||Everything you ever wanted to know about Avatar: The Last Airbender answered by the creators, Mike & Bryan!
October 12th, 2005
1. How did you come up with the Avatar?
We came up for the concept for "Avatar" 3 years ago. Nickelodeon wanted to make a "legends & lore" type of show with a kid hero. That’s a genre we are very interested in, but we wanted to create a mythology that was based on Eastern culture, rather than Western culture. Although "Avatar" isn’t based on a specific Asian myth, we were inspired by Asian mythology, as well as Kung Fu, Yoga, and Eastern Philosophy. We were also inspired by Anime in general. We wanted to create a story that inspired people’s imaginations and that had elements of comedy, drama, and action.
2. You guys are not Asian so how did you come up with such an Asian cartoon?
We read a lot about Buddhism, Daoism, and Chinese history. We also have several consultants who work for the show - a cultural consultant that reviews all the scripts; a Kung Fu consultant who helps choreograph all the bending moves so that they are accurate to the style on which they are based; and a Chinese calligrapher who does all the signs and posters in the show. We don’t use any written English words in the show.
3. Which character do you identify most with? Why?
Mike identifies most with Aang’s peaceful qualities – and his bald head!
Bryan identifies with Zuko, because he too can be incredibly stubborn and obsessively focused. And also with Sokka, because he too can be incredibly stubborn and annoyingly sarcastic!
4. We are watching the first season of Avatar now. Are you working on the Season 2 already? Can you tell us what to expect without spoiling it for us?
The rest of Book 1 (Water) will air this autumn in the US, which culminates with Aang, Katara, and Sokka finally arriving at the Northern Water Tribe. We are currently in production on 20 episodes of Book 2, which is the Earth book. New antagonists will be revealed as the kids journey deeper into the Earth Kingdom. And Aang will find an Earthbending teacher in his quest to master the four elements.
5. What is the meaning of Avatar?
We chose the word "Avatar" because it is an ancient Hindu word meaning "a temporary manifestation of a continuing entity." In our world, Aang is the current incarnation of this very powerful being: the one person who can control all four elements and keep balance in the world.
6. Why does Prince Zuko have a scar on this face? Why is he always angry?
Prince Zuko is the oldest son of Fire Lord Ozai, ruler of the Fire Nation, and the great-grandson of Fire Lord Sozin, who started the war. He is the rightful heir to the Fire Lord’s throne, but when Prince Zuko was 14, he spoke out against his father and the Fire Nation’s conquests. To teach his insubordinate son a lesson, Fire Lord Ozai forces his son to fight him in an Agni-Kai – a traditional Firebender duel. The Fire Lord makes an example of his son in front of his royal army and leaves him with a prominent burn scar across his face. The message is clear. Regardless of bloodline, anyone who opposes the Fire Lord’s power will meet a terrible fate. Not content with physical punishment, Fire Lord Ozai strips the Prince of his birthright to the throne and banishes him from his homeland. His father tells Zuko the only way he will allow him to return is with the Avatar, dead or alive.
7. What does that Blue Arrow on Aang’s head mean?
The arrow on Aang’s head is a constant reminder that he may be the last survivor of his tribe, the Air Nomads.
Bryan and Mike’s parting words to kids in Asia?
We hope the viewers in Asia enjoy watching "Avatar." We are excited that people around the world get to watch the show. And we are especially excited to hear it dubbed in various languages! It’s exciting, adventure-filled, funny, and dramatic. If they watch, they won’t be disappointed! Thank you!
(Because a number of questions are repeated, prizes will be given to kids who haven’t won before so as to be fair!)