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This is a partial character sheet for The Legend of Korra. Subjective trope and audience reactions should go on the YMMV page.

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Korra's Family

These are tropes which apply generally to Korra's family.
  • Badass Family: All their known members are powerful and skilled waterbenders; not mention that one of them is the Avatar...
  • Blue Blood: At least on her father's side. Her uncle is the chieftain of the Northern tribe, and her father was designated to inherit the position, but lost it when he was banished from the Northern Water Tribe. Though, after Unalaq's defeat, the tribes's governments separate, and Tonraq becomes the first Chief of the Southern Water Tribe, playing it straight.
  • Dysfunctional Family: One side fights for good while the other fights for evil.
  • Making a Splash: Every single one of them can waterbend.


"I was protecting you from the shame I brought on the family."
Voiced by: Carlos Alazraqui (In Book One: Air) and James Remar (Book Two: Spirits onward)

Korra's father, originally from the Northern Water Tribe.

  • Action Dad: Waterbends an ice wall around the spirit attacking the Southern Water Tribe settlement in "Rebel Spirit" and encases it in ice at the same time. It didn't work for long (nothing did), but it was nonetheless an impressive display. He also holds his own against Zaheer in Book 3 (twice!), something no one else managed besides Tenzin. Zaheer eventually got the better of him in their second battle on Laghima's Peak.
  • Adult Fear: His little girl is the Avatar, not helped by the fact that she's rather Unskilled, but Strong. A distinction that brings all kinds of physical peril to that person's life. It's a testament to his fortitude that he isn't a perpetual wreck because of it. In the Book 3 finale he has to watch helplessly (as he is dangling off the edge of a cliff after being thrown off it) as his daughter is overpowered and captured by Zaheer, who poisons her to bring her into the Avatar State so he can permanently kill her, and next sees her fighting for her life with no one able to help her. Then although Korra ultimately wins the fight and Zaheer is taken into custody, the poison has already almost killed her, and she would have died in his arms for sure if Suyin had not metalbended the poison out of her. For the few moments before Jinora's realisation, Tonraq holds Korra believing that she is going to die. And even though she lives, she is just a faded, empty shell of herself with major psychological and physical trauma.
  • Ascended Extra: He and Senna only had two small appearances in Book One, but they have a bigger role in Book Two, to the point of ascending to the Big Good rank.
  • Back for the Finale: He attends Varrick's wedding in the final episode.
  • Badass Baritone: In Book Two, courtesy of James Remar.
  • Badass Beard: An awesome beard and is a very powerful bender and if his strength is anything to go by, Korra likely inherited it from him.
  • Badass in Charge: He's the official Southern Water Tribe Chief as of the Season 2 finale.
  • Big Good: As leader of the Southern rebels in Book 2.
  • Cain and Abel: The Abel to Unalaq's Cain. His own brother orchestrated Tonraq's banishment and arrest.
  • Characterization Marches On: While he barely appeared in Book One, he seemed pretty friendly and didn't have a problem with Korra running away from the compound. Come Book Two, he's sterner, overprotective of Korra, and it turns out the compound was partly his idea. Also, he had a change in voice actor.
  • Demoted to Extra: Much like most of the supporting characters during Book Four his screen time is noticeably slashed during this season. He appears in a grand total of four out of thirteen episodes has a major role in only the first two and doesn't even speak in the last two episodes. This is especially confusing since Korra lied about where she was for the six months between her leaving the South Pole and him going to Republic City which you would think would be an important plot threat to close up before the series ended.
  • Destructive Savior: The reason for his exile. He destroyed a sacred forest while trying to root out dangerous barbarians, which brought the wrath of the spirits down on the Northern Water Tribe.
  • Disney Death: In the Book 3 finale he is thrown off a cliff by Zaheer during his and Korra's battle against him, and Korra is led to believe that he has been killed. At the very end of "Enter the Void", however, it is revealed that he was saved by Kuvira at the last minute. Korra however continues to believe that her father is dead until the end of "Venom of the Red Lotus", when she almost dies in his arms.
  • Enemy to All Living Things: The Dark Spirits don't like him in the slightest given he desecrated the forest home of some spirits twenty years ago while trying to capture some criminals. Unalaq didn't want him to tag along to the South Pole for this reason. Then it turns out Unalaq staged the whole thing, and was behind the spirit attacks to begin with.
  • The Exile: He was exiled from the Northern Water Tribe for destroying a spirit forest in his youth. Turns out this was what Unalaq intended. After Desna and Eska take over in the following season, his banishment seems to have been revoked.
  • Foil: To his brother Unalaq. Tonraq is the older, more physically imposing brother, yet he has no ambitions for power and only desired to have a family and live a normal life after he met his wife Senna, only to realize that would never happen since his daughter was the next Avatar. In contrast, Unalaq is the younger, slimmer brother with great ambitions and a hunger for power, to the point he became so jealous of his brother and his position that he got him banished (though this was for something bigger), and desires to train his niece out of further envy that his brother sired the Avatar. To hammer it in, Tonraq dropped out of the rebellion because regardless of any conflict between him and his brother, he has no desire to hurt him. Unalaq, however, has no qualms about using him to further his own agenda.
  • Gentle Giant: Tonraq is a very tall, physically imposing man who is one of the most heroic.
  • Good Parents: Overprotective as he may be, Tonraq only wanted what was best for Korra and would do anything to support her.
  • Happily Married: Shown to have a loving and close relationship with Senna.
  • Heroic Build: To contrast with his Lean and Mean brother. His character design commentaries describe him as being built like a linebacker.
  • Honor Before Reason: In a manner of speaking, Tonraq was acting on both. He was willing to respect his brother's decisions as chief, even if it meant imprisonment. The "reason" part is that he was against Korra trying to free him, because it would lead to bigger conflict and Korra is on board with him that such conflict was undesirable and unjustified. It wasn't until he discovered that Unalaq plotted his banishment from the beginning that the struggle against him was justified.
  • Hot-Blooded: Very, though not as much as his daughter. It seems to be where Korra may have gotten her own Hot-Blooded nature from.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: He dwarfs both of the two ladies closest to him in his life.
  • An Ice Person: He is a waterbender, so he has the ability to turn water into ice and vice versa.
  • Ironic Name: Tonraq means "little man" in inuit.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Brash and confrontational like his daughter, but is one of the most heroic individuals to meet. He loves his wife and his daughter dearly. And even though he had an unstable relationship with Unalaq, attacking his brother was a line he would never cross.
  • Knight Templar Parent: Remember the compound Korra spent most of her life in? Turns out that was partly Tonraq's idea. Granted, there was a group of extremely skilled benders who has just tried to kidnap her, so he had good reason to want her well guarded.
  • Magnetic Hero: During Book 2, Tonraq has proven himself to be very charismatic and insightful, which gained him great respect from his people. It also lead him to becomes the first Southern chief after the Southern Tribe becomes independent from the Northern Tribe.
  • Making a Splash: He is a waterbender.
  • Morality Chain: He tries to be, telling Korra not to do anything reckless while trying to free him from prison lest she trigger a war. Korra went and did it anyway when she couldn't stand to watch the anguish it was causing for her mother.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: His over-protectiveness of Korra caused the creation of the compound that ended up hindering her spirituality, which was one of the main issues in Book One, and he almost got the Northern Tribe wiped out for going overboard on dealing with invaders twenty years prior, which resulted in his banishment. Both were somewhat justified. For the former, the Red Lotus had attempted to kidnap Korra after she was revealed as the Avatar. For the latter, his brother Unalaq set him up, but even if he didn't deal with the invaders, he'd still get banished for failing to protect his homeland's sacred forests. In any case, things got worse because he kept these secrets from Korra.
  • Not So Different: He and Unalaq do have some similarities. They're both convinced they know what's best and will disregard conventional wisdom or the wishes of others in trying to achieve their goals. Fortunately, Tonraq is able to recognize his mistakes when he's called out on them.
  • Open-Minded Parent: Turf Wars reveals he's fully supportive of Korra and Asami's relationship, though he warns the two to tread carefully, as not everyone might not be as accepting of their relationship. Korra is not too happy at his response
  • Overprotective Dad:
    • Subverted. When Tonraq is introduced to Mako as Korra's boyfriend, he sternly tells the young man that he hopes Mako isn't getting Korra into any trouble. Once Korra tells him to cut the joke, Tonraq does so and immediately welcomes Mako.
    • Averted in regards to Korra's relationship with Asami, as Tonraq is nothing but supportive and happy from the get go.
  • Papa Wolf: He tried to kill Zaheer for attempting to kidnap his daughter.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Is supposed to be the chief of the Southern Water Tribe and is very level-headed compared to his daughter. He even advises Korra to stay out of the war because he knows the Avatar is supposed to be neutral and should help in other ways.
  • Rebel Leader: In Season 2, he initially shares this role with Varrick until the latter heads back to Republic City with Korra.
  • Rebuilt Pedestal: Korra's opinion of him sours after she learns he was responsible for keeping her at the White Lotus compound and never shared the fact that he was exiled, causing her to think more highly of Unalaq. This is reversed when she learns Unalaq's true nature, though it doesn't change the fact that he still kept secrets from her, including another related to the Red Lotus kidnapping her, so Korra's perception of him remained somewhat soured.
  • Retired Badass: Tonraq was a Warrior Prince in the Northern Water Tribe, and a physically powerful warrior, but after his exile decided to settle down and raise a family. However, threats like the Dark Spirits and the Red Lotus forced him to take up his sword again.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: He never misses an opportunity for a fight.
    • Just two weeks after the end of Book 2 and his rise to official leadership of the South, he goes with Zuko to try and apprehend the extremely dangerous escaped criminals who tried to abduct his daughter years before before to stop them from freeing P'Li from her prison in the North Pole. Then although they fail in stopping them they travel into the Earth Kingdom to search for Korra and make sure she is safe, and Tonraq at least ends up playing a major role in the climax of the season when Korra, Lin and Team Avatar race to the Northern Air Temple to rescue Tenzin, his family and the new Air Nation from the clutches of Zaheer and the Red Lotus who are trying to use them as hostages to force Korra to place herself in their custody.
  • Shipper on Deck: After Korra reveals to him and Senna, that she is in a relationship with Asami, Tonraq is nothing but supportive.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Unlike his younger brother, Tonraq is unambitious, focused on physical strength, and decidedly unspiritual.
  • Skunk Stripe: The Book Four artbook notes that his hair is graying because of his worry for Korra— though being a head of state probably doesn't help.
  • So Proud of You: Becomes far less overprotective and trusts Korra in Book 2, after she opens the Southern Portal.
  • Thicker Than Water: Initially refused to join in the rebellion against Unalaq because he didn't want to kill his younger brother. He eventually does join the rebellion after learning that Unalaq does not share this familial deference.
  • Underestimating Badassery:
    • He seems to treat Korra like a child even though his daughter is the Avatar and unlocked the Avatar State.
    • Inverted while trying to prevent Zaheer and his cabal from attempting to liberate P'Li. He's extremely cautious about not underestimating them since he was involved in imprisoning them the first time. He failed because they weren't going to underestimate him the second time.
  • Warrior Prince: In his backstory, he was the prince and general of the Northern Water Tribe.


"We love you so much."
Voiced by: Alex McKenna

Korra's mother, a native to the Southern Water Tribe.

  • Adult Fear: Her only child is the Avatar. Like Tonraq, it's amazing she isn't a nervous wreck by now.
  • Ascended Extra: She and Tonraq only had two small appearances in Book One, but they have a bigger role in Book Two (although in her case, to a much lesser extent than her husband).
  • Good Parents: She took some time to console Korra in "Civil Wars, Part 1", showing how much care she devotes to her daughter.
  • Happily Married: Shown to have a loving and close relationship with Tonraq.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: With Tonraq, compared to her, he dwarfs her due to his height and build.
  • Informed Ability: While confirmed as a waterbender, Senna has never been shown bending.
  • Making a Splash: She is a waterbender.
  • Morality Chain: Like Tonraq, she tries, but Korra goes against her wishes almost immediately, being unwilling to see her family in such distress.
  • Mum Looks Like a Sister: Seriously. She looks slightly older than her daughter, who is in her late teens. And apparently she didn't age one day since her daughter was a child. Possibly in an attempt to rectify this, she has a few more facial lines in Book Two.
  • Nice Girl: A loving and supportive woman.
  • Open-Minded Parent: Turf Wars reveals she's fully supportive of Korra and Asami's relationship, though she warns the two that not everyone might not be as accepting of their relationship.
  • Satellite Character: Her appearances in the series revolves around her husband and/or her daughter.
  • Shipper on Deck: After Korra reveals to her and Tonraq, that she is in a relationship with Asami, Senna is nothing but supportive.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: We have a pretty good idea what Korra may look like in her middle age here...

Korra's paternal uncle, and chieftan of the Northern and Southern Water Tribes. For tropes pertaining to him, refer to the "Enemies" page.

    Desna and Eska 
Korra's twin cousins, children of Chief Unalaq. For tropes pertaining to them, refer to the "Enemies" page.

Varrick Global Industries


Sir Iknik Blackstone Varrick
"I like to think I'm always there to stand up for the little guy. Especially if that little guy can help this guy become a bigger guy."
Voiced by John Michael Higgins

A resident of the Southern Water Tribe and one of the world's leading businessmen, introduced in Book 2.

  • Abstract Scale: Varrick weighs the spirit vines in terms of "two Zhu Lis" implying he knows her exact weight.
    • The same episode, he estimates the amount of energy said spirit vines give off in terms of Varricks.
  • Affably Evil: He is a rather polite, friendly and genuinely kind man, even when he's trying to screw over others or profit off them. Even when he's exposed for his war profiteering, Varrick doesn't take it personally, apologizes for his actions, and is even genuinely helpful to Team Avatar thereafter, lending them a battleship for their attack on the Southern Spirit Portal. Later, after he's relocated to Zaofu, he helps them figure out that Aiwei is the mole responsible for letting the Red Lotus into Zaofu.
  • Agony of the Feet: He seems to have a chronic series of foot ailments, which poor beleaguered Zhu Li often is called upon to soothe.
  • Ambiguously Evil: He's unscrupulous, manipulative, and generally lacking in any sort of moral compass as far as profit goes. When he isn't trying to profit off a situation in some way, he is genuinely helpful and friendly. He also shies away from actual murder, since all his attacks had plenty of collateral damage and no apparent loss of life. He's really not even "evil" so much as very self-interested.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: In Book 3, he has a Running Gag of inventing these, like magnetic armor that needs a giant power cord and an airbender detector that doesn't work unless the person airbends straight into it. This is justified in that some were just early prototypes which he intended to refine later. In Book 4, we see that he has refined the early mecha-suits built by Future Industries into a fully humanoid, much more versatile model.
  • Bait the Dog: Varrick is first characterized as an affable and decent guy. Then he arranges for Future Industries to go broke so he can buy up the assets and revitalize the company under his control, keeping Asami on as a grateful partner while he profits off the merger.
  • Battle Couple: With Zhu Li, briefly. Though they've mostly worked on the tech side of things, they go into the field against Kuvira's giant mech right after he proposes to her.
    Varrick: Now let's go attach these barely functioning rust buckets to a giant killer smashing machine!
    Zhu Li: It's exactly how I always pictured our engagement!
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: He sought to escalate the conflict between the Water Tribes so he could profit off it, only to learn too late that Unalaq's ultimate goal served no one, not even himself.
  • Being Evil Sucks: He discovers this the hard way after Kuvira ordered him to make a spirit weapon, which he knows is VERY dangerous.
  • Belated Love Epiphany: In Book 4, Zhu Li's apparent betrayal and spending a long time away from her makes him realize how much she means to him. He proposes to her in the finale and they get married.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: He seems like a lovable and quirky businessman, but he's also very good at manipulating situations to give himself the best deal, even if it means throwing others under the bus to do it.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: With Vaatu and Unalaq. While Vaatu and Unalaq serve as the Big Bads of season 2, Varrick serves as the mid-season Arc Villain in Republic City, with Mako trying to oppose him. Specifically, he is plotting to keep the war going so that he could profit from it.
  • Big Bad Friend: To Bolin, not that he realized it at the time. Even after the fact, Bolin seems to hold no hard feelings, even being happy to see him in Zaofu.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Downplayed. Like Tarrlok in season 1, Varrick is a credible threat but ultimately lower down the ladder to the true Big Bad of the second season, Vaatu. Unlike Tarrlok, he and Unalaq are never truly at odds—Varrick only wanted to go after Unalaq for petty reasons, and he didn't know about Vaatu until after his plan failed — Varrick's arc is confined to Republic City, serving as a B-plot that's ultimately resolved before the final battle with Unalaq. He also has the distinction of surviving his stint as a villain and even getting away scot-free, which can't be said for the others. Of course, he is an extremely popular character, such that killing him off wouldn't make sense.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Downplayed Varrick doesn't even bother hiding his greed and shiftiness, noting most of his actions are out of self-interest, as well as happily inflaming tempers for an uprising, and asking the heroes to pay off the authorities. His charisma and eccentricities allow one to look past his more questionable dealings and see him as appealing and likable, which makes it that much easier for him to manipulate them. Even his line after The Reveal of his status as Big Bad Friend about helping the little guy is full of charm despite being obviously self-serving, and not dissimilar to what he would normally say.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: All of those eccentricities are not a front for anything; he genuinely acts like that. It's how he attracted Zhu Li to work for him, as he is a genuinely brilliant inventor and innovator, just extremely... weird. However, once he proved himself to be a horribly incompetent fighter, even Zhu Li has had enough, and defected because despite his brilliance, she couldn't put up with his utter disregard for her anymore. Ironically, it's hinted that Varrick does indeed care about her, just that he... has a weird way of showing it.
    • It's later revealed that Zhu Li only faked defecting in order to protect Varrick. They even get married in the finale!
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Downplayed. Not so much evil, but in Book 2, Varrick is upfront about his not-so-noble intentions to everyone, since they begrudgingly need his help. He makes it clear that if there is no war, there is no money to be made. In Book 3, he takes pride in the fact that he framed Mako (not so much the act itself, but moreso the fact that he was able to pull it). Even in Book 4, Varrick admits he's insane, and he reminded Bataar Jr. to not forget that.
  • The Casanova: He is described as a "Howard Hughes playboy kind of character".
  • Catch Phrase: "Zhu Li, do the thing!" It even made its way into his wedding.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: By around the time of the Battle of Zaofu, it's shown that he was developing feelings for Zhu Li. However at every instance he defaults back to his boss behaviour, which annoys her to no end (especially the constant mood whiplashes). In the end he really couldn't spit it out, instead when he proposed to her he used his catchphrase! Good thing Zhu Li knew exactly what he meant.
  • Circus Brat: According to him, he grew up on a farm before being taken away by the circus.
  • Character Development: His growing a conscience is a plot point in season 4.
  • The Chessmaster: First shown in "The Sting" and he only becomes more magnificent from there. He saw the Civil War as a game where he can manipulate both the heroes and villains, but in the end, he found out the hard way he was not in control of the situation.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: He'll betray anyone if there's money to be made doing it. He arranged to ruin Asami's company then bought it under the guise of helping her, framed Mako for the same, and tried to kidnap the president as part of schemes even though he backed Raiko in the election. He then backstabs Su for Kuvira during Book 4 and ultimately backstabs Kuvira and joins after realizing how dangerous Kuvira is. From that point onward, he's done betraying others altogether.
  • Classic Villain: He represents unlimited Ambition and Greed.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: In his debut scene he believed he could levitate, runs around the room erratically and switches topics on the fly. Despite this, he's actually a skilled mastermind.
  • The Cloudcuckoolander Was Right: He also seems to be a pretty good judge of character. He had Unalaq pegged from the start and prepared accordingly. He also warns Team Avatar that something about Aiwei's investigation into the Red Lotus's infiltration of Zaofu seems fishy, because he recognizes a dirty conspiracy when he sees one due to his experience in hatching them himself. It takes a mastermind to know a mastermind.
  • Cool Ship: His battleship. The first of its type ever constructed, bought solely in case he might need it one day. He named it Zhu Li.
    Bolin: ... you named your battleship after your assistant?
    Varrick: Why not? They're both cold, heartless, war machines!
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: He's willing to go to any lengths necessary to make a buck, even if that means screwing over his allies (covertly, of course). He secretly hijacks Asami's shipments of weapons to the Southern Water Tribe to bankrupt her company, then buys it out so he can profit off those sales. He's also fully willing to help when it's in his interests to do so, lending the Krew a battleship free of charge after he's caught.
  • The Corrupter: The Krew's morals take a bit of a dip after he joins the team and Korra begins to listen to his ideas. He advises Asami to engage in war profiteering by selling her father's mecha-tanks to the Southern Water Tribe.
  • Crazy-Prepared: He's always prepared for every situation, but the problem is, he doesn't plan well enough about the circumstances involved that his preparedness has blindspots or that he ends up indirectly helping the Big Bad anyways.
    • He mentions he once royally pissed off a Woman Scorned. And he ensured his ship was fast enough to escape her, even if she used waterbending to catch up.
    • His ship also has a plane on board ("In case the boat sinks!"). Alas, he neglected to include a runway.
    • He donated a lot of money to President Raiko's election campaign so that he could get a meeting if he ever needed one. He also donated to his opponent. "Gotta hedge your bets!"
    • He foils Mako's attempts to expose him at every turn.
    • His company built the local prison, and he had a luxury cell made because he figured he'd end up in there eventually. He also had a hang-glider stored in there, just in case he might have a chance to escape.
    • He owns a battleship. Apparently the very first one ever built. Because why not?
    • His spirit nuke has a timer and a remote.
      Varrick: First I built the timer, but then I thought, "well, you could drag me off the train," so I built a remote, but then I thought, "Well, do I really need the timer anymore because I got a remote?" Whatever! I'm covering all my bases.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Varrick is a lot more cunning than his eccentric nature would let you know.
  • Curious Qualms of Conscience: After inadvertently discovering the true power of the Spirit Vine Energy he was researching, he suddenly wants to scuttle the whole research project, citing a strange "head voice" that is telling him right from wrong. This jump-starts his redemption arc into an more solidly good guy.
  • The Dandy: He's known for his flamboyant fashion choices.
  • Defector from Decadence: After Kuvira threatens him to keep him working on the Spirit Vine project, he and Bolin decide Kuvira is insane and flee.
  • Demoted to Dragon: After being an independent villain in Book 2 and comic relief in Book 3, he serves as Kuvira's chief scientist in Book 4. Technically, he was hired into the position, later to realize the horrible lengths Kuvira wants him to go, which leads him to have a Heel–Face Turn for good.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Has a tendency to state fairly amoral things openly, which most people seem to ignore as simply Varrick being Varrick. This aids in his schemes, as people dismiss what would be considered hints of duplicity as mere quirkiness.
  • Devoted to You: It's unbelievable how Zhu Li manages to stay with him despite the way he treats her and how she puts up with his antics and all the troubles he gets them into. She even tells Varrick he means the world to her when they are reunited after her fake betrayal.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Varrick has no allegiance but to himself: he genuinely hates Unalaq, but his struggle against him was for his own personal gain. We see what a master schemer he is in Book 2: His alliance with the rebels, Team Avatar, as well as his first attack on Unalaq, were all just to speed up his agenda to start a war, and escalate it to make huge profit. Of course, he relies on his men to do the dirty work.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Varrick's whole plan to escalate the Civil War worked up until he discovered Vaatu was involved. Imprisonment aside, it was at that point where he had to concede that his plan to create a huge war just for the sake of profit would be far from salvageable.
  • Divine Intervention: In Book 3, he claims the universe freed him from prison, though no one buys it.
  • Ditzy Genius: He's a skilled and canny businessman, a gifted engineer... an a total cloudcuckoolander.
  • The Dog Bites Back: He's on the receiving end of one of these when Zhu Li finally snaps under years of ingratitude after they get re-captured by Kuvira's troops in "Enemy At The Gates". Unlike a lot of examples of this trope, Varrick is genuinely taken off-guard by this before being dragged away by the guards holding him, at Zhu Li's order. However, it's zigzagged. She turned out to be faking the defection in order to sabotage Kuvira from the inside, but she was genuinely sick of being treated like crap and demanded to be treated as an equal.
  • Driven to Suicide: In book 4, as a result of both Kuvira's actions and Zhu Li's betrayal. He survives because of Bolin.
  • Easily Forgiven: When they meet again in Book 3, Bolin holds no hard feelings. Everyone else, not so much. Later on, he's still not forgiven, but he's only accepted back because they need him. Even President Raiko makes it clear he doesn't like him.
  • Eccentric Millionaire: An extremely rich businessman who uses his wealth for strange things like a platybus-bear costume that poops money.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Double Subverted. Varrick convinces the Krew to work with him after Unalaq's occupation of the Southern Water Tribe gets too extreme for either of their tastes, then ends up manipulating them into intensifying the conflict so he can profit off it. However, when he's caught and thrown in prison, he still aids them by giving them his fully-loaded battleship. In Book 3, despite some lingering animosity from Asami and Mako, he gladly aids them in finding the mole in Zaofu.
    • In Book 4, Asami agrees to work with him to stop Kuvira's spirit vine weapon, but makes very clear that she hasn't forgiven him at all and will be watching him like a hawk.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Played with. Varrick will do whatever it takes to get rich, but there are certain lines that he won't cross, like blatant murder, at least not directly. For example, in "The Guide", he makes a Shame If Something Happened threat to Mako regarding Asami and Bolin, but when Mako doesn't go for it, he just frames Mako instead of following through. In the episode "Night of a Thousand Stars", he insists that he never intended to hurt President Raiko after kidnapping him.
    • In "Enemy at the Gates", he immediately shuts down the spirit vine project when trying to tap their power accidentally creates a spirit laser. Kuvira, however, forces him to keep working on it. Furthermore, in "Operation Beifong" President Raiko tells him to create spirit vine weapons to put them on equal footing with Kuvira and he absolutely refuses.
    • "Kuvira's Gambit" has him outright stating he shouldn't have built the weapon in the first place.
  • Evil All Along: Or at least Amoral All Along. He never tried to hide it.
  • Evil Duo: With Zhu Li. An odd case where the id is the dominant, scheming one in the relationship. He and Zhu Li later drop the "evil" part.
  • Evil Mentor: Varrick is far from "evil", but he is morally ambiguous and causes some of Team Avatar to stretch their morals.
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: At first it started out as Evil vs. Evil with Unalaq, as Varrick's whole agenda was to start a war against him, and escalate it by planning false flag operations that blamed the Northern Water Tribe, so that planned war could increase his profits. However, once it was revealed that Unalaq was working for Vaatu, he had no idea that the war he tried to escalate would bring Republic City up against the spirit of darkness that seeks to bring about an apocalypse. As a result, Team Avatar was almost desperate for help from Varrick against Unalaq, even if Varrick used them for his own ends.
  • Eviler Than Thou: He finds himself on the receiving end of this when Kuvira threatens to kill him and forces him to build a spirit weapon that has more destructive potential than he anticipated. Varrick even admits Kuvira is more insane than he.
  • Farm Boy: Varrick grew up on a farm and his father was a poor seal hunter.
  • Flanderization: Post Book 2, the inventor aspect of him has more emphasis rather than profiteering.
  • Foil: To Asami — Both are fabulously rich industrialists, brilliant multi-discipline engineers as well as savvy in the boardroom, and have a flexible interpretation of legality in order to get things done. Asami, however, is of a far stronger moral caliber than Varrick, and is less... flamboyant. Varrick also has an insufferable way of brushing off losses, while Asami keenly feels the sting of such losses personally.
  • Friendly Enemy: He presents himself as this to everyone. However, Mako doesn't return the sentiment.
  • Gadgeteer Genius:
    • Implied. In "Old Wounds", he appears testing a magnetized suit of armor, implied to be his own invention. It comes as no surprise, considering he is at the forefront of technological advancements. In Book 4, he serves as Kuvira's chief scientist and was responsible for her army of mecha. He's also capable of rewiring the spirit vines into a Fantastic Nuke.
    • Confirmed in "Reunion", when he jury rigs an EMP device that shuts down a squad of Earth Empire Mini-Mecha out of a generator and a few other odds and ends, in just a few minutes.
  • "Get out of Jail Free" Card: Varrick is an enemy on numerous occasions, but always lands on his feet when he's caught. After his plan to take over Future Industries fails, he gets Kuvira to force Raiko to pardon him, and after siding with Kuvira turns sour, he manages to buy his freedom in Republic City by revealing Kuvira's superweapon, and afterwards is recruited for Republic City because he's one of the two greatest scientists in the world.
  • Graceful Loser: Takes his arrest in stride and still helps Team Avatar out.
  • Greed: One of his main faults is that he will do anything to get a quick buck. Case in point, one of his main concerns with the Civil War is how it will affect how much he can make.
  • Guile Hero: He's more like an anti hero. He aids Team Avatar by providing them his boat and an airplane and uses a Platypus Bear disguise that can poop money to use the crowds as an escape method. Morally questionable, maybe. Downright effective? Yes.
  • Happily Married: In the comics, following his marriage to Zhu Li he proves to be a supportive and loving husband who can utilise his usual scheming to her advanatge by helping get her elected as the new President of the United Republic.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: A textbook example. He starts out an ally to the heroes in early season two, betrays them and hatches his own scheme against them by the midway point of the arc, joins up with their ally Suyin in season three and helps them weed out the mole in Zaofu, then betrays Suyin in season four to join Kuvira's Earth Empire, though he's more of a Punch-Clock Villain. Then he attempts to leave Kuvira and joins up with the heroes for good in "Enemy at the Gates" after having some Curious Qualms of Conscience over his spirit vine energy discoveries.
  • Heel–Face Turn: In Season 3 Suyin seems to believe Varrick has turned over a new leaf for good, though Lin, Mako and Asami beg to differ, and they treat every instance of working with him as an Enemy Mine situation. In Season 4 this is played with when he joins up with Kuvira, who starts out as a hero, at least until she forces him into developing superweapons and states that he has somehow recently develop a conscience.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: After being forced to keep working on the spirit vine weapon, he instead creates a bomb to blow up all his work along with himself, fully intending to die until Bolin figures a way out of it.
  • Howard Hughes Homage: A brilliant inventor and a wealthy businessman who is one of the pioneers of his setting's movie industry. And calling him "eccentric" would be putting it mildly.
  • Informed Attribute: Varrick was described as a playboy in related material, but he never was seen behaving this way onscreen, save his passing mention of an ex-girlfriend who was a waterbender.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Judging by his shock in "Enemy at the Gates", he honestly had no clue that Zhu Li was feeling underappreciated.
  • Insistent Terminology: Throughout Season 4, he will repeatedly insist that he only "allegedly [did this or that bad thing]", since he escaped prison before getting a proper trial and thus was never condemned.
  • Irony: After several episodes of being a Karma Houdini, Varrick is finally exposed by Bolin, the one he took under his wing and made the star of his big movie.
  • It's All About Me: He'll help anyone as long as it helps himself.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's selfish, greedy and manipulative, but he's shown to be genuinely caring and kind to the Krew and has good intentions, even if it's partly to make a profit. In Book 4, he states that he was looking to create a source of clean, limitless energy from spirit vines and was horrified at the idea of weaponizing them.
  • Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: However, while he supports the Southern Water Tribe and Team Avatar, he's only helping out of self-interest and to spite Unalaq, and then it is shown he is still a shrewd and ruthless businessman by essentially scamming Asami out of her business.
    • Later on in the series however, he's gained a touch of sincerity.
  • Joker Immunity: It seems nothing can contain him, and he survives either by cunning or dumb luck. Vaatu's attack during Harmonic Convergence destroyed his prison and allowed him to escape. He even lampshades this saying that the universe saw fit to set him free.
  • Karma Houdini: Varrick is jailed for kidnapping President Raiko but this just means chilling out in a luxury prison suite, and he escapes shortly afterward anyway. Then he takes up residence in Zaofu and continues business as usual.
  • Keet: An odd adult example. His energy level is about the same as Meelo most of the time.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: In Season 2, he attempted to kidnap Unalaq, as he rightfully deserved it. It failed thanks to Korra's interference.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: After Varrick got caught in Book 2, it later became evident that his plan was far from salvageable, so during Vaatu's attack, he makes a getaway, knowing that he wouldn't last a week with Vaatu's fury.
  • Lack of Empathy: In Season 2, Varrick attempts to escalate the Water Tribe Civil War all for the sake of war profiteering. When he gets confronted by the gang about that, he shows indifference about that, his power grab of Sato Industries, and framing Mako and getting him sent to jail. In Season 4, he finally undergoes a Heel–Face Turn after realizing the trying to weaponize the Spirit Trees is dangerous. He's horrified that he is developing a conscience (though more that it's like having voices in his head).
  • Ladykiller in Love: Although, the "ladykiller" part is more of an Informed Attribute. During Book 4, Varrick realizes his feelings for Zhu Li and marries by the series finale.
  • Large Ham: One of the largest hams in either series. He often has No Indoor Voice and almost always accentuates his bombastic speaking with large physical movements.
  • Last-Name Basis: Only in the finale do we find out Varrick actually was his last name the whole time.
  • Laughably Evil: Despite all the less than legal, morally questionable things he has done, it's very hard to hate him, even as a villain. Even when he's threatening his victims, he adds good honest humor in the process.
  • Lesser of Two Evils: In comparison to Vaatu, he's just a greedy, yet diabolical human, not some world ending disaster. Despite this, trusting him was just as costly as trusting Unalaq.
  • Loophole Abuse: Varrick tries to perform questionable acts within legal boundaries, but he still commits other crimes in the process of said abuse:
    • Varrick blew up the Southern Water Tribe Cultural Center during a peaceful demonstration and says this is okay because he owns the building. While he does indeed have every right to blow up his own property, he did it without warning.
    • Varrick was never given a trial to confirm his complicity in his crimes, but he still escaped prison and avoided trial, which are still pretty serious offenses themselves.
  • Lovable Coward: He continuously hid from Unalaq's men after a failed assassination attempt on the Chief, but he did this because he was sure the trial would be rigged. Being a non-bender and general non-combatant, he wouldn't be able to do much in the field.
  • Lovable Traitor: He's got it down pat. While Mako and Asami are mad at him for his betrayal, they had to accept his help due to the situation having crossed the Godzilla Threshold. Bolin, however, can't even stay mad at him despite his past actions.
  • Luxury Prison Suite: He had a cell in the prison built into this because he felt he would end up in it.
  • Mad Scientist: After taking refuge in Zaofu, he tends to be a trouble maker as shown when he causes some trouble while he experiments with his new armor. Plus, there are his experiments in Season 4 with the spirit vines, in which he accidentally creates a Fantastic Nuke.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Plays Asami to buy out Future Industries, while acting as if he was helping to save it. Even before that, he managed to start off the Civil War sooner as opposed to letting tensions unravel by themselves. Once all this happens, his plan to escalate the war for personal gain is set in motion.
  • Master of Disguise: Hides in a platypus-bear suit with Zhu Li to evade being arrested. Like everything else about him, he has unorthodox ideas about hiding but he was never detected.
  • Mentor Archetype: Seems to take up this role with Bolin, giving him tips on dealing with Eska and getting him into a career as a movie star.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: When Varrick first expressed reservations and doubts about building Spirit-based weaponry, Kuvira really should've made some attempt to talk him down or manipulate him into seeing things her way. Instead she threatens to throw him off a moving train at the first sign of dissent; he switches sides shortly after.
  • Moment Killer: He's guilty of this as much as Unalaq. He is quite rude to the point of popping up in the middle of serious events, such as immediately barging in after Unalaq's speech or testing a magnetic suit of armor on a room where Korra and Suyin were discussing the latter's relationship with her sister. In book 4 he kills his own moment with Zhu Li after he saves her from falling off the train by telling her to clean up the mess he made.
  • Motor Mouth: When forging a deal or showing off a product it's hard to keep up with him. It's quite likely that this is the point.
  • Muggle: A non-bender.
  • Nice Hat: Wears one while driving a boat in a platypus-bear suit... on the bear's head, not his own.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Though "hero" was rather questionable in both instances:
    • By sending his men to attack Unalaq, Varrick helped Unalaq find an excuse to screw over Tonraq, which almost got Tonraq killed, causing a chain of events that led to a civil war. In hindsight, though, he had Unalaq accurately pegged from the start. If anything, he merely sped up a confrontation that would have happened anyway, and in doing so kept Unalaq from consolidating his plans first. The worst part, though, is that Tonraq would've ended up in prison at the North Pole had it not been for Korra's intervention, and Unalaq's plans to unleashing apocalypse have been accelerated. It turns out that failing works out for him anyway, because it was all part of the plan. Varrick still got his war, and his escape allows him to profit off it. On the other hand, if he had successfully captured or killed Unalaq, it would have diffused the plan to release Vaatu at a very early stage in the plot, but it would still provoke a war he can profit from.
    • He accidentally created an artificial version of Vaatu's energy beam attack while trying to harness spirit-vine energy to create an unlimited clean power source. While Varrick realized this was a huge mistake and immediately tries to shut the experiment down, Kuvira forced him to weaponize it.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!:
    • Varrick unknowingly does this to Unalaq. Had it not been for Varrick's plan to attack Unalaq and start a civil war and exploit it for profit, Korra likely never would have discovered her uncle's true nature, or at least it would have taken her far longer.
    • Also extends to Future Industries - after he conned Asami into selling him a controlling interest, he resuscitated the flailing Future Industries to expand his own enterprises. When he was thrown in prison, however, the company defaulted back to Asami due to the fraudulent nature of the acquisition, giving her control of a fully revitalized Future Industries.
  • No Man Should Have This Power: Varrick had been interested in using the spirit vines as a clean source of energy. After running a test however, it produced a giant spirit ray, and he concluded it was too unstable and too powerful for anyone, especially him, to handle. When he learned what Kuvira was going to use it for, he had to shut down the project because it was even more dangerous to let someone like her have access to that kind of power.
  • Nominal Hero: Though he's on the heroes' side, his participation is out of self-interest. He's not helping the good guys for the independence of the Southern Water Tribe, he's only rebelling just to get back at Unalaq for threatening his business. And to make money, of course. Later on, it became evident that he's no hero and that he was only playing everyone else.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: He is a very skilled tactician and can plan successful false flag operations, but he wouldn't be useful in the field of combat.
  • Not Actually the Ultimate Question: It's hard to tell if he was being serious.
    Asami: Varrick? What are you doing here?
    Varrick: Good question, Asami! I mean, what are we all doing here? Food for thought.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Also counts as Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!. He tries to remind the Krew of everything he's done for them after they have a falling out.
    Varrick: Korra, who warned you about Unalaq? I did! Bolin, who got you into the movers? I did! Asami, who saved your company? I did! Mako, who got you thrown in jail?! I did! Oh yeah, I guess that was a bad thing.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Apparently once had similar relationship-issues-with-crazy-waterbender as Bolin had in season 2.
    • Near the end of season 4, he's describing growing up on a farm, and casually mentions "this was before the circus people came and took me away." No further explanation is given.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Varrick didn't care much for Korra's cause and independence. He may be focused on making money off of the war, but did want to stick it to Unalaq, so they had a common enemy.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Acts like an eccentric to hide a rather devious mind. When Mako was convincing Lin to hear his idea that exposes Varrick, Varrick immediately acted obnoxious making Lin stop wanting to hear them out.
  • Oblivious to Love: Doesn't grab it when Zhu Li confess to him "you mean the world to me" up until he proposes to her.
  • Obviously Evil: Played With. When we see him in Book 2, he doesn't hide his intentions and greediness, and his demeanor gives off the impression that he's an enemy one is supposed to be fighting. Even when he makes his intentions clear, anything evil about him is beneath notice because it doesn't sound out of place with his usual personality. However, he's the least malevolent of any antagonist who appears.
  • Odd Friendship: With Bolin, after Bolin notes he wasn't actually levitating. He even gives Bolin tips on how to deal with a crazy girlfriend (put simply: ditch the chick). After he's arrested, Bolin is the only one who still likes him, though it helps that Varrick has done nothing but make him famous.
  • Oh, Crap!: After taking everything in stride for so long, it's quite shocking when he finally has one of these at Zhu Li's betrayal.
  • One-Man Industrial Revolution: Over the course of the series, Varrick creates moving pictures (and film industry), a battlecruiser, a maglev train system and his setting's equivalent of nuclear fusion.
  • Only in It for the Money: This becomes more clear after The Reveal during "The Sting". Varrick was serious about wanting to defeat Unalaq, but he wanted to kill two birds with one stone; not only would he defeat Unalaq, but he would make money doing so.
  • Only Sane Man: For all his greed and self-serving motivations, he's the first person to know that Unalaq was up to no good from the very moment Unalaq brought his blockade, and he's the first person to defy him. On top of that, he knew Unalaq was going to rig the rebels' trial. Too bad Korra couldn't take Varrick seriously.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: He even lampshades it when his own conscience is telling him to stop working on the spirit vine tech instead of him focusing on all the money he could make something is very wrong with the situation.
  • Out of Focus: He doesn't appear much in Book Three, but is on decent terms with Team Avatar, and lends them some rather key advice regarding Aiwei's potential treachery.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • He shows he does have some lines he won't cross after all. After he gets caught, he apologizes and lets the protagonists use his battleship. And he points out that he did help them out at some points (such as warning Korra about Unalaq and getting Bolin into acting). He does get stuck in this line of thinking, saying how he saved Asami's company, but he's part of the reason it was in trouble in the first place. The only true act of generosity without any monetary motivation was giving Team Avatar his battleship.
    • In Book 4, as a scientist he turns out to have some level of ethics as he decided to shut down the spirit vine project after it proves to be too dangerous, believing that it could prove destructive in the wrong hands. Unfortunately for him, it's already in the wrong hands: Kuvira, his research benefactor.
  • Playing Both Sides:
    • Supported both candidates in the Republic City presidential election, just to hedge his bets.
    • To an extent he tried to do this in order to create a huge war he can profit from, by antagonizing both sides into the conflict. First, he sent his rebels to attack Unalaq, and it led to a civil war regardless of whether or not the attack failed. Then to add more fuel to the fire, he antagonized Republic City by planning a series of false flag operations that implicate the Northern Water Tribe. He even had his goons dressed in Northern military uniforms attack the president, but that failed.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Shares this role with Bolin in the second season, even if he turned out to be an antagonist.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Varrick had a backup plan to retrieve his men in case they failed to capture Unalaq. Based upon how he treated Zhu Li, Varrick wasn't known to treat his underlings well, but he knew his resources were limited, rescuing them under the assumption that he'd need all the assets he can get for his plan, so he saw no point being wasteful. Despite this, said rebels switch loyalties to Tonraq.
  • Properly Paranoid: Varrick understands very well what moves the villains will make (because he's an evil mastermind himself)—he knew Unalaq was trying to ruin their people, and knew Unalaq was going to put his men through a Kangaroo Court. Varrick also knew the evidence to identify the inside man in Zaofu fell into place all too quickly, and that made it fishy.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: In Book 4, he sees working with Kuvira as another business venture and scientific endeavor for himself, as opposed to the master schemer he was in Book 2.
  • Rags to Riches: Born a poor seal-hunter's son, he built his shipping business from a single canoe into a global powerhouse.
  • Rebel Leader: He organizes a resistance against Unalaq. However, he is more concerned with the effect Unalaq's blockade is having on his business rather than the continued independence of the Southern Tribe.
  • Redemption Equals Life: Played with. Varrick could not let Kuvira use a spirit weapon for her own purposes, so he decided to blow up his research, and himself along with it. Fortunately, Bolin saved him at the last minute. However, Bolin only did so not because of his change of heart, but because his idea to blow themselves up was outright stupid and reckless.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: He is loud-mouth, insensitive the Red Oni to Zhu Li's practical, nicer Blue Oni.
  • Reluctant Mad Scientist: Upon the creation of said nuke, he immediately shuts down the project. Kuvira however forces him to continue the project lest she decides to execute him.
  • Renaissance Man: Varrick is well-disciplined and knowledgeable in various fields of science, having spearheaded several technological advancements. His breakthroughs include applications of magnetism, such as a high-speed maglev train, and the stabilization of spirit energy, though he later discovered that it was too dangerous for anyone to handle. He is also good at thinking on his feet, being able to create a makeshift electromagnetic pulse device with the aid of a metal table leg and an electric generator as well as being a capable businessman.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: He knew all along that Unalaq was up to no good. However, he doesn't know the full extent of Unalaq's true agenda, which was to free Vaatu. Instead, he made the assumption that Unalaq is threatening his businesses, an assumption he used to rally people behind him. The only thing he got right was that Unalaq was rigging a trial he failed to appear in.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: He's not above bribery or just tossing out money to get his way.
  • Self-Made Man: Varrick had to work from a single canoe to where he is today. Needless to say, that is rather impressive.
  • Shadow Archetype: To Asami; both are nonbending, inventing business people. But Varrick represents a selfish, morally questionable Asami.
  • Shame If Something Happened: To Mako about Asami and Bolin when Mako is trying to reveal his fraud. This was a bluff, though, and Varrick instead opted to frame Mako.
  • Shipper on Deck: During his "retelling" in Remembrances, Varrick tells Bolin that in the story, Opal will eventually forgive him.
  • Sixth Ranger Traitor: To the Krew, though it takes them a while to figure it out. He wants control of any business which will profit off the Water Tribe civil war, and has no problem manipulating or betraying his supposed friends to do it. Even after they get him arrested, he still considers them friends for the most part and states that he's done good things for each of them (save for Mako, who he had framed and arrested).
  • Staring Contest: Engages one with Asami as a means to see her worth as a good business partner. It seems to his way of reading her character.
  • Straight Man and Wise Guy: In Book 4, he's the eccentric, sarcastic Wise Guy to Bolin's serious and reasonable Straight Man.
  • Talking in Your Sleep: Does this after Zhu Li betrays him. He's talking to her.
  • They Do: He eventually realizes Zhu Li's feelings for him, and they get married.
  • This Means War!: His happy-go-lucky persona only goes so far. When his business is threatened, he's willing to go to extremes to protect his interests. He was behind Unalaq's assassination attempt after the latter closed the Southern Water Tribe harbors from traffic, and he still got his war. However, this became a huge mistake on his part. Unalaq's arrival gave him the opportunity to instigate a war make even more profit from it, yet he did not expect that Unalaq would release an evil that will destroy everything, which ultimately compromises his agenda.
  • Token Evil Teammate:
    • To Team Avatar and the Rebels, or at least "Morally dubious", anyway. He's not that evil, just has self-interests which he prioritizes above all-else. His reasons for fighting against Unalaq were rather petty.
    • He's this to his new associates in Zaofu. Unlike the previous Book, however, his behavior borders more on lacking common sense and manners. He is the resident Mad Scientist who tends to be quite rude and insensitive in a setting of refined, serious characters, not to mention throwing in good, honest craziness along the way. For context, one of his co-workers used to be a pirate.
  • Token Good Teammate: Shares this role with Bolin among the Earth Empire - even he thinks Kuvira is going too far, and he is reluctant to continue work on the spirit vine project due to the potential for it to fall into the wrong hands.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: His Character Development in Book 4 has him growing a conscience and also realizing his feelings for Zhu Li, leading to him asking for her hand in marriage (in his own way).
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Agrees to help Team Avatar resolve the conflict with Unalaq and the Northern Water Tribe. A couple of episodes later, they're helping him smuggle weapons and manufacture racist, exploitative propaganda movies in order to further his elaborate war-profiteering scam. It's remarkable how logical the progression between these two points seems at the time...
  • The Triads and the Tongs: He's not above hiring them to further his interests, but he finds ways to be blameless when they're involved.
  • Turncoat: He only rebelled against Unalaq and the Water Tribe because he believed it will benefit him personally, which in this case, is profit. Unalaq's arrival gave him the opening he needed, and was the only one who could help the heroes escape Unalaq's wrath. As helpful as he was at first, he was merely a traitor and nothing more. He then turns from Team Avatar to continue his own agenda.
  • Villain Has a Point: Even though Team Avatar ended up Unwitting Pawns to Varrick's scheme, everyone, save for Mako, got something that benefited them in the process. You can't really argue with him when he states that his less than altruistic actions helped them. Case in point, he knew Unalaq couldn't be trusted, and that was a game changer.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Despite rumors of connections with organized crime, Varrick is well-respected and very influential. After he's exposed as a villain and breaks out of prison, he just migrates to Zaofu and sets up shop there. Suyin is aware that he is a criminal, but was willing to give him a second chance.
  • Villainous Underdog: Varrick is the poster boy for this trope. He's not a bender, not a spirit and especially not even a Badass Normal, yet he ends up being a threat to be reckoned with. Varrick is just a Corrupt Corporate Executive who relies solely on strategy and subterfuge to successfully execute an elaborate Evil Plan that would make him rich. He pulled it off rather gloriously for much of his arc in Book 2.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: He develops this relationship with Bolin in Book 4.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: Proposes to Zhu Li with "will you do the thing for the rest of our lives?".
  • War for Fun and Profit: Sets up a string of false-flag operations to escalate the Water Tribe civil war whilst conning Team Avatar into helping him make a buck by selling them weapons, all the while driving Future Industries into bankruptcy so he can buy a controlling interest and earn more money off the sales.
    Varrick: If you can't make money during a war, then you just plain can't make money!
  • Wealthy Yacht Owner: Along with being rich, he owns an luxurious yacht.
  • What Is This Feeling?: He needs Zhu Li to tell him that he's developing feelings of empathy and a conscience.
  • White-Collar Crime: Varrick defrauded Asami into selling him controlling interest by stealing Future Industries merchandise while she was distracted.
  • Who Needs Enemies?: Varrick wanted to stop Unalaq as much Korra did, but he only wanted to help them because he felt Unalaq was threatening his business. Varrick wanted more from fighting against Unalaq. He masterminded an attack on Unalaq which would result in a civil war, regardless of whether or not Korra intervened. Then, he exploits the heroes' need for military support to advance his scheme of bringing the United Republic to war so that he can make a profit from it. Varrick betrays them by secretly plotting terrorist attacks and defrauding Asami, and only Mako knew of this betrayal.
  • Wicked Cultured: He has good taste in luxury and clothing and affords all of it with dirty schemes in business.
  • Wild Card: Ultimately, Varrick is loyal to himself above all else and will use anyone as long as he can profit from them, even people that he seems to honestly like such as Team Avatar, or Kuvira, the latter of which backfired on him horribly.
  • The Wonka: Despite being a rather manic character, he is evidently a very influential businessman. For instance, his idea of testing Asami of how good she'd be as a business partner involved a brief Staring Contest. His voice actor, John Michael Higgins, describes him as "part Rupert Murdoch, part Thomas Edison, part Bozo the Clown."
  • Xanatos Gambit: He's constantly setting things up so he'll come out ahead regardless of the outcome. As he says, "You gotta hedge your bets!"
    • Whether or not Korra foiled his attempted kidnapping/assassination of Unalaq would've yielded the same result anyway—a pretext for war.
    • Making money off the civil war; does he care who wins? Only that Unalaq loses. note 
    • Donating heavily to both sides of an election so he has influence with the eventual winner.
    • Creating a luxury prison suite in case he was caught and a hang-glider to escape from it if he wanted too.
  • You're Insane!: He was on the receiving end of this when he set the spirit vine power generator to overload as a gambit to escape Baatar Jr.

    Zhu Li 

Zhu Li Moon
"Zhu Li, do the thing!!"

Voiced by Stephanie Sheh

Varrick's personal assistant.

  • Ascended Extra: Started off as a Satellite Character, but got more importance, screentime and characterization in Book 4. Continued on in Turf Wars where she's not only organizing the refugees more (read: at all) than President Raiko, but she's offering Varrick Global Industries' resources to fix the housing problem without Varrick in sight and if that's not enough, Part 2 reveals she plans to run against Raiko in the election, with Part 3 revealing she won!
  • Badass Adorable: Both Varrick and Bolin give her high praises. She may be a very cute young woman, but she's not nearly as helpless as she looks. Varrick says she carried him for 20 miles a day with a sprained ankle, and she's an extremely capable mech-suit pilot.
  • Battle Butler: While she typically performs tasks such as making tea or starting a film projector, when she, Varrick, and Bolin are escaping in Mini-Mecha, she holds her own very well.
  • Battle Couple: With Varrick, briefly. Though they've mostly worked on the tech side of things, they go into the field against Kuvira's giant mech right after he proposes to her.
    Varrick: Now let's go attach these barely functioning rust buckets to a giant killer smashing machine!
    Zhu Li: It's exactly how I always pictured our engagement!
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Poor girl has to constantly be on the move with a boss like Varrick barking orders every two minutes. She even ends up in the same Luxury Prison Suite as he does.
  • Benevolent Boss: As Bolin's boss, once she becomes President and he starts working for her. She lets him take time off from work to help Korra with Avatar stuff.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Zhu Li is more kinder and sensitive than Varrick, but knows how to handle a mecha suit and to tell off Varrick for being a jerk.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: She's quiet and reserved, but can be cold and ruthless when in battle.
  • Character Development: Book 2 and 3 has Zhu Li following whatever command Varrick gave her, no matter how ridiculous. However, come Book 4, she gets fed up with his insensitivity and ungratefulness towards her and the actions she's done to only support him. And even after she was revealed to be a Fake Defector, she stands her ground when he reverts to his old ways.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Again, she's Varrick's personal assistant.
  • The Comically Serious: The fact she never changes her tone of voice in spite of sharing a Platypus Bear suit with her boss for what was implied for over a day, she being the one carrying him, and staying there even while on the boat puts her on par with Tenzin.
  • Defiant to the End: When Kuvira finds out she was a Fake Defector and sabotaged the spirit ray:
    "You are a monster! I regret nothing!"
  • The Dog Bites Back: She fakes this against Varrick to gain Kuvira's trust. Played straight when they reunite and Varrick simply treats her as a lackey after she spills her heart out to him, at which point she demands to be treated as an equal.
  • Emotionless Girl: It takes a lot to ruffle her calm, stoic exterior; for 2 and a half seasons, she hardly ever speaks or changes the expression on her face. Like Mai in the original series, her ability to control her emotions and hide her true thoughts gives her an advantage over the villainess who believes there's nothing dangerous beneath the surface.
  • Evil Duo: With Varrick. She's the superego, always calm, cool, and stoic, no matter what insane situation Varrick drags her into. She and Varrick later drop the "evil" part.
  • Face Death with Dignity: After Kuvira orders her death once her sabotage comes to light, she remains as unflappable as ever, with no hint of a breakdown in sight.
  • Fake Defector: Her defection to Kuvira was a complete lie in order to get closer to the spirit vine project.
  • First-Name Basis: It isn't known that she even has a surname until the finale when Varrick proposes to her.
  • Girl Friday: Her job description is simply "Zhu Li, do ___."
  • Good All Along: She only pretended to switch sides.
  • Happily Married: In the comics, she is this with Varrick who makes good on his promise of treating her as an equal and helps her get elected as President of the United Republic.
  • Hidden Depths: Despite her Servile Snarker and The Comically Serious tendencies, it seems she may be just as crazy as Varrick considering how she dreamily notes that "Attaching [a] barely-functional rustbucket to a giant killer Smashing Machine!" is how she always pictured her and Varrick's engagement.
  • Human Pack Mule:
    • She's forced to carry all the luggage.
    • Taken to Made of Iron levels when we learn that after Varrick's escape at the end of Book 2, she carried him twenty miles on a sprained ankle.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: This is a woman who can be told "do the thing", knows unquestioningly what "the thing" is and never makes a mistake while "doing the thing". When Varrick has to use Bolin as a substitute, he has to do all the work himself because Bolin simply can't keep up.
    • This is an asset during Turf Wars in organizing the relief effort like a well-oiled machine while Raiko is simply concerned with reelection.
  • Ignored Enamored Underling: Zig Zagged. It's implied that the reason she put up with Varrick for so long is due to having a crush on him whilst he is Oblivious to Love and continually takes her for granted. However, in Season 4 she betrays him due to his mistreatment of her and lists the ways in which he's made her suffer over the years. Whilst this was all a ruse to get closer to Kuvira it is implied that she drew on genuine feelings and it is enough to make Varrick undergo Character Development. When they reunite he proposes to her.
  • Informed Attribute: Played for Laughs as Varrick claims that she's a cold, heartless war machine out of the blue, when she'd really not shown herself to be anything like that. She proves that she can fight by piloting a Mini-Mecha in "Enemy at the Gates".
  • I Regret Nothing: Said word for word when she is revealed to have never actually betrayed Varrick and was actively working on sabotaging the spirit vine weapon. Cold, heartless war machine indeed.
  • Ironic Echo: After Kuvira lets up on her, she tells the guards to take Varrick away.
    Zhu Li: Guards, do the thing!
  • Living Emotional Crutch: When Varrick believed that Zhu Li betrayed him to join up with Kuvira, he fully intended to die on the train with the spirit vine cannon.
  • Love Martyr: She always does anything Varrick tells her to do and remains by his side, no matter how much he treats her as a slave. At last she has enough, confronts him about his lack of appreciation of her efforts and demands that he treat her as an equal. Varrick's marriage proposal comes swiftly after this.
  • Meaningful Name: "Zhu Li" is Chinese for "assistant".
  • Meganekko: A very cute woman in glasses.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: She betrays Varrick and pledges her loyalty to Kuvira once she finally gets fed up with Varrick's antics and his poor treatment of her, though it's later revealed that she was simply trying to get close enough to Kuvira to sabotage her superweapon. However, she really was fed up with Varrick not treating her like an equal.
  • Muggle: A nonbender.
  • Nerves of Steel: In "Operation Beifong", she really proves how badass she is as her betrayal of Varrick was an act in order to get closer to Kuvira's superweapon and sabotage it. She nearly succeeds, until Kuvira finds a missing part of the superweapon on her person with her metalbending. Even then, she stands up to Kuvira and straight up calls her a monster.
  • Nice Girl: Zhu Li is more polite, reasonable, and tolerable than Varrick. Bolin, at one point, tells Varrick that he's amazed that Zhu Li worked for a guy like him for so long.
  • Nice Hat: She gets a little cap as part of her uniform in Kuvira's army.
  • Not So Stoic:
    • In "Enemy at the Gates", she fakes pledging her loyalty to Kuvira and calls out Varrick on his poor treatment of her.
    • "Operation Beifong" has her show panic and worry when the spirit ray is overloading, and true contempt for Kuvira when her plan is exposed.
  • One Steve Limit: Has the same name as one of Varrick's ships. It's a battleship. He named it after her specifically; as Varrick says, "They're both cold, heartless war machines!"
  • OOC Is Serious Business: In "Day of the Colossus":
    Varrick: Zhu Li, do the thing!
    Zhu Li: I'm afraid there are no more things left to do.
  • Phrase Catcher: "Zhu Li! Do the thing!"
  • Punny Name: Her name sounds like Julie, one of the most common secretary/assistant names in fiction.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: As President, she's basically everything Raiko wasn't, and Krew are understandably way more happy to meet with her to discuss matters. It helps that she actually invites Korra to do that at all, rather than leaving her shut out. Also, she provides snacks.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The The practical nicer Blue Oni to Varrick's loud-mouth, insensitive Red Oni.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Averted. Zhu Li betrays Varrick, prompting Kuvira to ask why she should be spared. Zhu Li speaks ill of Varrick to make her Face–Heel Turn and Undying Loyalty to Kuvira look convincing, granting her a pardon. However, this proved to be a momentary lapse of judgement on Kuvira's part, as Zhu Li was actually a Fake Defector who wanted to stay behind and sabotage Kuvira's efforts.
  • Satellite Character: She started out as Varrick's quiet assistant, though she did have her own characterizations. In Book 4, however, she gets more development separately from him.
    • Turf Wars completely averts this as she's organizing the relief efforts without Varrick and only his/their company's name is dropped where he doesn't appear until Part 2 where he takes a backseat as supportive husband (after realizing that she wants the massage,) to her aspirations in running against Raiko in the election.
  • Servile Snarker: When Varrick mentions how long it would be before they would be ordered around on eating their cookies, she replied "In a few days" with a deadpan tone.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Often looks like a small mousy woman, but she's quite ravishing in her wedding dress, and had enough attraction on Varrick to momentarily stupefy him when he was about to propose.
  • Shipper on Deck: Urged Opal to forgive Bolin for his mistake.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: One would think Zhu Li falls under All Girls Want Bad Boys because of her love for Varrick who has done some morally grey actions all in the pursuit for money. However, Zhu Li reveals that she fell in love with him because of his brilliant mind. Also, Zhu Li refused to work with Varrick until he started treating her as an equal and with equal respect.
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: She's wears glasses and is the sane, practical one of her duo with Varrick.
  • The Stoic: She's very serious and unemotional most of the time.
  • Subordinate Excuse: She has always had romantic feelings for Varrick, which would explain why she's still his assistant despite how exhausting it is.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: She comes off as cold and blunt, but she's also very loving and loyal towards Varrick, and once someone gets to know her, they realize she's actually quite friendly.
  • They Do: Varrick eventually realizes her feelings for him, and they get married.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Varrick as she is constantly at his side and "doing the thing", no matter what that thing is. However, at the end of "Enemy at the Gates", she finally loses her cool and slams Varrick for all the times she's had to do ridiculous things for him, and pledges her utmost loyalty to Kuvira. However, that turns out to be a front as she just wanted to get closer to her to sabotage the superweapon and later makes it clear that she was always loyal to him above all else. She also demands to be treated as an equal.
  • Unholy Matrimony: Zhu Li has always had romantic feelings for Varrick, had no qualms being complicit in his crimes, and has always been wanting to enter into a relationship with Varrick. However, it isn't until after their Heel Face Turns that they really hit it off, and by the time they get married, the "unholy" part is gone.


New Air Nation

"It's safe to come out, everyone! The Airbenders are here!"

After Harmonic Convergence passed, non-benders around the globe spontaneously started exhibiting abilities in airbending. Team Avatar and Tenzin's family set out on a quest to gather them up in an endeavor to rebirth the Air Nomad nation. This section covers those new airbenders not covered in other categories. For others, reference Opal in the Beifong Family section, or Commander Bumi in the Tenzin's Family section.

  • All-Loving Hero: The New Air Nation seeks to help maintain peace in the world and took an oath not to instigate violence.
  • Blow You Away: They have the newfound ability (new to them, anyway) to airbend. Since very few people have faced airbenders in combat before, and proficient airbenders have peerless evasive skills, they are a force to be recokned with.
  • The Cavalry: Jinora leads them in a combined effort to force Zaheer to the ground when he was about to win, allowing Korra to take him down.
  • Combination Attack: The most devastating attack the Airbenders can unleash upon a foe as a group are giant whirlwinds, capable of drawing down flying enemies, blowing away soldiers and slowing down mecha-troopers, or even throwing off the aim of Colossi with Spirit-profaning super-weapons.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: Very few of them have any natural aptitude in airbending, so they are incredibly obtuse in its use. Under the tutelage of Tenzin and his children, they eventually get better.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: After the timeskip, the airbenders dispense with the traditional Air Nomad monk robes and now wear formfitting wingsuits that eliminate the need for a glider staff as a flight aid, though its design still pays homage to traditional vestments with its red-orange-yellow coloration. According to the NYCC 2014 panel, Asami invented them.
  • Mass Super-Empowering Event: They all manifested these abilities after the Harmonic Convergence.
  • Melting Pot: Since the original Air Nomads were exterminated a long time ago, people getting Airbending through Harmonic Convergence are all non-benders from the other nations. So far, their known recruits include the last descendants of the original Air Nomads (Tenzin's family), a Republic City citizen (Daw), an Airbender acolyte of unknown origin (Otaku), a member of the Bei Fong family from Zaofu (Opal) and several Earth Kingdom citizens, mostly from Ba Sing Se. Tenzin places a lot of effort into teaching them the Air Nomads' philosophy, history and customs in an attempt to rebuild the culture.
  • One Riot, One Ranger: Once they take on their watchman-like duties, their low numbers constrain them to invoke this trope. It's not precisely one "ranger", but they send less than you'd expect to handle a crisis. It's deconstructed when the governor of Yi points out that it's not nearly enough to fight the hundreds of bandits in the countryside.
  • Order Reborn: The whole point of their story arc in Book 3 is to rebuild the Air Nomads after they were exterminated by the Fire Nation as the starting point of Last Airbender. Regardless, their numbers are still fairly small, as noted in the Book 4 premiere.
  • Reality Ensues: Despite Tenzin's claims that the Air Nation would fulfill Korra's duties during her recovery, that ultimately was not the case. While the new Air Nation were able to help out a number of people in the Earth Kingdom and proved to be a good fighting force, their numbers are far from being enough to keep a large continent stable. This allowed for Kuvira to take over the nation since some of the areas had no choice but to submit to her since the Airbenders were not enough to save them. Continued on in Turf Wars, they can put up a good fight, but they still call in Korra's team against the triads.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Following the Time Skip, the new Air Nation has evolved into a global peacekeeping force, albeit one spread thin on account of the Earth Kingdom being a large continent and their own membership being somewhat small. Still, the mere sight of Kai and Opal in airbender gliding suits was enough to scare a bandit gang raiding a village, so they must have a good reputation.
  • We Help the Helpless: After Korra gets waylaid by the Red Lotus, and President Raiko voices concern over the state of the world during her convalescence, Tenzin and his airbenders take up the mantle of upholding the well-being of the world in her stead; a stark contrast from the detached nature of previous Air Nomad culture before the genocide. They may not be successful, but they'll do their best.

    Tenzin's Family 
Master Tenzin and his airbender children formed the cadre that trained the New Air Nation members in how to use their new Airbending powers. Additionally, his brother Bumi manifested Airbending powers after the Harmonic Convergence. For tropes pertaining to them, visit this page.


Don't let that smile fool you.
Click here for his Book 4 appearance 

Voiced by: Skyler Brigmann

An Earth Kingdom citizen and new airbender thanks to Harmonic Convergence. He takes up the offer to join the Air Nomads to escape the police chasing him.

  • The Ace: Downplayed. Though not nearly as trained and skilled as Jinora or Tenzin, he is probably the most intuitive of all the new airbenders with the power, save perhaps Opal.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Noticeably on the browner side of the Earth Kingdom.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Initially acts like this towards Mako and Bolin, given his lying nature and ungratefulness. Kai ends up getting Mako and Bolin lost in Ba Sing Se.
  • The Artful Dodger: He seems to be very comfortable with his life in the streets and likes to steal way too much. He even robbed the family that tried to adopt him. Some time under the Dai Li's boot disabused him of this tendency.
  • Badass Adorable: Averted, initially given his backstabbing ways. Played straight after his brief imprisonment, where he shows his more noble side and apologizes to Mako and Bolin for his actions.
  • Battle Couple: Downplayed with Jinora. They become a couple by Book 4 and have proven to be competent airbenders, but rarely fight together. The one time they worked together, it was a covert mission, and they didn't have to engage in violence once.
  • Beta Couple: He and Jinora qualify probably to every other (non-married) couple, including Bolin/Opal, given that the couple have the least drama or relationship problems.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Has thick eyebrows.
  • Big Damn Hero: Thanks to surviving P'Li's blast, he was able to fake his own death and determine this fellow students' location and the Red Lotus' plan with them. He also managed to save Bolin and the others as the Northern Air Temple was crumbling to pieces.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: He's a self-centered, ungrateful troublemaker with some serious attitude problems. Mako sees him as nothing more than a nuisance, but the others try to justify Kai's behaviour by the fact that he's still just a kid.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Pre-Character Development, even though he proved to be quite talented, Kai only used his airbending skills to steal from the rich.
  • The Bus Came Back: Somewhat, while he reappears for Book 4 episodes 11, 12, and 13, he doesn't speak at all in any of the episodes.
  • Character Development: Goes from screwing over anyone who helps him for his own gain, getting into trouble, to then being willing to sacrifice his life for his fellow airbenders over the course of Book 3. Lampshaded by himself during the Season 3 finale; when Mako mentions how he used to give Kai a hard time, and Kai says that he probably deserved it back then.
  • Child Prodigy: He appears to be the most promising of all the new airbenders during "Original Airbenders" in terms of skill.
  • Child Soldiers: Was almost forced to becomes one when he was captured by the Dai Li.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Before Character Development, Kai had no problem using people for his own gain.
  • Demoted to Extra: After playing a main role in Book 3, he is prominently seen with Opal helping an Earth village in episode 1 of Book 4 and then isn't seen again until episode 11, where he has a non-speaking role, additionally the case in episodes 12 and 13.
  • Disney Death: Blown out of the sky by P'Li. He comes to a few hours later after his new baby bison friend Lefty rescues him hanging upside down from a little tree.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Kai may be a thief who has no problem with backstabbing, but being kidnapped by the Dai Li showed that he draws the line of doing actual physical harm to other people.
  • Expy: DiMartino reveals: "He was a little big of Aang, a little bit of Wan — we wanted to have an adventurous kid with a slightly shadowy background."
  • Friend to All Living Things: Kai takes an instant liking to the baby sky bison and hurting innocent creatures is a major anger point for him.
  • Greed: Kai will do anything for money, including betraying the people who saved him.
  • Happily Adopted: Zigzagged. While the family he was taken into were decent people, Kai repaid them back by stealing their money. He tried again with the Krew and screwed them over, but after tangling with the Dai Li he truly turned over a new leaf.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: Zigzagged. He lies to Team Avatar about how he lost his parents and the revelation that he stole his adopted family's money. Makes it even worse with him backstabbing Team Avatar, after they saved his butt. Then he a Took a Level in Kindness.
  • I Got Bigger: In Book 4, Kai has gotten taller, muscular, and his voice is deeper. This is lampshaded by Bolin.
  • Infant Immortality: He lampshades this, saying that it takes more than a fall and a tree to get rid of him.
  • Instant Expert: He shows excellent potential as an airbender, performing fluid, effective attacks without any prior training. Given many of the traits of being a thief meld well with airbender principles, it makes sense that he'd take to it. Later on, when training at the Northern Air Temple, he's clearly the best of the bunch.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He abuses the trust of the Krew to escape punishment, clearly not intending to join the Air Nomads. He also robbed his adoptive parents. And later robs Mako and Bolin... However, he later shows he's not that bad. While in Dai Li custody, he goes out of his way to help the fellow Airbenders who were captured alongside him, and try not to hurt them. There's also his relationship with Jinora that brings out his better side.
  • Just a Kid: Everyone, especially Lin Beifong treat him as this. However, he is no mere child and doesn't like being treated as one.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: Before turning over a new leaf, Kai was prone to stealing money off of unsuspecting people.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: He gets kidnapped by Dai Li officers after his temptations of stealing gold from the middle ring citizens of Ba Sing Se get the better of him.
  • Marilyn Maneuver: Uses his airbending skills for this to get close to wealthy Ba Sing Se people, helping them recompose themselves while stealing their wallets. In the finale, Jinora uses this same ability to steal the cuff keys from her captors.
  • Meaningful Name: One of the few meanings of his name in Japanese is "restoration", which alludes to him (along with others) restoring the Air Nation.
  • Mysterious Past: Other than him being an orphan, his entire background is shady.
  • Not So Different: Kai apparently isn't too different from Mako and Bolin back in their Street Urchin days. The brothers have opposite reactions to this; Bolin sees Kai as a surrogate little brother in need of guidance, while Mako sees Kai as untrustworthy.
  • Official Couple: With Jinora in Book 4.
  • Opposites Attract: Kai, the sneaky, stealing (before Character Development) Jerk with a Heart of Gold became an Official Couple with Jinora, the polite, rule-abiding Nice Girl.
  • Out of Focus: He only appears in the first, 11th, and final two episodes of Book 4 (and only gets any dialogue in the first), which is a step-down from his primary role assumed in Book 3.
  • Parental Abandonment: He lost his parents under some circumstances, but his story about bandits killing them was clearly a lie.
  • Pet the Dog: Keeps a fellow imprisoned Airbender safe, at the cost of being put in solitary.
  • The Power of Love: Trounces the Drill Sergeant Nasty who grabbed Jinora.
  • Puppy Love: He and Jinora obviously like each other.
  • Put On The Bus: Disappears for ten episodes in Book 4 after appearing in the first episode.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: He is the Red Oni to Opal's Blue Oni, which is best demonstrated in "After All These Years": when the food they had prepared to give to an impoverished village was stolen by a bandit, Kai still jumps right after the said bandit without thinking of a plan, especially after his suit was slashed - an extremely reckless move that could have cost him his life had he been alone. When he begins to lose control and is falling to his death, Opal doesn't move just yet. She waits and listens before taking action.
  • Relationship Upgrade: He and Jinora are friends in Book 3 but have an obvious attraction to each other. By Book 4, they are an Official Couple.
  • Shipper on Deck: Was concerned over the relationship problems between Opal and Bolin.
  • The Sneaky Guy: Kai (pre-Character Development) could steal money with hardly anyone suspecting something.
  • Sticky Fingers: He is a magpie for gold and doesn't care about who he hurts to get it.
  • Street Urchin: A status Mako believes makes it unlikely that Kai has an honest interest in rebuilding the Air Nation, or an interest in anything other than himself for that matter.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Kai is a street urchin, artful dodger, will do anything for money, and is shipped with Jinora. Sounds a lot like Skoochy, Mako and Bolin's "friend" first seen in Book 1.
  • Took a Level in Badass: By the time of "The Ultimatum", he's much braver and more altruistic. By the end of the episode, he is the Northern Air Temple's only hope left.
  • Took a Level in Idealism: At first, Kai only went with Korra and the others to escape punishment. Through being captured by the Dai Li, rescued (again) by Team Avatar, spending time with Jinora, and training as an Air Nomad transformed Kai tremendously; he became a selfless individual who now strives for peace.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: In the episode "In Harm's Way", his harrowing experience in Dai Li captivity and the camaraderie built with his fellow captive airbenders has mellowed him. He is still a magnet for trouble, but for the more light-hearted kind.
  • Tuckerization: Josh Hamilton, who wrote the first episode Kai appeared in, named Kai after his son.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: He was adopted after losing his parents, but repaid that by robbing them blind, and then also proceeds to exploit the hospitality of Korra and company. He loses the ingratitude after running afoul of the Dai Li's conscription/enslavement program for convergence-manifested airbenders.


Click here for Daw before shaving his head 
Voiced by: Jim Meskimen

One of the people empowered with airbending by Harmonic Convergence, and the first recruit to rebuild the Air Nomads.

  • Apologetic Attacker: Before he gets a handle on his airbending (and even after a bit).
  • Back for the Finale: Daw gets a line in the penultimate episode in the two-part finale, still sporting the shaven head and now sporting the Airbender Wingsuit like his comrades.
  • Badass Moustache: He still keeps the mustache, but levels up in the airbending department.
  • Bald of Awesome: He didn't get it willingly, but it certainly comes in handy when it lets him sense danger from behind. Afterwards, he becomes a vocal advocate of head-shaving.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Has thick eyebrows.
  • Blow You Away: Gained airbending thanks to Harmonic Convergence. At first, he suffered from severe Power Incontinence, but thanks to Tenzin's rough training (and shaving) he is now much more refined, down to being able to sense minute disturbances in the very air around him.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Invoked in "A Breath of Fresh Air."
    Tenzin: It is absolutely my pleasure to meet you, Daw. I have never met a new airbender before. Well, at least one whose diapers I didn't have to change.
    Daw: Actually, I just fell off a I could use a fresh diaper right about now.
  • Butt-Monkey: Suffers from this quite a bit in Book 3. He has Power Incontinence when he first gets airbending, is often on the receiving end of Meelo's Drill Sergeant Nasty tendencies, and gets his head shaved by Tenzin only to learn seconds after that it's actually voluntary. The latter at least turned out to be a blessing in disguise when it let him sense an attack from behind, and his misfortune ended after that.
  • Character Development: Daw goes from being terrified of his new Airbending powers to accepting them as an unexpected blessing.
  • Driven to Suicide: Implied, as he ended up on top of a bridge and looked suspiciously like he was thinking of throwing himself off. Thankfully, Korra talked him out of it.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: He really didn't want airbending at first (not surprising, since he didn't have any control over it), but after talking with Korra he decided to give it a shot and become an Air Nomad.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: His bald head allows him to sense the air perturbations preceding an incoming attack from behind. Beforehand, he was despondent that he learned head-shaving was elective after having it done to him. After experiencing the benefits firsthand, he then tries to convince other air nomad recruits to go bald as well.
  • Power Incontinence: He has a very hard time controlling his new airbending, and almost jumps off a bridge to stop endangering people until Korra talks him down. He's gotten over it by mid-season.
  • Took a Level in Badass: While he isn't an Airbending master by the end of the series finale, he shows more acceptance and control over his airbending than he did in his first appearance.


Click here for his Book 4 appearance. 
Voiced by: Jon Heder

One of the new post-Harmonic Convergence airbenders. Despite the urgings of his mother and the Krew, he refuses to do anything with his new powers.

  • Basement-Dweller: His mother urges him to join the other airbenders, but he refuses. And when he does finally get a job, he can't stand his own mother embarrassing him.
  • Character Development: When Ryu first appeared, he was a lazy, Basement-Dweller who wanted nothing to do with the New Air Nation. But, by the end of Book 3, he officially joins. Three years later, Ryu now has a job and takes it seriously. In addition, Ryu is rather disgruntled at his parents visiting him. He then plays a minor, but vigorous role in the final battle against Kuvira.
  • Comic-Book Fantasy Casting: His appearance is based on Ki Hyun Ryu.
  • Hikikomori: He's not a very outgoing person, to say the least. His mom was desperate to get him out of the house and interact with living people for a change.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: He is seen at Jinora's ceremony in traditional airbender robes, indicating that he did eventually join the Air Nation. However, his body language indicates that he's less than enthusiastic. He's like this at his new job, especially when he has to put up with his doting parents or clueless annoying tourists.
  • Like Father, Like Son: We get to see his father in "Beyond the Wilds", and it's pretty clear which of his parents he takes after.
  • Nerd Glasses: Much like those of Ki Hyun Ryu.
  • Refusal of the Call: Completely uninterested in becoming part of the new Air Nation, despite his mother's best efforts. Though the season finale reveals he was eventually talked into doing it.
  • Skunk Stripe: In Book 4, he's bleached most of his hair save a stripe from the top to the back, the overall effect being that his hair roughly matches the pattern of a sky bison's fur. This is to reflect Ki Hyun Ryu bleaching his hair since Ryu's last appearance.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: This shot of Ryu with his parents shows that he inherited all of his physical looks from his father. The only differences being in hairstyle and Ryu having slightly more Perma-Stubble than his father along with also having dyed most of his hair blond.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Goes from a lazy Basement-Dweller to an active Air Nomad who has shown proper control over his airbending.
  • Took a Level in Idealism: When he was first introduced, he had zero goals and found doing something with his life to be meaningless. His appearance at Jinora's ceremony and subsequent appearance in Book 4, shows that Ryu became more serious about his Air Nomad work.


Voiced by: Carlos Alazraqui

A non-bending Air Acolyte who gains airbending after Harmonic Convergence. Due to his previous training, he is already an expert in Air Nomad culture and history.

  • Ascended Fanboy: He was a former Air Acolyte (devoting himself to studying the Air Nomads' culture), who then became an actual airbender through Harmonic Convergence.
  • Jumped at the Call: He had already chosen to devote himself to the Air Nomads' culture long before he became an Airbender, so there was most likely little to do to convince him to join.
  • Meaningful Name: "Otaku" is a Japanese slang term for someone overly enthusiastic about a certain topic; i.e. a "nerd."
  • Nerd Glasses: A small, round pair.
  • Teacher's Pet: Is far more interested in Tenzin's history classes than most of his fellow airbenders.


Voiced by: Dee Bradley Baker

A baby Sky Bison calf that Kai befriends in Book 3. He becomes Kai's Sky Bison companion.

  • Badass Adorable: Introduced as a baby Sky Bison and managed to carry five people, four of whom were grown adults.
  • The Cutie: A baby Sky Bison? Adorable!
  • Giant Flyer: He doesn't start off as one since we see him first as a calf, but he grows into one after the Time Skip.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: After Kai rescued a bunch of the baby bison in "Original Airbenders", one of them takes a shine to him, and Kai dubs the calf "Lefty". After the three year Time Skip, he's grown to full size and serves as the bison mount for Kai and Opal when on deployment.


Voiced by: Dee Bradley Baker

Opal's pet sky bison with chronic respiratory ailments.

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Opal is not particularly pleased that the bison chooses the airbender.
    Opal: And no, you can't pick another one. Trust me, I checked.
  • Giant Flyer: Leaky his nose may be, he's still a faithful sky bison mount to Opal.
  • The Pig-Pen: Constantly running nose, slobbery, and Toph remarks that Juicy smells worse than Appa.

Other Allies

    General Iroh 

"Well, suppose I were to take the fleet South on some routine training maneuvers. And let's say we were to accidentally run into a hostile Northern blockade. We'd have no choice but to defend ourselves, wouldn't we?"
Voiced by: Dante Basco

Leader of the United Forces and Zuko's grandson. His mother is Fire Lord Izumi.

  • 11th-Hour Ranger: In the Book One finale. Royalty of the Fire Nation joining Team Avatar just in time for the final showdown? Apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
  • Ace Pilot: A flying ace — defined as an aviator that shoots down 5 planes — he does so with no prior flying experience, against trained pilots.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: He's the youngest general in United Forces history, meaning it's likely either an honorary title due to his royal blood, or was earned via pure skill and asskickery. His performance during the first season finale strongly suggests the latter.
  • Back for the Finale: He returns for the first time since the second book finale for the series finale in "Kuvira's Gambit."
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: He has some thick eyebrows.
  • Blue Blood: A son of the Fire Nation royal family.
  • The Brigadier: He is the military leader of the United Forces.
  • Captain Obvious: He even channels another famous officer in charge of large fleet.
    Iroh: It's a trick!
  • The Cavalry: Leads the fleet that comes to Republic to assist in the fight against Amon.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Named after Zuko's uncle.
  • Demoted to Extra: His role dwarfs considerably after Book 1, hardly making an appearance in Book 2 and 4. He didn't show up at all in Book 3.
  • Determinator: He must take after Zuko. Even if his entire fleet is overwhelmed, he won't stop fighting. When he's ordered to surrender, he absolutely hates that notion, and would rather go down fighting.
  • Foil: To Lin Beifong. At first, Lin dismisses the idea that she and Korra should be friends because their parents were. Iroh places great faith in Avatar Korra because that is what his grandfather Zuko would have done.
  • Four-Star Badass: He earned every one of those stars with pure badassery. He does more damage to Amon's war machine than the army he commands.
  • Generation Xerox: A high-ranking general from the Fire Nation Royal Family and skilled firebender named Iroh. Just like his maternal great-great uncle.
  • Humble Hero: Despite his senior rank among the United Forces and his status as a member of the Fire Nation Royal Family, Iroh is a humble man, openly showing his sincere gratitude for other people's assistance.
  • Hunk: Tall, chiseled jaw, and muscular.
  • Identical Grandson: He's adult Zuko — same voice, same character design, same badassery, no scars or psychological trauma, and one significant difference in skill: He can lightningbend.
  • Improbable Piloting Skills: By the way he pilots a bi-plane in the Book One finale, would you believe he never piloted one before?
  • Indy Ploy: In his interception of the Equalist force in the finale, it's pretty clear that he was making up his plan on the fly, if you'll pardon the pun.
  • Instant Expert: He is a quick learner, as he was able to figure out how to pilot an Equalist biplane despite his lack of experience with them.
  • Made of Iron: He takes a bomb to the face, and only comes away with some Clothing Damage and burns.
  • Military Maverick: He was perfectly willing to "accidentally" get involved with the Water Tribe civil war as a favor to Korra. President Raiko made sure to cut him off before he had the chance to try. Instead, he just directed Korra to seek help from the Fire Nation.
  • The Mutiny: The fillibusting. He conspires with Korra to drag the United Republic in the War of the Water Tribes after Korra's aid request was refused by the civilian government. Doesn't go through with it after being put on the spot by his commander-in-chief.
  • Nice Guy: A courageous, loyal military badass who's always willing to help.
  • Not Quite Flight: Is quite skilled at using the firebending Recoil Boost tactic to almost-fly; he manages to use it to catch up to a biplane as it was taking off, and later uses it to go from a free-fall to a controlled landing on a moving airplane.
  • Officer and a Gentleman: A United Forces General, capable, and an all around good guy.
  • Offscreen Inertia: At the end of his last scene in Book One, he is left hanging off the flag held up by Avatar Aang's statue.
  • One-Man Army: He takes out an entire squadron of biplanes by himself.
  • Playing with Fire: As typical for a firebender.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: To his chagrin in Turf Wars, as he answers to President Raiko. He is extremely careful not to disobey his orders, though he objects to Raiko directly, warns Korra before he has to implement them, and does the bare minimum of attacking the Air Nation before he asks leave to call it off.
  • Redshirt Army: Forces under his command are completely decimated in every fight they get into (though to be honest, while the Equalists took on him by surprising yet mundane means, his other enemies don't leave much chance). Iroh himself, however, not only survives, but proceeds to single handedly wipe out a fleet of Equalist fighters on their way to bomb the backup fleet.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Prince of the Fire Nation and General in the United Forces.
  • Shock and Awe: Unlike his grandfather (at least in his youth), he can produce lightning.
    • There is a newer, easier, but much weaker version of lightingbending. It's unclear if General Iroh, being the Prince of the Fire Nation was trained in the stronger older technique, or the new one, or even both.
  • Significant Double Casting: He shares the same voice actor as his grandfather.
  • Spin-Offspring: Zuko's grandson.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: Fire Nation royals typically have vibrant gold eyes, and Iroh is no exception.
  • Undying Loyalty: Iroh is very loyal to his friends, willing to do whatever is in his power to help so long as it does not outright defy authority.
  • Universal Driver's License: Takes control of an Equalist biplanenote , a vehicle that he had never encountered prior to his first battle against them. Despite a rocky start, he keeps it under control.
  • Vocal Dissonance: In his first appearance he has the exact same voice used for the teenage Zuko from the previous series, despite looking like he's in his thirties or so. A case of Reality Is Unrealistic, since Dante Basco himself is in his thirties and naturally sounds like that. In the finale itself, when he has more lines, he does use some different inflections from Zuko, but it's still very close.
  • Warrior Prince: He's the prince of the Fire Nation and the leader of the United Forces.

    Prince Wu 

"Okay, I’m just spitballing here, we march in with an army of highly trained badgermoles?"
Voiced by: Sunil Malhotra

Heir to the Earth Kingdom throne, and the great nephew of the Earth Queen.

  • 0% Approval Rating: Downplayed. In "After All these Years", he is shown as having both admiring fans and violent detractors supporting Kuvira. However, during his coronation, no one seems very excited about his appearance at all, while half the crowd goes ecstatic as Kuvira announces her coup. Later on, he's proven to be a hero in his own right by evacuating citizens with Badgermoles, and outsmarting Earth Empire soldiers. On the other hand, people don't like his singing even if it is saving their lives.
  • Abdicate the Throne: After Kuvira is defeated, Wu decides to dissolve the monarchy and allow the various states of the Earth Kingdom to govern themselves in hopes of transitioning into a republic similar to the UR. And then he arrives at the conclusion that if he wants to ensure a successful transition, he will have to be on the throne for however long it takes.
  • Abhorrent Admirer: To any female he comes across, particularly Korra. He seems to give up by the end of the series.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Averted. Wu always learns his lesson, bad experience after bad experience, and by the end, it's clear he took these morals seriously.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Wu's complexion is on the darker side of being an Earth Kingdom native.
  • Audience Surrogate: During the recap episode in season 4 he and Tu gang up to voice the most common fan complaints against Mako's love life.
  • Badass Normal: Becomes this after some Character Development. He has no bending and is not a fighter, but he can still out-think and out-maneuver benders and mecha soldiers.
  • The Beastmaster: During the attack on Republic city, he is able to use his singing to get a couple of badger moles to help him get the last evacuees out and even dispose of some pursuing enemy soldiers.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: In "Day of the Colossus", Prince Wu proves that despite his silliness, he's not someone to underestimate... Particularly if he has a pair of Badgermoles at his command.
  • Big Ego, Hidden Depths: It's subtle, but it's frequently shown that there is more to Wu than meets the eye.
    • In "The Coronation", he shows that despite his ego, he can freely accept criticism. When Mako tells him that while Kuvira is no saint, he's just as unfit for the throne, rather than become angry and defensive, he actually agrees with Mako and admits that he probably wouldn't make a great ruler, stating that no one ever told it to him like that before. This partially influences his decision to ultimately dissolve the monarchy and let the various states govern themselves.
    • In "Operation Beifong, he shows some surprisingly quick thinking when he actually suggests that they evacuate the city in preparation for Kuvira's impending attack. Both Raiko and Mako praise this suggestion, though he freely admits it was just to impress Korra.
    • in "Kuvira's Gambit", he turns out to be an excellent public speaker whose oratory skills convinces the citizens of Republic City to evacuate, especially when Mako's emotionless warning drove the citizens into a panic.
    • In "Day of the Colossus", he again shows that he's surprisingly clever when he uses his singing to convince the Badgermoles to dig a tunnel out of the city and even fakes a Take Me Instead moment to distract three of Kuvira's goons when they corner them.
    • In Ruins of the Empire, he displays a working knowledge of the Dai Li's history of brainwashing to keep control of Ba Sing Se, which Toph commends.
    • He also has a hallucination of his aunt, Earth Queen Hou-Ting, berating him for championing democracy not because he thinks it'll be better for the people, but because he doesn't want the responsibility of ruling when he knows he'll fail. This shakes him pretty hard.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: Similar to Bolin, he has giant eyebrows.
  • Break the Haughty: He undergoes this in "The Coronation", after Kuvira's insurrection. By the end of the episode, he admits to himself and Mako that he'd be a poor ruler, and deserved what happened. While he gets over it in the next episodes, it paves the way for his eventual Character Development and ultimately his decision to dissolve the monarchy and allow the various Earth Kingdom states to govern themselves.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Eventually revealed to be this as he undergoes Character Development. Wu is a talented public speaker and can be quite clever when he puts his mind to it, but his carefree and rather flighty attitude tends to overshadow these traits.
  • Camp Straight: He loves pretty ladies and repeatedly tries to score dates with both Asami and Korra, but he goes to a spa and likes Mako to carry him.
  • Casanova Wannabe: He's a hopeless flirt with the emphasis on "hopeless". He makes repeated — and utterly lame — advances on Asami, who wants nothing to do with him. His attempt with Kuvira goes as well as could be expected and a throwaway line in his song in "Day of the Colossus" shows he still has a crush on her. Korra bluntly shuts him down and he freely admitted to Mako that his suggestion to evacuate the city was another attempt to impress her. The only woman whose heart he does steal is Mako's grandmother, who is a loyalist to the Earth Kingdom's royalty.
  • Catch Phrase:
    • "Wu Down!" This is uttered when ever he has a wimp moment in the face of danger (even if the danger is sparring).
    • He also has "Respect the Brooch!", referring to the one paltry piece of royal jewelry recovered from looting (which is actually an earring). He utters it impotently at jeering Kuvira supporters early on, but eventually interweaves it into the utterly awful singing that commands his badgermoles to dispatch some Earth Empire mecha-troopers in the finale.
  • Character Development: Subtle, but as the season progresses, he becomes a less selfish and more mature individual, which is cemented in the final three episodes where he actively helps with the evacuation process and saves the evacuees from Kuvira's troops with a surprisingly clever plan by using Badgermoles to tunnel out of the city. By the time of Varrick's and Zhu Li's wedding, he decides to abdicate the throne, honestly believing that the Earth Kingdom would be better off dispensing with the notion of hereditary monarchy, and then deciding he should let the people have a choice in the matter rather then forcing change on them.
  • Cincinnatus: Attempts to be this after Kuvira is defeated and the power she stole is effectively returned to him. He intends to transition his country to democracy within a few years, then give the power to his people and retire. However, Wu realizes he's been trying to force change on his people, and learns that first, the people need to know they are in control, and that he should be on the throne to guide them during this transition.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Overly dramatic and believes strawberry jam is blood. When he believes he is allergic to strawberries, he has to be reminded that he's actually allergic to bees.
  • Cowardly Lion: Character Development turns him into one. He has no powers, is not a fighter, and his usual response is to call for help. But when even that's not an option, he proves to be surprisingly clever under pressure.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Despite his foppish exterior, as the series progresses, everyone around him quickly discovers that if you put the pressure on this guy, he will come through.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Suggests using Badgermoles against Kuvira with everyone giving a look of disbelief. Turns out, he wasn't that far off on their usefulness.
  • Cultured Badass: Wu has always been used to the finer things in life. The "badass" doesn't show up at first, but he ultimately proves he's not one to be taken lightly.
  • Distressed Dude: In "Reunion", Earth Empire agents kidnap him and try to smuggle him out of Republic City. Korra, Mako and Asami manage to save him. He learned from this experience and was prepared the next time Earth Empire soldiers pop up.
  • Dumbass Has a Point:
    • In "Beyond the Wilds", Wu suggests that they deal with Kuvira by using a team of trained Badgermoles which seemed stupid at the time, but come "Day of the Colossus", he proves to everyone that Badgermoles can be useful.
    • In "Operation Beifong". Wu is the first person to suggest Republic City be evacuated in order to protect the citizens from the attacking spirit vines and the possibility of an Earth Empire atttack, which Raiko and Mako note is unusually thoughtful behavior for him. Next scene, Wu cheerfully admits to Mako that he said that in order to impress Korra, because "all great deeds are done for the ladies". While his suggestion may be entirely self-motivated, it doesn't stop it from being a good idea.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Wu may be a Casanova Wannabe type, but even he was appalled at how Mako handled his relationships with Korra and Asami.
  • Foil: To Kuvira. Kuvira is efficient, austere, and worked hard to reach where she was. Wu is incompetent, foppish, and inherited the Earth Kingdom. It's not purely positive on Kuvira's side. Wu acknowledges his own shortcomings, accepts criticism from someone, and is respectful (in his own, foppish way) towards foreigners. While Kuvira is known to put dissidents and non-Earth Kingdom natives into re-education camps, reacts poorly to criticism, and can be condescending and smug towards others at times. Also, while Kuvira wanted to reunite the Earth Kingdom into one large Empire, Wu eventually dissolves the monarchy and allows each state to govern itself.
  • Freud Was Right: In-Universe, Wu seems to believe this. In "Beyond the Wilds", he professes the belief that men only ever aspire to greatness in order to impress women.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: While Prince Wu is a rather sweet person and genuinely friendly, his bratty, ditsy, and overtly flirtatious attitude makes it hard for others to do more than tolerate him. The fact that he seems completely oblivious to how negatively his behavior affects others only makes it worse. He gets better as the season progresses. And by the end of the season Mako and Korra have warmed up to him and are proud of his decision to dissolve the monarchy.
  • Good Feels Good: Originally, he's concerned about doing good things to get ladies, wants to date Korra as a reward, and is mostly focused on getting his throne back. While helping the citizens evacuate, he discovered on his own that doing good for others is rewarding in itself. In addition, he makes the decision to abolish the monarchy altogether, because he truly feels it is for the best.
  • Government in Exile: As of "The Coronation", he's technically been officially recognized by the Grand Secretariat and the world leaders as the King of the Earth Kingdom. However, Kuvira withdrawing her support and proclaiming herself leader of the Earth Empire makes his kingship a meaningless title, and he's unlikely to be welcomed back to his home country any time soon. After Kuvira is defeated, he's allowed to claim the throne if he so chooses. Ultimately, he dissolves the Earth Kingdom and allows the various states to govern themselves.
  • Guile Hero: He develops into one as he's leading Republic City evacuees that didn't make it out before Kuvira arrived. While using a pair of Badgermoles to dig their way under the mayhem above-ground, they run afoul of a few enemy mecha-troopers. While keeping their attention with a bad song routine (that was actually flank attack commands to the badgermoles), he doesn't lose his cool at all as the badgermoles dig around behind the troopers and dispatch them. A far cry from "WU DOWN!"
  • The Hedonist: Initially. Wu loves to have fun and live the high life, unfazed and unconcerned about the responsibilities of being a ruler. He even admitted that he was okay with leaving the actual work to the ministers while he lives it up. He grows out of it as the season progresses. After deciding to transition the Earth Kingdom to demoracy, he wants to put all his hard work effort into it.
  • Hidden Depths: Wu has shown to a be a great public speaker and can be surprisingly crafty when he tries.
  • Idiot Hero: Zigzagged. Wu is no doubt a ditzy, Manchild, but he has also shown to be surprisingly crafty.
  • Idle Rich: Spends his days enjoying the perks of his wealth and political importance, much to Mako's annoyance. He slowly gets out of it.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Implied with the way he acted with team avatar he want to befriend them but does not know how.
  • Impoverished Patrician: Due to the fall of the Earth Kingdom's royal family, nearly all the royal treasures he would have inherited have been stolen by looters. He doesn't even have a crown for his coronation.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Bears more than a slight resemblance to his actor Sunil Malhotra.
  • Innocently Insensitive: At his worst, he's this. Wu is a well meaning and genuinely kind person, but he seems completely oblivious to how his behavior rubs people the wrong way at times. In "Beyond the Wilds" he brags to Korra about how he was invited to a meeting with the World Leaders, unaware that Korra is more than a little upset that he was invited over her. Though he does try to cheer her up by saying he recommended she be there and seemed sincere about it.
  • Irony: Kuvira's reason for usurping power from him was that she felt that a monarchy was an archaic system. Surprisingly, Wu echoes her sentiment and dissolves the monarchy, allowing the various Earth Kingdom states to elect their own leaders in a way similar to the republic. As an added layer, by this stage Wu has proven he would be more than mature enough to actually be a good ruler.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: He offers to be taken prisoner so the other refugees don't have to go with Kuvira's goons, but it turns out to be a trick, as he uses a last request to sing, which was really a means to secretly direct the badgermoles to attack.
  • It's All About Me: He's excited about all the pomp and circumstance of his coronation but, as Mako points out, he's done little to prepare for the task of actually ruling a country. He tones it down as the season progresses.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Of a sort. Wu is a bratty, immature egotist, but he's not a complete Jerkass and can be very friendly, though obliviously annoying, to those he really likes such as Mako. If nothing else, he's nowhere as bad as his great-aunt. And as he undergoes Character Development, the heart of gold becomes more prevalent.
  • Lovable Coward: Wu is a nice guy (though he does have his vices), but he is not a fighter by any means and his usual response to danger is to call for help. However, when the chips are down and his back is to the wall, he proves himself to be a surprisingly quick thinker under pressure.
  • Manchild: In "The Coronation", he drives a kid out of a "mini-Ba Sing Se" Earth Palace theme restaurant so he can sit on the throne and pretend to be king. He gets better.
  • Metro Sexual: He actually schedules a 4-hour spa appointment before his coronation.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: He's hedonistic, egotistic, flighty, and a shameless flirt, but ultimately proves to be a genuinely kind soul once you get to know him.
  • Nice to the Waiter: He is friendly to everyone that serves him, be they bathroom attendants or restaurant waiters, and he is nothing if not appreciative of Mako's bodyguarding.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • He has several similarities to Puyi, the last Emperor of China. Both succeeded their great-aunts, had treasures stolen when they came to power, lived hedonistic lifestyles, were set up as Puppet Kings by foreign powers, and were overthrown by the general dispatched to restore order.
    • His decision to dissolve the highly centralized Earth Kingdom monarchy in favor of a more democratic government parallels that of King Juan Carlos I of Spain who upon ascending to the throne worked to dismantle the fascist Francoist regime and transition Spain into a constitutional monarchy. He, however, dissolves the monarchy completely, while Juan Carlos became a constitutional king
  • Non-Action Guy: While surprisingly crafty under pressure, Wu is definitely not a fighter. It's telling that his Catch Phrase is a cry for help.
  • Noodle People: A really slim guy.
  • No Social Skills: Wu show little in social que, thought he get better thought out the season.
  • Oblivious to Hatred: Prince Wu is a rather sweet person and genuinely friendly, who considers New Team Avatar (Korra, Asami, and Mako) the best friends he has. However, Wu's bratty, ditsy, and overtly flirtatious attitude makes it hard for them to do more than tolerate him. It seems Wu is in the dark on how his behavior annoys them. He does get better as the season progresses. By the end of the season, Mako and Korra have warmed up to him and are proud of his decision to dissolve the monarchy.
  • Parental Abandonment: His parents, if any, have never been mentioned. Given that he was next in line for the throne after Hou Ting's death it's strongly implied they're deceased.
  • The Performer King: He really loves demonstrating the dances and pomp he's planning for his coronation ceremony. Although he comes across as The Load at first, his skills as a performer come in handy when he gives a suitably compelling address by radio to help evacuate a city. And even moreso when his singing helps command badgermoles to dig escape tunnels. After that, he feels this is his true calling.
  • Pet the Dog: For a Royal Brat, he has a surprising habit of this.
    • In "The Coronation", after hearing Mako and Bolin's fall out, he decides the best way to cheer him up is to take him to Little Ba Sing Se shopping mall. Note that during said fall out, Bolin insulted Wu, but Wu makes no mention of it and is more focused on cheering Mako up.
    • In "Beyond The Wilds", he seemed sincere about recommending Korra join the meeting of the world leaders after they tried to exclude her.
    • In "Operation Beifong", he suggests evacuating Republic City's civilians on the chance Kuvira attacks the city, though he tells Mako he only did it to impress Korra.
    • In "Kuvira's Gambit", he gives a surprisingly impressive Rousing Speech to help convince the Republic City's civilians to calmly evacuate and later helps Pema with the evacuation process.
  • Properly Paranoid: As much as a goofball he might be, he's very paranoid about going back to the Earth Kingdom and potentially ending up just like his great-aunt. Considering that the Earth Kingdom is filled with pillaging bandits as well as an upstart warlord attempting to build her own power base, he does have a point to be nervous. Those fears are validated in "Reunion" where he nearly ends up kidnapped by Kuvira's agents.
  • Puppet King: Wu has no interest in running the Earth Kingdom on his own, nor is he even really involved in his own ascension to the throne. Kuvira is doing the legwork in uniting the Earth Kingdom so the URN can install him on the throne safely. The day-to-day decisions will be handled by a cadre of advisers sent over with him by the other world leaders, leaving the Earth Kingdom effectively under the control of the other powers. Wu has shown no concern for this, placing more emphasis on the perks of being king rather than the work. However, it's evident that Wu feels the decision was forced upon him, as he admits he wouldn't make a great king. Eventually, he decides to dissolve the monarchy and let the various Earth Kingdom states govern themselves.
  • Rousing Speech: Gives a surprisingly impressive one in Kuvira's Gambit to help calm the citizens and convince them to evacuate.
  • Royal Brat: He's not particularly mean, just self-centered and hedonistic because of his royal title. He slowly grows out of it as the season progresses.
  • Shared Family Quirks: His affinity for animals shows that he inherited something from Great-Grandpa Kuei.
  • Sheltered Aristocrat: Zigzagged He show little in social skills, but is a great public speaker and can be surprisingly crafty when he tries.
  • Shorter Means Smarter: Shorter than Mako, but a lot more clever than Mako can comprehend.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Downplayed. Wu is very self-centered and vain and only cares about the perks of royalty rather than the actual responsibility it entails. Despite his ego, however, he does not view anyone as beneath him and is genuinely grateful to Mako and the gang for all their help. Also, he can take criticism as after Mako chews him out in "The Coronation", he freely admits that he probably wouldn't be a great king. He tones down the ego as the season progresses.
  • Smarter Than You Look: As the season progresses, Wu proves to everyone that he is not as foppish and ditsy as everyone thinks.
  • Straight Man and Wise Guy: He's the lazy, flirting Wise Guy to Mako's stoic, blunt Straight Man.
  • Stylistic Suck: The only people that like his singing are Yin (Mako's royalty-loving grandmother) and badgermoles. But when you're leading an evacuation that's dependent on those badgermoles, that's the only audience you need.
  • Take Me Instead: Invoked in "Day of the Colossus". When he and the evacuees are cornered by Kuvira's troops, he seemingly surrenders in exchange for their safety and as a final request, he asks to sing. Turns out it was all a diversion so he could direct the Badgermoles to attack the troopers from behind. Even so, it was still a risk Wu was willing to take.
  • Those Two Guys: He later develops this dynamic with Mako and Bolin's cousin, Tu. Especially pronounced in "Remembrances".
  • Took a Level in Badass: In the beginning, Wu was just a lazy, Manchild, who expected everything he wanted to come to him. By "Day of the Colossus", Prince Wu manages to get the remaining evacuees out of Republic City and protect them from Kuvira's troops by using his singing to tame the local Badgermoles and have them dig a tunnel out of the city as well as attack the troops.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: While Wu wasn't a bad guy from the start, he did have a massive ego and seemed indifferent to the people of the Earth Kingdom. Come the series finale, Wu, on his own, chooses to dissolve the Earth Kingdom monarchy to let the states democratically govern themselves.
  • Upper-Class Twit: A pampered member of Earth Kingdom aristocracy, and doesn't appear to be very bright. Subverted as he grows out of it as the season progresses.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: He regards Mako as a great friend, to the point of specifically requesting him as his permanent bodyguard, and is completely oblivious to Mako's irritation with him. He's grateful, in his own annoying way, about Mako's help. As the season progresses, they start to become closer friends.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Zigzagged. Wu has no bending, is not a fighter, and can't last two seconds in a training match without cowering in fear. But when the chips are down, he shows he's surprisingly clever and creative and can think on his feet in a pinch.


Zuko's dragon and a descendant of Ran and Shaw.

  • A Dog Named "Dog": Druk in Bhutanese means "Thunder Dragon".
  • Our Dragons Are Different: A bit of a mix between Eastern and Western dragons. He's a winged quadruped, but with a more serpentine body and catfish like mustache lookin' thing on his snout.
  • Spin Off Spring: He's a descendant of Ran and Shaw.

Alternative Title(s): The Legend Of Korra Korras Family


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