Trivia: The Last Airbender

  • Ability Over Appearance: The filmmakers used this trope against accusations of Racebending various characters.
  • Big Name Fan: Milla Jovovich of all people is a fan of this movie, according to this interview. Even the interviewer is confused.
  • Cast the Expert: Noah Ringer (Aang) was cast more for his martial arts experience (he got a black belt in Taekwondo at the age of 10, and very proficient with a staff) than his decent acting ability; in fact he had to take acting lessons before shooting started because he'd never acted in front of a greenscreen before. Ironically however he did seem to have the personality that would fit Aang (energetic, fun loving, etc), and he had already shaved his head.
  • Creator Killer: Shyamalan's career wasn't exactly spotless before this film, but it looks to be the final nail in the coffin. For his next film, Devil, he was neither writer nor director and his name actually drew jeers from audiences when it appeared in trailers. His next directorial effort, After Earth, did not mention him in any promotional material and also avoided showing his name until the ending credits rolled.
  • Dawson Casting: Jackson Rathbone (24) as Sokka (15-16). The actress who was intended to play Suki, Jessica Andres, was the same age. The other characters are played by actors of a closer age. Rathbone apparently had a good screen test with Peltz and very much looked like her older brother. He looks awkward playing opposite Dev Patel, who is six years younger despite playing a character one year his senior.
  • Deleted Scene: A significant amount, the exclusion of them apparently due to Executive Meddling. At 100 minutes the movie had a real breakneck pace, with the deleted scenes fleshing out the story, personalities and doing some more world building. Notably, an entire subplot with Suki and the Kyoshi Warriors were part of the film. Some have noted that a lot of these scenes harken closer to the spirit of the show, with one in particular having Aang enjoy himself dancing with villagers after rooting out the Fire Nation (versus almost always being rather dour throughout the movie).
  • Disowned Adaptation: Avatar co-creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko seem to share their fanbase's distaste for the film, having said in interviews that it distorted their vision of Avatar and have even advised people, including members of the original cast not to watch it.
  • Executive Meddling: Word has been spread around that the producers of the movie were the ones pulling the strings that led to its bombing. They didn't bother to watch the series, along with nepotism and a mismanaged budget just caused Shyamalan and the show creators to just give up on the movie. Apparently the shooting script was re-written and outside of their hands, after filming the Southern Water Tribe scene on location in Iceland the budget was reorganized so the rest of the film was done in the Pennsylvania countryside and on sound stages.
  • Fan Nickname: For the Fight Scene Failure in the prison camp. Everybody do the Pebble-Dance!
    • From the same scene, Katara pushing one soldier to the ground and then just standing there doing nothing else is called the Ka-Tackle.
  • Franchise Killer: While the series itself lives on, the public response and critical failure of this film make any sequels unlikely at best.
  • Magnum Opus Dissonance: While filming the movie, M. Night Shyamalan claimed that it was going to be his greatest work. All those Razzie Awards beg to differ.
  • Missing Trailer Scene: Two of them involve Sokka. One has him flirting with Yue by telling her "I taught him that," implying that he was talking about Aang. Another one had him cheering during the climactic battle after defeating the Fire Nation. It's pretty jarring that they were cut since they were pretty in-character for Sokka.
  • Playing Against Type:
    • The Daily Show's Aasif Mandvi as Admiral Zhao. At least he's already got the ham down.
    • Although M. Night Shyamalan is well-known for his supernatural movies, this movie marks his first fantasy action-adventure epic, as well as his first franchise-based adaptation.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Averted. Shyamalan first heard about the show when his daughter asked to be Katara for Halloween. After watching a few episodes, he decided to immediately make an adaptation.
  • Stillborn Franchise: Not that Bryan and Mike are heartbroken about that.
  • What Could Have Been
    • The first draft of the movie included all twenty episodes of the series, adding up to a whopping seven hours. Instead, the movie was cut down to barely two hours, and Paramount also had another half hour of film cut from theatrical release because they wanted to convert it into 3-D as quickly as possible.
    • Before things turned stillborn, Shyamalan planned to counter the 'Racebending' complaints in the sequel by casting Toph with an Asian actress.
  • Word of God: When describing why the Earthbenders didn't escape from the quarry, Shyamalan responded that they were "too dispririted" to do so. This answer somehow makes less sense when you think about it.