Since the announcement of the primary cast of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender this morning, there has been a lot of mixed reaction. Not only are people saying negative things about Mr. Shyamalan, but they’re also saying that the creators of Avatar wouldn’t have chosen these particular characters. They’re also commenting about the color of the characters’ skin as compared to the cartoon.
For those that missed it, here is the cast list:
Aang – Noah Ringer
Sokka – Jackson Rathbone
Katara – Nicola Peltz
Zuko – Jesse McCartney
For those keeping score at home, this is the only casting that has been done so far. It does not mean that they have finished casting the film (as one slightly ignorant young fan had thought), it just means that they are announcing the first cast members to be signed.
As for the world of Avatar, there are a few things that we must keep in mind.
First: the characters are not all Asian. I repeat. The characters in the world of Avatar are not all Asian. It is set in a fantasy world with fantastical creatures and locations. The people of that world can be as multicultural as the casting director and creative team want them to be. This makes for a much larger feeling world, and that’s not a bad thing!
M. Night Shyamalan isn’t doing the casting alone. There’s a whole team of casting professionals, and there are things that they can see in actors that we tend to miss in our own limited views of the actors.
Let’s give the actors chosen a chance. I wish them well in bringing our favorite characters to life in this upcoming trilogy, and look forward to seeing the first pictures of them in costume that will inevitably hit the web by next July!