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Characters / Avatar: The Last Airbender - "The Ember Island Players"

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The Ember Island Players are an ensemble of actors performing at the theater on Ember Island, the vacation home of the Fire Nation nobility. They are underpaid hams who dazzle the audiences with impressive special effects and wild costumes. Two of their plays are known: Love Amongst the Dragons and The Boy in the Iceberg. Ursa, a former member of the Hira's Acting Troupe, used to take Zuko and Azula to Love Amongst the Dragons, but Zuko thinks the Players "butchered" it.

Team Avatar went to see The Boy in the Iceberg in the episode "The Ember Island Players" and considered it absolutely horrible, despite the special effects. The Boy in the Iceberg, named for the first episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender, is a highly dramatized, propagandistic, exaggerated tale of the adventures of Aang and his silly friends, who are eventually defeated by Fire Lord Ozai. The play is also commentary on Fandom. Here, then, are the Ember Island Players. Hold your applause until the end.


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Team Avatar

    Player Aang
"I'm the Avatar, silly, here to spread joy and fun!"
Voiced by: Rachel Dratch

Player Aang is an athletic young woman wearing a bald cap. She plays Aang as hyperactive and excessively outgoing, with a penchant for playing pranks on people. Player Aang's mission as the Avatar is to bring "joy and fun" to the World. Player Aang triggers the Avatar State by saying "Avatar State, yip-yip!" Real Aang is dismayed to see that Player Aang is a woman. He is even more dismayed when Player Ozai kills Player Aang at the end.

  • Affably Evil: He's seen as "evil" by the Fire Nation audience, but also funny and lovable.
  • Affectionate Parody: Of the Broadway adaptation of Peter Pan, right down to using a female actress to play a young male and using wires to simulate flying. Even the way she talks sounds like Mary Martin playing Peter.
  • Big "NO!"/Slow "NO!": A good eight seconds long.
  • Catchphrase: "Avatar State, yip-yip!"
  • Character Exaggeration: Of Aang's Keet and Prankster tendencies.
  • Crosscast Role: Much to Aang's frustration.
  • Dawson Casting: Player Aang looks to be ten years older than Kid Hero Aang — deliberately done In-Universe.
  • Death by Adaptation: Considering it was written by and for the Fire Nation, it's not surprising they would kill the hero off.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: The play version of Aang was killed by Ozai in battle. The real Aang ultimately dies by the time he was in his mid-sixties due to the side effects of constantly being in the Avatar State for a hundred years while frozen in the iceberg gradually taking a toll on his health.
  • Genki Girl: Playing a Keet.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Invoked. Player Aang's death scene involves being engulfed by Ozai's flame attack up until the waist as she slowly dies in agony.
  • The Hero Dies: Unsurprisingly, given that the play is Fire Nation propaganda, The Bad Guy Wins and succeeds in taking down the Avatar.
  • Like Brother and Sister: With Player Katara.
  • Not Quite Flight: She's hoisted up and swung around by a crane, the typical practice for a flying god since the days of ancient Greek theater.
  • Peter Pan Parody: She portrays a clever male trickster in the play, much like how Peter Pan is often portrayed in theater.
  • The Prankster: She even lampshades it: "Have I mentioned that I'm an incurable prankster?''. Much to the real Aang's dismay.
  • Suppressed Mammaries: Averted. No action was taken to hide her breasts, and they're pretty obvious. invoked
  • Take That!: She's a representation of Konietzko and DiMartino's criticism of the practice of women voicing boys in Peter Pan, The Simpsons, and other productions.
  • Unexplained Recovery: The play never presents any explanation about how she survived Player Azula's lighting/blue ribbon strike, presumably because none of Pu-on Tim's sources knew what it was (Katara's spirit water-boosted healing).
  • Villain Protagonist: Because the play is told from a perspective sympathetic to the Fire Nation, the character of Aang is seen as the bad guy — the embodiment of feckless immaturity, ruining all the Fire Nation's plans.

    Player Katara
"My heart is so full of hope, that it's making me tearbend!"
Voiced by: Grey DeLisle

Player Katara is older and fatter than Real Katara, and not as beautiful. She speaks in a much huskier voice than the real Katara. Player Katara is melodramatic, prone to crying on any occasion, obsessed with hope, and does not fight. She wears her heart on her sleeve, especially in front of Player Aang. Player Katara is in love with Player Zuko, and regards Player Aang as her little brother.

  • Adaptational Curves: She's more curvaceous than the real Katara.
  • Adaptational Skimpiness: Player Katara's wardrobe lacks the real one's warming clothes, resulting in her showing some skin due to the low neckline and leg slit. The real Katara didn't start wearing skin-baring clothes until she went to the Fire Nation in Book 3.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The real Katara was utterly horrified when Jet destroyed an Earth Kingdom town, and immediately turned on him. Player Katara, however, is impressed.
  • Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: Player Katara is infatuated with Zuko, while the real Katara considers the thought disgusting.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Both of the boys she falls for, Jet and Zuko, most definitely fit this. The following line is even on the quotes page:
    Player Katara: Oh Jet, you're so...bad....
  • Beauty Inversion: Fatter than the real Katara.
  • Calling Your Attacks: "Waterbend! Hi-yah!"
  • Casting Gag: Grey DeLisle is also the voice of Azula.
  • Character Exaggeration: What little bit of Katara's personality the play gets right, it exaggerates beyond belief.
  • Chickification: Player Katara is a melodramatic crybaby who only waterbends once in the play (to free Player Aang).
  • Damsel in Distress: She is trapped in growing crystal in the scene where the Gaang face Bumi's challenges.
  • Dawson Casting: She's never going to see fourteen again, that's for certain. This is deliberate In-Universe.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Done for Fanservice purposes. She's wearing a low-cut dress at the south pole.
  • Faux Action Girl: She is never seen fighting, despite the fact that she's supposed to be the Action Girl Katara.
  • Foe Romance Subtext: With Player Zuko.
  • Foot Popping: As she and Jet kiss.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Sort of. She's not as beautiful as the real Katara, but she is much more sexualized, having a more adult figure than Katara, and showing cleavage and her leg, as well as acting in a more sexualized manner (sultry expressions, sexy poses, so on).
  • Like Brother and Sister: With Player Aang. And she keeps on saying it, for good measure.
    Player Katara: Remember, Aang, I'll always love you - as a brother!
    Player Aang: I wouldn't want it any other way.
  • Making a Splash: She uses Waterbending to free Aang from the iceberg, although she never uses it again after that (she does steal a scroll about it, though).
  • Melodrama: The living incarnation of it, right from the word "go".
  • Overly Long Gag: She cries dramatically in just about every sequence in the first act.
  • Show Some Leg: The real Katara wears trousers under her dress.
  • Team Mom: Just like the real deal.
  • Tender Tears: Extremely prone to this, to the point where it becomes comedic.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: She, Player Sokka, and Player Toph do not participate in the finale and their fate is unclear.

    Player Sokka
"All I want is a full feeling in my stomach! I'm starving!"
Voiced by: Scott Menville

Player Sokka is much older than Real Sokka, with buck teeth. He's a backwoods, dumb-muscle, Water Tribe hick, and the comic relief. Player Sokka is constantly hungry, and obsessed with eating meat. But the actor for Player Sokka is a pretty chill guy — when Sokka approaches him backstage with some ideas for new jokes, the actor gladly incorporates them into the scene, despite initial misgivings — ("Oh, boy, another fan with "Ideas"") and to the delight of the audience.

  • Adaptational Dumbass: Lacks the real Sokka's brains.
  • Big Eater: He's always hungry and wanting to eat.
  • Catchphrase: "I'm starving!" He says it twice in the first 30 seconds of the play.
  • Character Exaggeration: Of Sokka's tendency to focus on food and his Comic Relief status.
  • Dawson Casting: In-universe. He's got the gangly limbs down pat, but otherwise, isn't a teenager. This is intentional.
  • Distressed Dude: Averted. Unlike in reality, Bumi doesn't catch him in growing crystal and he takes on the challenges along with Player Aang.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Wearing that outfit in the South Pole is just begging for hypothermia.
  • The Fool: Player Sokka has none of Sokka's The Smart Guy tendencies.
  • Nice Character, Mean Actor: Downplayed. When playing Sokka, he behaves like a happy-go-lucky moron. His true personality, on the other hand, is somewhat cynical and he's initially dismissive of the real Sokka's suggestions. However, he finds himself impressed by Sokka's material and quickly warms up to him, even incorporating it into his performance.
  • Obsessed with Food:
    Player Sokka: Don't go, Yue! You're the only woman who's ever taken my mind off of food!
  • Plucky Comic Relief: He's every bit the Butt-Monkey that Sokka is in real life, much to his displeasure.
  • Real Men Eat Meat: He's quite frankly obsessed with it. It annoys Sokka, because all his jokes are on that topic and it gets repetitive.
  • Throw It In: In-Universe. The actor uses Sokka's suggestions of making up catch-phrases and throwing in jokes for the third act. The other actors don't appreciate it, but the audience sure does.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Aang and Zuko are the only ones who attack Ozai during Sozin's Comet, and the fates of Player Katara, Player Sokka, and Player Toph are left unclear.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: When Player Suki teaches him the way of the Kyoshi Warriors, she makes him wear the dress and makeup. Player Sokka asks "Does this make my butt look fat?" The real Suki thinks it's Actually Pretty Funny.

    Player Toph
"My name's Toph, because that sounds like Tough and that's just what I am!"
Voiced by: John DiMaggio

Player Toph is a big, burly man who is blind, but can "see" using echolocation, emitting a loud scream. Real Toph likes Player Toph, saying "I wouldn't have cast it any other way."

Fire Nation

    Player Zuko
"I don't have time to stuff my face! I must capture the Avatar to regain my honor!"
Voiced by: Derek Basco

Player Zuko is more accurate than other Players, but Real Zuko considers Player Zuko too stiff and dour, and Player Zuko's scar is on the wrong side. Player Zuko is even more obsessed with honor and capturing the Avatar than the real Zuko, and shouts "honor!" more than he says anything else. He flirts with Player Katara. In Act III, he is killed by Player Azula for his betrayal of the Fire Nation.

    Player Iroh
"Choose treachery! It's more fun!"
Voiced by: John DiMaggio

Player Iroh is Player Zuko's doddering glutton of an uncle. He is obsessed with cake instead of tea, and is trying and failing to give Player Zuko cake. Player Iroh is betrayed and defeated by Player Zuko, which is uncomfortably close to the truth for Zuko.

  • Adaptational Villainy: The play is Fire Nation propaganda after all. Naturally, Iroh's not going to be played in a positive light.
  • Adaptational Wimp: The real Iroh is one of the fiercest Firebenders on the planet. Player Iroh shows none of Iroh's immense skill and power as a Firebender. Fitting for a play that celebrates his younger brother as the ultimate hero of the nation.
  • Big Eater: Unlike the real Iroh, who loves tea, Player Iroh loves cake instead.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Just look at them. They're probably fake, but still.
  • Character Exaggeration: The real Iroh didn't really care about the Avatar hunt and liked the material pleasures in life, but he was willing to help his nephew in his quest. This Iroh actively encourages Zuko to forget about the Avatar so they can get massages. The play also drops the reason why Iroh was uninterested in capturing the Avatar (he'd had a Heel–Face Turn years ago).
  • Evil Uncle: To Zuko, although he's more amoral and hedonistic than outright evil. This contrasts the real Iroh, who was one of the only good members of the Royal Family, and was a Parental Substitute for Zuko.
  • Fat Bastard: He's even more rotund than the real Iroh and has none of Iroh's redeeming qualities.
  • The Hedonist: Player Iroh lacks the spirituality of the real Iroh. His second line a suggestion that he and Zuko get massages. The Fire Nation, we've seen, is against individual pleasure and expression, so exaggerating this aspect of Iroh to make him look ridiculous makes perfect sense.
  • Jabba Table Manners: He likes to stuff his face with cake.
  • Playing Gertrude: Unlike almost everyone else in the cast, Player Iroh probably isn't even half of the real Iroh's age. (In fact, he looks like he could be younger than Player Zuko.)
  • Ron the Death Eater: In-Universe. This Iroh has none of the real Iroh's kindness.
  • Strawman Political: Likely intended to be this In-Universe, given how he tries to get Zuko to abandon the Fire Nation, his lack of good arguments for doing so, and the very bad light he's portrayed in.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: He's never seen after Zuko betrays him and pushes him over.

    Player Azula
"The Avatar is no more!"
Voiced by: Tara Strong

Player Azula is older than Real Azula, with a huskier voice, and wears pink, along with thick makeup and long painted nails. Player Azula electrocutes Player Aang at the end of Act II, then kills Player Zuko in Act III.

  • Abled in the Adaptation: She fights and defeats Player Zuko while in a right state of mind. During the eventual Final Battle, the real Azula is on a nasty Sanity Slippage.
  • Adaptational Heroism: The play is Fire Nation propaganda, so of course it presents Azula in a better light than the show does.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Unlike the real Azula, she kills Player Zuko.
  • Combat Stilettos: As opposed to her real counterpart, who constantly wears sensible flat-soled boots.
  • Daddy's Little Villain: Just like the real deal, although she's supposed to be Daddy's Little Heroine.
  • Dawson Casting: invoked She definitely isn't fourteen.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: In-Universe. Even outside of the play's status as propaganda, she seems to lack most of Azula's psychopathic tendencies, for example not shooting Iroh during the re-enactment of "The Chase". She's also way more mentally stable than the real Azula. She keeps it together during the play's finale, as opposed to the real deal, who was in the middle of a spectacular Villainous Breakdown at that point.
  • Femme Fatalons: Her very long painted nails.
  • Girliness Upgrade: The real Azula dressed mostly practically and femininity was very low on her list of priorities. Player Azula wears a pink shirt, has stiletto heels, and wears makeup and nail polish.
  • Hero Antagonist: As the character who's most prominent at hounding the Avatar and foiling his plans, Player Azula would be seen as this by the Fire Nation audience.
  • Hero Killer: Unlike the real Azula, she actually kills Player Zuko.
  • Playing with Fire: Like the real Azula, she's a firebender. She uses this to kill Player Zuko.
  • Princesses Prefer Pink: Unlike the real Azula, who wears the standard fire nation colors of red, black, and gold.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: The real one is too, but due to being more stable Player Azula is far more competent.
  • Shock and Awe: She throws a blue ribbon at Player Aang in the Avatar State to represent the point in The Crossroads of Destiny where Azula nearly kills Aang by hitting him with lightning.

    Player Ozai
"No! It is YOOOOUUUU who are going down! You see, you are too late! The comet is already here, and I'm unstoppable!"

Player Ozai is the Fire Lord in the play. As the play is propaganda, Player Ozai is a heroic leader, and he looks much more like the real Ozai than any of the Players look like their characters. In the climax of Act III, he kills Player Aang with the power of Sozin's Comet and conquers the World.

  • Abled in the Adaptation: The play ends with Ozai killing Aang. The actual Final Battle ends with Aang defeating Ozai and him removing his bending.
  • Adaptational Heroism: He wants to take over the world and kill Player Aang, but unlike the real Ozai, he has no plans of genocide.
  • Adaptational Modesty: He fights and defeats Player Aang fully clothed. During the eventual Final Battle, the real Ozai is in a Walking Shirtless Scene.
  • Adaptational Ugliness: The real Ozai is more conventionally good looking.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The play being Fire Nation propaganda, this was inevitable. (Not that he's considered evil in the Fire Nation.)
  • Beard of Evil: Beard of Good, as far as the play's concerned.
  • Beauty Inversion: He actually looks far more like a stereotypical evil overlord than the real Ozai does, even though he's meant to be the good guy.
  • Big Good: His taking over the world is portrayed as a good thing.
  • Cool Crown: Wears a rather exaggerated version of the real Fire Nation crown.
  • Hero Killer: He takes down Player Aang.
  • Kill It with Fire: First Player Aang, then everything else.
  • Large Ham: Out-hams everybody in the play- it's Olmec, what would you expect?
  • No, You: "No, it is YOU who are going down!"
  • Playing with Fire: Like the real Ozai, he can firebend. Unlike the real Ozai, he uses his comet-enhanced bending to kill Player Aang.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: He defeats the evil Avatar and succeeds in taking over the world.
  • Supporting Leader: He's the Fire Lord, but he only appears in the play's last scenes, with his daughter Azula being active in the hunt for the Avatar.
  • Take Over the World: His goal. And unlike the real Ozai, he succeeds.

    Player Mai

Player Mai looks similar to real Mai, albeit with a few differences. Her belt has a sad face on it, her fringe covers her eyes, and she keeps her knives in her "ox horn" hair.

    Player Ty Lee

Player Ty Lee is a pudgy ballerina. Instead of doing acrobatic stunts, she dances sedately across the stage. Instead of chi-blocking by poking people, she kisses them.

  • Adaptational Curves: Fatter than the real Ty Lee.
  • Action Girl: She's one of Azula's elite henchmen, and is shown defeating a soldier in one hit with her Kiss of Death.
  • Bare Your Midriff: But she can't pull it off quite like the real Ty Lee.
  • Beauty Inversion: Much like Player Mai, Player Ty Lee is far less attractive than the real deal.
  • Dance Battler: She's a dancer who can paralyze people with kisses.
  • Demoted to Extra: Only appears in one scene, though the real Ty Lee had a much larger role.
  • Flynning: Her action scenes bear little to no resemblance to actual fights.
  • Kiss of Death: Unlike the real Ty Lee, she paralyzes her opponents by kissing them.
  • The Paralyzer: By kissing her finger and then touching a guard, she causes him to comically freeze and then fall over.

Earth Kingdom

    Player Suki

Player Suki looks very close to the real Suki, but her headdress and fans are exaggerated. She has no lines. In Act I, she trains Player Sokka in the ways of the Kyoshi Warriors.

    Player Bumi
"Riddles and challenges must you face, if you are ever to leave this place."

Player Bumi is the King of Omashu. He wears a padded suit to simulate the real Bumi's muscles, an oversized monocle to look like Bumi's Mad Eye, and a feathered hat as a crown, which looks like Bumi's pet Flopsy. Player Bumi speaks in rhymes.

    The Blue Spirit
"I am the Blue Spirit, the scourge of the Fire Nation, here to save the Avatar!"

A mysterious anti-Fire Nation figure in a gigantic blue oni mask who appears to save the avatar from Zuko.

  • Badass Normal: Like the real Blue Spirit, he doesn't firebend. He still manages to beat Zuko.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Introduces himself as "the scourge of the Fire Nation", making him this In-Universe, as the play is Fire Nation propaganda.
  • Cool Mask: The oni mask the real Blue Spirit wore is exaggerated to the point of being as big as the rest of his body.
  • Decomposite Character: The real Blue Spirit was Zuko's alter ego. This Blue Spirit has no relation to Zuko, and indeed fights him at one point.
  • Deus ex Machina: Appears out of nowhere to save the Avatar, and then is never mentioned again. This is probably how the Fire Nation viewed the real Blue Spirit, given that they don't know that he's actually Zuko in a mask.
  • Dual Wielding: Like the real deal, he uses dual swords.
  • Large Ham: Like everyone else in the play. It's notable because the real Blue Spirit never spoke, as his voice would have given him away.

    Player Jet
(Normal)"Don't cry, baby! Jet will wipe out that nasty town for you!"
(Brainwashed)"Must...serve...Earth King! Must...destroy! [starts babbling]"

Player Jet, who has spiky hair and chews on a flower, appears in two scenes. In Act I, he floods a village to impress Player Katara, who hugs him and says "Oh Jet, you're so...bad...." In Act II, he appears in Lake Laogai, and is presumed dead when a rock lands on him. He is Brainwashed in that scene, as indicated by googly eyes. Instead of the real Jet's twin hook swords, Player Jet is armed with twin hook hands.

Water Tribe

    Player Yue
"Goodbye, Sokka! I have important moon duties to take care of! And yes, I did have pickled fish."
Voiced by: Jennie Kwan

Player Yue appears at the end of Act I. She wears a pink dress with many bows, and her hair is a braid attached to her hair loops. When she sacrifices herself to become the Moon Spirit, she is hoisted up on a moon prop, while Player Sokka (and the real one) grieves below.