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Avatar Netflix series is toning down Sokka, but fans don’t agree with the change: "We gotta stop with needing faves to be unproblematic"

 Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Avatar: The Last Airbender is heading to live action on Netflix next month – but not without a few changes.

In the original Nickelodeon series, the South Water Tribe’s eldest male teenager Sokka undergoes a character arc that turns him from an ignorant child who makes jokes at the expense of women into a more understanding, well-rounded leader.

The Netflix series is softening some of those early edges, however.

"There's more weight with realism in every way," Sokka actor Ian Ousley told Entertainment Weekly. Kiawentiio, who plays Katara, adds, "I feel like we also took out the element of how sexist [Sokka] was. I feel like there were a lot of moments in the original show that were iffy."

Ousley replies: "Yeah, totally. There are things that were redirected just because it might play a little differently [in live action]."

Despite the reasoning behind the shift being laid out, some Avatar fans disagree with the change.

"We GOTTA stop with needing faves to be unproblematic," one wrote on Twitter. "Sokka was sexist specifically to learn not to be. Isn’t it cool that writers have the ability to use a character’s flaws to teach lessons to the viewers? To say 'this character is wrong.' I think that stuff is neat."

Actor Nicole Maines adds, "It was, I think, a very important storyline, especially for young boys. Sokka felt completely justified in his thinking until he was forced to reassess what he believed, and he was all the better for it.  I think it was an important transformation to see."

"Sokka is supposed to be a flawed character who grows throughout the series," one remarked. Another said the change was "incredibly embarrassing."

Avatar: The Last Airbender is available on Netflix from February 22. For more from the streamer, check out the best shows on Netflix, best movies on Netflix, and best anime on Netflix.