Last Airbender Producer Frank Marshall Comments on Cast Diversity

Frank Marshall

In a couple of recent twitter updates, producer Frank Marshall has commented on the state of the cast of The Last Airbender:

Our vision for the movie is of ONE world, made up of four Nations, influenced and inspired by the Asian undertones of the series.

This world will have an ethnically diverse cast that represents many different heritages and cultures from all corners of the globe.

And in response to a comment about the way that fans of the show are reacting, (gosh, these complainers are beginning to sound a bit maniacal…I’m sorry for you) he comments:

It’s ok, doesn’t bother me. The movie is actually more diverse than the TV show.

Bravo, Frank Marshall!  Bravo indeed!
-via Twitter

P.S. I am not reporting any longer on the ethics of the film cast.  I am not racist, nor have I ever been.  I was accused of being one by a “fan” of the show, and it has created nothing but apathy toward the whole Aang Aint White project.  Sorry, but one of your own has ruined any sort of positive response from me.  I merely posted to Frank Marshall that I was a big fan of his work and had been since childhood (look at his body of work and you’ll see why), and the individual responded with such hatred, anger and hostility, that I felt attacked by a child without fear of consequence because this person is safe behind a monitor.


  1. I know exactly what you mean. I've been watching the twitters to and from @ledoctor � � and they've just been depressing me lately.

    I wrote my own column about ledoctor's remarks � � in which I expressed my regret that the movie is hiding behind the PeeCeeism of “ethnic diversity” as an excuse for de-Asianifying Avatar, but that I couldn't get worked up enough about it to protest. And boy, some of the comments I got in response…

    Bleah. I suppose I should learn to keep my big mouth shut, but I just can't resist jumping in whenever everyone seems to deify the original animated series as the archetypal exemplar of all things Asian while conveniently forgetting that the majority of voices came from white actors and actresses. 😛

  2. I know… I don't care for the fans that are so relentless that they continually repeat the same arguments to the point of numbness toward it all. I feel very slighted by those fans that talk the same points to death. It's really not a very good example of fans of Avatar, and before I said that I was edging on being embarrassed to be a part of the fandom of the show. Now I am embarrassed to be a part of the fandom.

  3. Fortunately, most of the fans over on the Avatar Spirit forums are more sensible about things.

  4. Frank Marshall is an idiot. Completely changing the races of the cast and calling it “diversity” is a farce and an insult. That said, I'm sorry people called you a racist, but please don't let that sour you on the protest overall. Most of us are decent people who are upset about a serious issue, and we don't want to go around insulting people without reason.

  5. If you compare the Avatar tv series to all the animated tv series out right now,
    Avatar: The Last Airbender IS “diverse”.
    Which was a refreshing departure from the predominantly white media.
    Which is why Avatar was such a success with a “maniacal” fan following.

    When you compare The Last Airbender film to every other film out there.
    Its all the same.
    Just like Dragonball:Evolution, Akira, Cowboy Bebop,
    and all the other live action adaptations.
    Hollywood is just following the same formula.
    Caucausian Protaganist + Exotic Mythology/Fantasy = $$$

    Let's just say a miracle happens…
    The Last Airbender makes $$$ at the box offices, greenlights a sequel,
    and they cast Toph Bei Fong as an Asian-American (HA!).
    Even by the end of the trilogy, only 2 of the 5 protaganists are “diverse”.

    If that's your definition of “diversity”
    then that just gives me more reason to boycott The Last Airbender.

  6. There isn't enough diversity in the animal kingdom of the Avatar universe!

    We demand that you change the red and blue dragon, Ran and Shao to look more like European dragons, not those chinky jap dragons they have in the cartoon.

    Yay! for MNight going against Mike and Bryan's creation and changing the race of the Water Tribe to white!
    Take that! people of Inuit descent!
    Inuit heroes! HA! As if!

    And robotech_master, You damn right those voice actors were white!
    I am still angry that they are still considering using cgi for Appa and Momo. They need to cast Dee Bradley Baker to fill the role. I am sure he would love to have the Aang gang ride on his back. YIP YIP DEE BRADLET BAKER!

  7. As one of the mods from the racebending site I wanted to let you know that the guy on Twitter is one crazy person with multiple handles trying to troll Frank Marshall. He is not one of us and does not speak for us. He never has. We have tried to get him to stop but I think he might be mentally ill.

    Please do not let his actions cloud our ability to have a constructive dialogue about the casting of this film. The issues we've brought up are important.

  8. I loved this show and I love M. Night as a director. I have all his movies and was a fierce defender of him when people were critical of his movies (lady in the water, the happening etc) so the two together had me really excited. However I was very disappointed to hear about the casting choices. I know alot of people don't think it's a big deal and since the actors are talented that it shouldn't matter. The thing is, in 90+% of movies the leads are white. Unless they are specifically designated as something else. Sure Hollywood will throw in a token black or asian actor for the sake of “diversity”. Try this, name ten hollywood movies with an asian american protagonist where the film wasn't about asian culture. that's why people are upset. First Goku now Aang are white kids. As an adult ok whatever but what about the kids that watch this show? I'm not saying anyone is racist I'm just sad that Hollywood hasn't progressed much further than the fifties where Yule Brenner was the King of Siam. (at least he was Russian that's at least on the right continent)

  9. Yul Bynner was half Mongolian and Half Russian White. He has played several parts including a Cossack and the Pharaoh Ramses. Right or wrong, he was good in those roles.

    As for the white voice actors in Avatar?

    How about Simpsons?
    Bart is voiced by a white american woman.
    Apu is voiced by a white american male.
    What will the casting be like for a liveaction film? Will this mean that Apu will be played by a White American Male with an Indian accent?

    Might get some people into trouble.

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