Avatar's live-action adaptation The Last Airbender may have been a bust, but that doesn't mean that we can't have hope for [The Legend of Korra](movie:1028685) as a feature film, right?
Sure, it's a definite long shot considering the extensive production woes and lack of Nickelodeon support, but a fan can dream. And that's exactly what I'm going to do by assembling an ideal cast! I mean, if that work is already done for them, it's no doubt just a matter of getting these guys in one room, right? That logic has just got to be sound.
Anyway, one of the major controversies surrounding M. Night Shyamalan's remake was a neglect of what the original characters actually look like. If a Legend of Korra movie were to move forward, I'd wager that many fans would want to see the distinctive heritages we've gotten to know onscreen incorporated into the final product. For that reason, I made a conscious effort to deliberately choose people who are not only extremely talented, but who are also actors of color.
And, let's be real, this post is all an elaborate ruse to help me get over the separation anxiety I feel since the show ended.
Anyway, as my friends say when they want me to get a move on, "Tom-mee, do the thing!"
Korra - Julia Jones
Julia Jones may not be a household name (yet), but hear me out on this one. She's best known for her role as the shape-shifter Leah Clearwater in the Twilight franchise, so she's been around fight scenes and major productions. She's strong, authoritative, and bold while still being naturally beautiful and warm. Korra is an amazingly complex character, going through major highs and lows over the course of the first season alone, but I really believe that Jones has got the chops as well as the look to pull her off.
Tenzin - Ken Watanabe
As Korra's spiritual guide and stern mentor, Tenzin requires an actor who commands a room with gravitas but can also lay down the law with some master airbending. What better choice than Ken Watanabe? The veteran actor has appeared in Inception and Godzilla and always conveys strong emotion. For someone as stoic as Tenzin, the actor needs to express a range of feeling with a simple look, something Watanabe has championed since early in his career. Plus, who wouldn't want a guy that cool as their bending teacher?
Asami - Kimiko Glenn
For the role of Asami, an actress needs to be both breathtakingly beautiful and impossibly charming while still staying totally relatable. This is no easy feat, but I think Kimiko Glenn, who plays Brooke on [Orange Is the New Black](series:761587), can manage that and more. She's undeniably striking, and as Brooke, she shows a toughness matched with a vulnerability that would make Asami really stand out.
Here, I've also gotta give an honorable mention to Asami's voice actress, Seychelle Gabriel. If the hypothetical filmmakers choose to stray a bit from Asami's heritage, then Gabriel would also be an impeccable Asami.
Bolin - Harry Shum Jr.
Sure, he's a little tall for the role, but Harry Shum Jr. has the rhythm for fight scenes and the impeccable comedic timing that makes Bolin my favorite character. Shum has already played the good-natured comic relief as Mike Chang on [Glee](movie:718630), and it's time for him to flex those muscles as the most lovable guy in the Earth Kingdom. Now if he only had a fire ferret to bring along...
Mako - Godfrey Gao
Godfrey Gao has mostly gotten work in Taiwan, but he got his American debut recently as Magnus Bane in [The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones](movie:332173). In my opinion, he deserves much more work in the US. He's got the model-ready good looks for Mako, and there's no doubt he knows how to give a mean scowl. Seriously, just throw a red scarf on him and you've got your Team Avatar's resident misanthrope.
Lin Beifong - Michelle Yeoh
Toph's implacable daughter deserves an actress who's equally noteworthy and intimidating. There's really no one better option than Michelle Yeoh, famous for her legendary roles in Hong Kong kung fu movies and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Just imagine highly choreographed fight scenes with some impeccable CGI metal-bending. If there's anyone I trust to pull that off, it's this amazing woman who made career out of doing her own stunts. Plus, Yeoh plays a no-nonsense woman effortlessly, and I want to see her square off with Ken Wantanabe's Tenzin.
Amon - Daniel Dae Kim
For Amon, it's all about the voice. The actor will be hidden behind a mask for most of the movie, so he must be a master of body language and enunciation. Kim has the deep, sometimes gravelly voice that can make Amon the kind of imposing villain that he should be. He does a great job in moments of ruthlessness and serious drama, so I just want to see this guy revel in removing Tahno's bending.
Pabu - Real Pabu
And lastly, for the love of Rava, PLEASE train a real red panda to play Pabu the fire ferret. I understand that Naga will most likely have to be all CGI, but can we just consider how brilliant this would be onscreen?
I can feel Bolin swooning already (and I'm right there with him).
For this fan cast, I figured I would start with season one, but I have plenty of ideas for some of the awesome characters from later seasons including Su Beifong, P'li, and, of course, Toph. So, let me know in the comments if you'd like to see my other casting preferences for seasons 2-4, and I'll hop on that faster than a rabaroo to a wheelbarrow of cabbages.