to the relief of Avatar fans everywhere.  Jackson Rathbone, who is playing Sokka,  managed to work around a conflict with “New Moon,” the sequel to Twilight.

Patel joins newcomer Noah Ringer (Aang), Nicola Peltz (Katara), Jackson Rathbone and Jessica Jade Andres. Production begins in mid-March in Greenland.

Dev Patel - Black BeltIn casting Patel and Ringer, a director accustomed to delivering plot twists to audiences got some surprises of his own. Ringer is a complete unknown who was tapped for the title role off an Internet audition. Patel, meanwhile, steps into a role that Jesse McCartney had all but locked up until the actor’s second career as a musician got in the way.

“Jesse had tour dates that conflicted with a boot camp I always hold on my films, and where the actors here have to train for martial arts,” Shyamalan said.

Patel was “already one of the guys I was interested in. Then I saw ‘Slumdog Millionaire,’ and the kid just grew in my eyes,” he said.

Tyro thesp Ringer will play Aang, the film’s lead, who is the last of a race of people who can manipulate the elements of air.

Ringer, a 12-year-old from Texas, landed the part after demonstrating his martial arts skills in an Internet vid that he posted to a website Shyamalan set up for open virtual auditions.

-via Variety

More Information
Listen to Patel talk to NPR about Slumdog Millionaire
-Updated The Last Airbender Cast List
-Our sister site Last Airbender Fans

Also of note: Patel is a Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do!


  1. I have to agree with Mark, rasism or prejudise whatever you want to call it. It is not right to ball every one up into the same group, we all are from different groups.

  2. I agree Melissa we are all “people” but we come from different walks and differnt ethnic groups. Which is great and the world would be boring if we were not but to put labels and say well all brown people are brown and all yellow people are yellow is wrong.

  3. Haha I like how Dev and Jesse have similar hair in that article, like they want us to compare who looks more like Zuko (circa book 2 I guess).

    To Mark, I get the impression that I'm offending you and I really have no clue why. But I agree with your comment about Jessica Jade Andres as Suki. She seems perfect. I wonder how the makeup situation will work.

  4. Momo, you have not offended me. We are just having a lively discussion. I feel you have a lot of good thoughts on the Avatar and up coming movie.

  5. While I like Dev Patel (based on the one role I've seen him in), this hardly changes things. M. Night claims he's had his eye on Patel for a long time… but doesn't this sound suspiciously like an afterthought? They first filled all these principal roles with pretty white folks, then suddenly got wind that maybe fans weren't so happy about that. So they get the South Asian dude to play the villain!

  6. Melissa: You think that is fishy, well they edited the original article on EW's site. Now the McCartney story coincides with the Variety website. Luckily I took a screenshot of the original article.

  7. Rizzol, I noticed that they did that, what is going on? Like you even said about the Noah casting..I dont even know what to believe any more

  8. :wassat: I'm a little upset about Dev being Zuko. I just can't see. I really hope M. Night knows what he's doing. Personally, if it was me, I'd cast Justin Chatwin. He's not that well-known but oh-so good looking! 😉

  9. Emily, i can see how he would be a good choice too, however i think that Dav has proven that he can act and according to the reporst he has the moves too, I just hope he can capture Zuko's Intensity and emotion.

  10. NOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!! Recast on Zuko!!!!!!!!!!! Zuko character should be played by a hot mouthwatering delicious (Japanese/American)Actor who is strong & physically powerful. M. Night Shyamalan should really handle this delemma asap cuase as a true avatar fan I’m extremely aggravated. Zuko is one of my Favorite characters and is a huge element in this movie. I’m really starting to get worried about the whole production of this movie. RRRRRReeeeccast Zuko!!!!!!!

  11. I'm sorry but I saw Patel and I saw Rathbone and I think that, if anything, they should switch roles! Being tanner and having those great ears makes him, visually, a better Sokka! And I've seen some of Rathbone's work and he could totally play the damaged prince! Plus his lighter skin-tone and gorgeous features makes him, visually, more appealing as Zuko! If the cast must stay as is then I believe they should–at the very least–shuffle some roles!

  12. I would be such a better zuko then Dev. First, I'm asian, I'm a wrestler, I love kung fu, I go to College in Philadelphia. And I make a fight look good, Dev just doesn't look like Zuko. You should see me when I'm angry.
    [No valid img specified]htt

    [No valid img specified]htt

    [No valid img specified][/IMG]

  13. Hello All! Whilst all the bickering is going on i just wanted to say this: Avatar is a great series and i think the movie has a good chance of success as long as we, the fans stick together! To bollocks as to who is who and what is what and who will play this part well. (By the way I am for Dante Basco for Zuko) but that is besides the point. For any hope of success we must back our heros no matter what! Its the characters we love not the bloody actors so what do you say?

Leave a Reply to jade123 Cancel reply