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Trivia: The Last Airbender
  • Ability over Appearance: The filmmakers used this trope against accusations of Racebending various characters.
  • 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) than his acting ability; in fact he had to take acting lessons before shooting started because he'd never acted before.
  • Creator Killer: Shymalan'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). Although that is the only example, as the others 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. Suki would like to have a word with you.
  • 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.
    • The sequel series helps futher the disowning by showing that unlike in the movie, Zhao didn't die, but was inprisoned in the spirit world.
  • Executive Meddling: Averted actually. Nickelodeon was apparently so confident in Shyamalan, that they gave him full creative control over the film, while giving the creators of the TV show none to speak of. Needless to say, it didn't pan out very well. It's like none of them had even heard of the guy and his career.
  • 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.
  • 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: After three-plus years and nothing moving on the production front, it's firmly stillborn. Bryan and Mike are not exactly 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. Unfortunately the wording seems to imply that the overall Unfortunate Implications would have remained.
    "...the Earth Kingdom is all Asian so Toph will have to be [Asian]."


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