Shyamalan Names The Last Airbender 2 Villain

While the fate of M. Night Shyamalan’s proposed trilogy is comtemplated at Paramount Pictures, writer/director M. Night Shyamalan is making sure he’s ready to move forward on the first sequel if given a green light.

In speaking with MTV, Shyamalan offers up some hints about who the main villain in The Last Airbender 2 would be and what tone he hopes to strike. “The third is more ambiguous, but the second one, I’ve written a draft that I’m really happy with and is darker and richer,” he said. “And it has a wonderful antagonist in it in Azula, who’s kind of like our only real, pure antagonist in the series, so I’m excited about that.”

Azula, played by Summer Bishil, had a brief role in The Last Airbender and figures to be much more prominent in the proposed sequel. In the television series, Azula is a destructive Firebending prodigy who becomes obsessed with capturing the Avatar.

Currently The Last Airbender has a domestic box office gross of just under half of its estimated $150 million production budget. It will need to perform strong overseas and on Blu-ray Disc/DVD for Paramount to feel comfortable in ponying up the big bucks for a sequel.



  1. Uhh…spoiler warning guys? I’m still at the beginning of Book 3. What’s with publishing the fate of a major character?

  2. I really hope M. Night has nothing to do with the sequel . . .

    These movies are just not for him to make.

    • You’re nuts, buddy.. If M. Knight isn’t the director for the sequels, I promise you they will be horrible. He did an UNBELIEVABLY AWESOME job with the last airbender, and I’d be devastated if he wasn’t helming all 3. No one else could have done it better. He captured the drama of the first season’s most important parts. Sure, a lot got left out, but anyone who was expecting a carbon copy of the cartoon is being idiotic, because it would never be possible, no matter who directed. Try watching it again, because I promise you, once the initial shock of what was cut out is gone, you can absorb and appreciate the movie for how amazing it is much more easily. This is why non-fans of the show love it and fans had such a hard time enjoying it the way a newcomer would. I am a fan of the cartoon, but I’m also sophisticated and intelligent enough to realize that a movie is a much different presentation than a cartoon. Now I can look forward to a new twist on an old story I already know. M. Knight is a genius director, and people hate him for it… but not me. I can’t wait to see it on blu-ray! :o)

      • “Try watching it again”???? How many times do I need to watch it? I’m sure some feel cheated by what was cut out, casting, pronounciations (agni-key? really did that need to be changed?), or other changes to the source material. But not all feel that way.

        I’ve seen enough movies made from beloved characters to know that what you see in comics or TV doesn’t always translate. I just want to be entertained. Go back and watch the movie. Yes I said it. Try and follow the plot line from iceberg to Northern Water tribe. There’s a lot of dialogue describing events. M Night obviously felt it was a good way to bridge the source materials storylines and get all newcomers up to date. But it does little else. Love it or hate it. Who cares. I sleep well regardless of whether people love or hate the movie.

      • Well said.. a truely great piece of art grabs the viewer or reader’s soul. Lots of people are dead inside, such as most critics of the original star wars that was called one of the most terrible films to come out when it did back in the late 70’s.

        Now, of course starwars is claimed to be exceptional! Go figure.. and it is cause it tugs at the original stories of mankind.. good vs evil… tolerance vs dictatorial wanna-be god-ness. These are the origins of man’s stories that have shaped mankind’s moral and ethical fiber through out the ages. Also, it is very very difficult to translate something from animation to live-action. M.Night did a very good job bringing the essence of the cartoon made for Nickelodeon to the “big screen”. Anyone who disagrees with me should try out to be a “fire Nation” character in the next movie!!! LOL

  3. At any point before the movie came out you could have mentioned Azula was cast: Not necessarily when she would be seen, just any kind of heads up so I could prepare my daughter for the disappointing news that the role she wanted with her whole heart was no longer available.

    • The simple fact is that we didn’t know. It was not announced until the movie was releasing.

  4. Wait a minute…”I’ve written a draft”…Did M Night just ruin my weekend? M? Can I call you that? Just between you and I, I’d like to say that I will forgive your underwhelming attempt at a script in the first movie if you will just put the pen down. Back away from the desk. Go watch Book 2.

    Well I’ve done my part.

    • He’s actually written it completely. He hated his first draft and has re-written it a number of times.

      He is a big fan of the show and has watched the entire series.

  5. Just saw the movie with my family despite all the bad reviews. We loved it! Admittedly, I’m a HUGE M. Night fan, I own all his DVDs and see his movies usually a couple of times in the theaters. Having zero knowledge of The Last Airbender as a cartoon, I thought it was beautifully acted, had impressive FX and a plot I could follow without any problem.

    I believe if people did not know the name of the director, this movie would be getting great reviews (imagine if it were Bruckheimer–*shiver*). M. Night is a superlative filmmaker, but he’s different. I think number one, people are angry that he ‘got them’ on The Sixth Sense, and number two, they’re angry because he hasn’t made another movie like that. The vitriol against this man is bizarre. Maybe he has a huge ego and is a jerk (who in Hollywood doesn’t?), I don’t care, as long as he keeps making thoughtful, thought-provoking, and well-crafted films.

    • I agree that critics and viewers are only attacking the film because it was done by M. Night Shyamalan. He isn’t such a bad directer. He has made movie hits and blunders just the same as every single directer and writer that ever made a movie. I feel that if anyone else had done the movie it would have seriously been destroyed. It would have been so child like that even children would have hated it.

      15 minutes before I walked into the theater to see air bender I ran into some friends who stated that I would be disappointed in the movie, they where absolutely wrong. The only reason why my friend said this was because the movie didn’t exactly match the TV series. People like that don’t understand that a movie will never be the same as the cartoon series. Just as a movie can never be exactly the same as a book.

  6. as long as m.night takes the important episodes in book 2 (like the episode with the drill and the blacksun episodethen the sequel will be a fantastic masterpiece.i enjoyed the this movie

  7. My son & I are huge fans of the tv series and the Avatar books. I was delighted to see how good the adaption to film was! Effects and story line were awesome! My son & I just sat starring at the screen transfixed when it was over. We can not wait to see what M. Night Shyamalan does with 2 & 3. There MUST be parts 2 & 3 to this!!!!!! It wasn’t his original story (M. Night Shyamalan) he just retold it beautifully. Critics just weren’t fans to begin with or they would have “gotten” it!

  8. I’m a huge fan of the show and the movie is a big disappointment. I din’t see how the second or the third could be better. Still even if don’t see it in theater, I hope for Toph bei fong to be just as epic as she is in the serie and this time I hope they cast a young chinese girl.

  9. I love M. Night Shyamalan, but even I can admit when he makes a bad movie. And The Last Airbender is a bad movie. If a second one is made I can only hope that Night will put all his effort into fixing the problems that the first one had.

    And “Shyamalan Names The Last Airbender 2 Villain”? Who else would it be? Of course Azula is one of the main antagonists (I refuse to call her a villain).

    Agni-key? Why would the pronunciation of Agni Kai be changed? I thought he changed them to the “Asian” pronunciations? Where is kai pronounced key? Not Japan. I don’t know about Chinese.

  10. What I don’t like about the movie:

    Personally, I was pretty disappointed with the writing quality and length of the movie. I don’t care if M. Night directed it, but I think that he should have let someone else (preferably Mike and Bryan) write it, and given more total runtime to the movie for more in-depth character development. I felt the whole thing was kinda rushed. For instance, I would explain the story behind Zuko’s scar better, I would have taken more time to tell it. (Since when does Ozai care about Zuko? He seemed pretty concerned about him in the movie durng his conversations with Zhao.)

    The writing also dumbed down the plot too much. I started watching the series when I was ten, and I understood everything perfectly. It is an insult to the younger fans’ intelligence to dumb down the plot that much. Yes, it’s a dramatically shorter runtime compared to Book 1, but it could still be explained better.

    Bending: done the M. Night way, it’s very inefficient. If I lived in the movie’s universe, I would rather be a hand to hand fighter, and I’m a huge bending fan.

    Why would Aang freeze people (battle in the courtyard) if he’s “not supposed to hurt people” as the Avatar? Please explain, O mighty Dragon Spirit! (seriously, no Roku as Aang’s spirit guide?)

    The pronunciations got me, too. It was a major disconnect for me to hear the characters I’ve grown to love over the years’ names be butchered.

    It’s also pretty hard for me to believe that the fire nation could keep everyone terrorized with their need for a source fire to bend from.

    But my biggest problem was with Katara. No fight with Pakku?! No healing powers? I know that I shouldn’t expect everything from the show, but the healing is a pretty important part. Also, what was with the voiceovers? Even if the nature of the first book is very episodic, isn’t the first rule of storytelling show, not tell?

    What I liked:

    The effects, but that’s really it.

    What I hope for the sequel:

    As for Azula, I hope her actress can do her justice. She and Toph are my favorite characters; I hope the sequel (if there is one) can improve on the story, but that can’t happen if these characters don’t perform well in dialogue, emotion, and bending.

    Despite my qualms about the first movie, I still hope for a killer sequel. There’s just so much badass stuff in the second one, I want to see that done out. M. Night did say that it would be darker, which is what I like about book 2, but until I know how darker it’s going to be, I’ll be wary.

    I don’t want a carbon copy of the series, but the movie, in my (biased) opinion, went too far in changing stuff (names, bending, etc.) for it to feel similar, but different, which was the feeling I was going for when I went to see it. I just couldn’t feel very connected to the movie. Still, I hope for improvement.

  11. Okay, so I’m not a purist. I started with the movie and am now watching through the series (finishing Book 2, starting Book 3). But I thought that the movie was awesome and still do.

    I can understand the change in pronunciation since I’m a language geek and it has actually bothered me through the entire series that the names are pronounced in an American style when everything else has a Chinese style. Also, in regards to Agni Kai. That is a combination of Sanskrit and Japanese words which mean “Fire” and “Meeting”. The change in the movie was to call it an “Agni Ki Duel(a)” which is all Hindi and means “Duel of Fire”. Which is more appropriate in my opinion since I’m not a fan of mashing languages (don’t get me started on the misuses of “ueber”) and in the movie, the Fire Nation has a distinct Indian flavor to it. The pronunciation was not changed, the original language was! Both versions are deviations from the usual Chinese but that’s really not a big deal. I prefer the movie changes!

    I thought the limitation placed on the Fire Nation was reasonable, too. It always struck me as odd once I started watching the cartoon that Earth Benders can’t create rocks, Air Benders can’t create air and Water Benders, or Katara at least, can’t create water…they have to carry it with them. So why, oh why, are Fire Benders so unbalanced and powerful? How can they create their element when no other Bender can?

    One of the most ridiculous complaints I heard was that the cast wasn’t all Japanese. Of course not! The cartoon is American and the paradigm Chinese with a dash of Buddhism and Hinduism for flavor. How did people get the idea that this was going to be an exclusively Japanese cast? Am I missing something? I rather liked that each nation was represented by a different nationality. It better emphasized the different nations without making them all wear the same color like in the cartoon.

    I also liked Sokka’s character better in the movie mostly because it was keeping with the realistic, more serious spin that was being put on the series. Yeah, the cartoon version is more fun, but it would be very out of place and just look silly if it was directly transposed into the mood of the movie.

    I had no trouble following the plot line even if it did get a little complicated. I was raised on reading books with subtle hints and characters that were only mentioned once and then brought back as the main subject of whole story arcs years later. I didn’t miss the interplay between Zuko, Iroh and Zhao. (My friend who had never even heard of the series before also had no difficulty with who was doing what or why in the movie.) It was a classic case of imperial politics. I do hope they make sure to emphasize that Iroh is the older brother and should be Fire Lord instead of Ozai because that wasn’t readily apparent and something of a surprise in the Earth Book. It also explains a lot.

    They could ignore the Sozin’s Comet until the second movie, since it wasn’t a big plot motivator in the first book. I know that’s the reason he started to learn Water Bending in the cartoon, but the invasion of the Northern Water Tribe was a nice motivator for the movie and did an equally good job of moving the plot without taking up extra time. In the future, they could combine the explanation of Sozin’s comet with the visit to the buried library and the discovery of the Fire Nation’s weakness (or they can replace the latter with the former) and Appa’s kidnapping and not lose anything important, story-wise.

    Without needing to explain the comet, they really didn’t need Ruko. I am glad they included his dragon as a guide, who we saw a bit more of, anyway.

    I also think that making Aang have trouble with Water Bending because he’s not dealing with his feelings was a stroke of brilliance. Watching the cartoon, I wondered if Aang, while fun-loving, must be really cold to completely ignore what happened to the Air Benders or for that matter, his part in their deaths. And he does so for much of the First Book. His overall take on the matter wasn’t explained very well in the cartoon. Yeah, he did that angry-thing early on, but that wasn’t really revisited until the end of the Book.

    I think a good job was done considering one has to cram the entire Water Book into a 2 hour movie. It explained the major points of the story while keeping the action moving at a reasonable pace (anyone remember how each Lord of the Rings movie was something of a marathon to watch?). It does tend a little more toward boring simply because it has to explain the world first. That will be unnecessary in the sequel which will speed up the action and also give more time for character interaction (if it’s done right).

    I do hope they make some differentiation in color between Azula’s Lightning and Fire Bending in the next movie. Blue/blue was confusing to watch and made one ask, “What was she Bending, again? I thought it was blue lighting before. Why’s it blue fire, now?” Especially BEFORE they explained that Fire Benders could actually do both (again, overpowered). If something like white/blue, blue/white, or green/blue was used, it would be much easier to tell what she’s doing from the wide shots and that it’s not your ordinary Bending.

    I would also like to see that by going “darker”, he goes with the “Empire Strikes Back” model and mixes a bit of humor in with the story. Yeah, the Empire won that round, but the back and forth between Han and Leia made it the best movie out of the trilogy. I’m not looking for a carbon copy mind you, but a little more fun should be in there to balance things out. Otherwise, it’s just depressing and no one wants to see that more than once.

    Here’s hoping!

    • Thanks, Skweral, really, really thanks for your thoughts.

      It was the first time ever I’ve seen someone understand The Last Airbender movie so brilliantly.

      You just understood it, without any “if”s. That’s exactly it, you’ve just nailed it, such brilliant thoughts.

      Needless to say, I agree 110% with you on everything.

      Thanks a lot, Skweral.

  12. Although I have not nor want to read the Avatar: the last airbender series I thought the movie was amazing. I can understand everyone’s feeling of things missing, characters that are not the same etc… but come on what movie/tv series that have been based on a book(s) are ever truly a mirror image??? Look at Harry Potter, I have read every book and I can see all the differences but I enjoy them differently. The only book/movie I can honestly say I disliked was Percy and the Olympians there was such a difference that there was no point in even calling it the same as the book. Enjoy the movie, enjoy the book but see them as a different entity and not a mirror image of each other.

  13. If you want Avatar: the last airbender Part 2 to be unfriggin believable….make the powers of the benders immediate…stop all the dancing around and arm waving. In the cartoon classic there is no spiritual looking dance before they bend….they just have it. I want Avater part 2 as much as the next guy but the special effects have to to far more superior than Avatar 1. And what is with the seriousness of Sokka? What a let down from the original. Sokka is supposed to be funny and dorky, and you have made him a boring serious boy. Common MSN…Get back to the original story line…thats what people fell in love with, me as well and I’m 42 with 3 daughters that can’t turn off the TV when the cartoon is on,….
    A FAN…Stewy

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