The cast and crew of The Last Airbender have been strangely silent about what they think of the movie – but there are a few major exceptions.
M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender is universally considered to be a terrible adaptation of the beloved series, and some of the film’s cast and crew have publicly regretted their involvement. The Last Airbender was released in 2010 to terrible reviews and widespread criticism of the whitewashed cast, mediocre special effects, and condensed run time. Co-creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko have publicly distanced themselves from the film and have repeatedly criticized Shyamalan’s controversial casting.
With the upcoming Netflix adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender, attention has returned to Shyamalan’s troubled film. The stars have remained mostly silent about the backlash The Last Airbender faced, even as most of them have moved onto larger, more critically successful projects. However, the few lone exceptions have publicly admitted their regret and disappointment in The Last Airbender.
Click the button below to start this article in quick view.
M. Night Shyamalan
When M. Night Shyamalan was chosen in 2007 to write and direct The Last Airbender, it was a major departure from his repertoire of small-scale, supernatural thrillers such as The Village. Part of the failures of The Last Airbender can be attributed to a fundamental mismatch between Shyamalan’s distinct directorial style and the source material he was given. In 2019, M. Night Shyamalan publicly stated that he now regrets taking the directing job for The Last Airbender, saying that, “I did a couple huge, big-budget CGI movies… I did these movies, and I rightfully got crushed,” (via IndieWire.)
Dev Patel, who plays Prince Zuko in The Last Airbender, is seen referring to the film as, “a little bit sh*t” in a resurfaced video from the 2015 Toronto International Film Festival. Patel has been the most vocal cast member from The Last Airbender, and has publicly regretted his involvement multiple times in the years since the film was released. In a 2015 interview with The Guardian, he talked about the difficulties of promoting a film that he didn’t enjoy or believe in; in THR‘s Actor’s Roundtable, he referred to watching himself in the film as, “a stranger onscreen that I couldn’t relate to.” While the rest of the cast has been relatively silent, Dev Patel – who replaced singer Jesse McCartney as Prince Zuko – has repeatedly spoken out about his disappointment in the movie.
Jackson Rathbone’s casting as Sokka was a major source of controversy for The Last Airbender. Rathbone, who is most-well known for playing Jasper Hale in the Twilight franchise, has refused to publicly comment on his experience working on The Last Airbender. However, he commented on the film’s critical and commercial failures in a 2010 interview with MTV News, saying that, “it’s just one of those things… art is subjective.”
Noah Ringer & Nicola Peltz
Although Noah Ringer’s casting as Aang was the source of much of the controversy with The Last Airbender, he has not publicly spoken about the backlash he faced for participating in the film. Ringer was only twelve years old and a relative newcomer when he joined The Last Airbender. Much like Jake Lloyd, who played Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and bore the brunt of the film’s backlash, Ringer has retired from acting entirely. Nicola Peltz’s casting as Katara was also a significant source of controversy. She has continued acting professionally after The Last Airbender, with starring roles in Bates Motel and Transformers: Age of Extinction, but has never publicly addressed the controversy surrounding The Last Airbender.
With a new adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender on the horizon, fans of the series are hoping that it won’t repeat the mistakes of M. Night Shyamalan’s doomed adaptation. Most of the film’s stars have refused to comment on the movie, but the few cast and crew members that have all agree: they universally regret their participation in The Last Airbender.
Next: Why The Last Airbender’s Failure May Not Be Shyamalan’s Fault
Mandalorian Season 2 Premiere Watched Less Than The Boys Season 2
About The Author