Some pretty big names have lent their voices to Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. Did you notice all of these celebrity cameos?
As Hypable’s Rewatchable podcast progresses through The Legend of Korra after completing Avatar: The Last Airbender, we’re reminded anew of some of the biggest celebrities who lent their voices to the Avatar universe. Some were series regulars and some were one-episode cameos, some have risen to fame since participating in the show, and some were a big deal no matter what. We’ve put together a list of our favorite celebrity roles for you to listen out for, if you’re following along with Rewatchable.
The following article contains spoilers for Avatar: The Last Airbender and Avatar: The Legend of Korra.
Known for: Her long-running role on House, as Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital’s Dean of Medicine Dr. Lisa Cuddy, for which she won a People’s Choice Award. She’s currently appearing in Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce, a new drama on Bravo developed by acclaimed screenwriter Marti Noxon.
Avatar Appearance(s): Legend of Korra Season 2 and 3
Kya is the adult daughter of Aang and Katara, and like her mother, she’s a waterbender. Kya and her brother Bumi were somewhat neglected by Avatar Aang, who gave most of his attention to Tenzin, the only other airbender in the family. These childhood tensions surface during season 2. Kya is a healer, and Lisa Edelstein manages to imbue her with the same earthy sexiness as her other famous healing role, Dr. Cuddy.
Known for: Star Wars, obviously. He starred as Luke Skywalker in the original trilogy, a role he’ll step back into in Episode VII: The Force Awakens. He’s also become an award-winning voice actor, especially as the Joker in many Batman games and animated series.
Avatar Appearance(s): The Last Airbender Season 1, 2 and 3
Character: Fire Lord Ozai
Ozai is Avatar: The Last Airbender’s ultimate Big Bad, designed to terrify the audience both on a global scale, with his plans to take over (and burn down) the rest of the world, and on a personal level, through the abuse he inflicts on every member of his family in unique and different ways. Aang, as the Avatar, is tasked with stopping the Fire Nation’s reign of terror, and struggles with whether he’ll have to actually kill Ozai.
Known for: Being the face (and voice) of the Nerdist brand and hosting geek culture content such as AMC’s Talking Dead, Attack of the Show!, and every San Diego Comic-Con panel ever.
Avatar Appearance(s): Legend of Korra Season 1, Episode 9 “Out of the Past”
Chris Hardwick made a cameo as an adult version of our beloved Sokka in Legend of Korra. In a flashback, Korra witnesses Sokka – who became the chairman of the Republic City council – precede over the trial of Yakone, a bloodbender. It’s a moment that tugs on the heartstrings, as it’s one of the first glimpses of what became of our old ATLA favorites in the new series.
Known for: The Patriot, Brotherhood, Peter Pan, and of course, the Harry Potter series, in which he played everyone’s favorite pimp-cane wielding Pureblood, Lucius Malfoy.
Avatar Appearance(s): The Last Airbender Season 1
Character: Admiral Zhao
As a cruel member of the Fire Nation military, Zhao serves as a villian in ATLA‘s first season. He became an antagonist to Zuko, cluing the audience in that the angry little prince might not be such a bad guy after all. After attempting to beat Zuko in capturing the Avatar, Zhao becomes obsessed with destroying the Moon and Ocean spirits and putting an end to waterbending. The character returns for a Korra cameo, trapped in the Fog of Lost Souls.
Known for: Malek currently stars as Elliot Alderson in the critically acclaimed Mr. Robot. Prior to this, you might recognize him from The Pacific, The Master, the Night at the Museum trilogy, or Twilight: Breaking Dawn.
Avatar Appearance(s): Legend of Korra Season 1
Tahno is a minor antagonist in Korra’s early days in Republic City – he’s a waterbender and the captain of the Wolf Bats, a championship pro-bending team that rival Korra, Mako and Bolin’s Fire Ferrets. Tahno styles himself with an emo/goth aesthetic and is a ruthless pro-bender, but his bending is removed by Amon, which he doesn’t cope well with. Korra later restores his power and he appears in the Legend of Korra series finale in a non-speaking role.
Known for: Her iconic role as April Ludgate on Parks and Recreation, and films including Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Safety Not Guaranteed, Playing It Cool and Funny People.
Avatar Appearance(s): Legend of Korra Season 2, 3 and 4
No one but Aubrey Plaza could have voiced the role of Eska, the bored, emotionless Northern Water Tribe princess who joins the show in season 2 along with her twin brother, Desna. The twins, who are Korra’s cousins, have identical personalities, looks and waterbending powers, and provide sardonic comic relief – particularly in Eska’s relationship with Bolin. Although their father Unalaq is a villain, the twins become Korra’s allies.
Known for: Team StarKid. He’s one of the viral musical theater company’s principal actors, playing Ron Weasley to Darren Criss’s Harry Potter in the group’s three Very Potter parody shows, as well as originating lead roles in three other StarKid productions. He’s also got a recurring role on the Disney Channel’s Jessie.
Avatar Appearance(s): Legend of Korra Season 3, Episode 8 “The Terror Within”
Character: Hong Li
StarKid Productions have been slipping ATLA jokes into their plays since day one, so it must have been a real treat for Joey Richter to officially take part in the Avatar world as a Legend of Korra guest star. His character, Hong Li, is a metalbender in Zaofu who was falsely accused of being a part of the villainous Red Lotus and their plot to kidnap Korra. His name is cleared.
J. K. Simmons
Known for: Winning over 30 awards, including an Oscar and a Golden Globe for Whiplash, and playing J. Jonah Jameson in both the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy and Marvel’s animated universe.
Avatar Appearance(s): Legend of Korra (all seasons)
Tenzin is Aang’s youngest son and the only one of his children to inherit airbending powers from birth. He becomes a major part of Korra’s life when she comes to his home in Republic City to learn airbending from him, as he is the world’s only airbending master. He’s smart, but easily flustered, especially around his family. Tenzin has four children – Jinora, Ikki, Meelo and Rohan – at least three of whom are also airbenders.
Known for: Originating the role of Hikaru Sulu in Star Trek, his LGBT activism, and being a social media legend.
Avatar Appearance(s): The Last Airbender Season 1, Episode 6 “Imprisoned.”
George Takei voiced the warden of a prison rig especially designed to confine earthbenders in an early episode of ATLA. He’s a cruel administrator who not only imprisons the earthbenders but also takes delight in crushing their spirit. When Katara gets herself purposely captured and tries to start a riot, he is pleased when the prisoners don’t have the heart or motivation to rebel. However, he is overthrown when the earthbenders learn they can bend the ship’s coal.
Known for: Arrested Development, Parenthood, The Duff and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Avatar Appearance(s): The Last Airbender lead role (all seasons)
Katara is the lead female character of Avatar: The Last Airbender. She’s the only waterbender left in the Southern Water Tribe, and she and her brother Sokka discover the lost Avatar trapped in an iceberg near their home. This is the catalyst for the entire show, as Katara and Sokka join Avatar Aang on his journey around the world to restore balance to the four nations. She and Aang eventually marry.
Known for: Being the most successful tennis player of all time.
Avatar Appearance(s): The Last Airbender Season 3, episode 10 “The Day of Black Sun, Part 1: The Invasion”
Tennis star Serena Williams had a cameo in ATLA season 3 as Ming, the Fire Nation prison guard who treated Uncle Iroh with kindness and respect, slipping him extra rice and tea. Out of concern for her safety, Iroh makes it clear to Ming that she should not be at the prison during the solar eclipse. Williams has stated that Avatar is her favorite show, and had a second cameo as a female sage in Legend of Korra.
How many of these ‘Avatar’ celebrity roles did you know about?
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