The Last Airbender Reimagined – Part 2

Just to recap the main changes of Part 1:

  • More time is spent on the South Pole
  • The Air Temple sequence is cut (we’re saving it for later)
  • There’s a Princess Yue subplot to introduce her to the audience before she’s killed off
  • Jet’s back!

On to the story!

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ACT 2

1. The Freedom Fighters

Jet takes the Gaang back to his base and tries to convince them to join his cause. We see that Jet is a charming rogue with some definite issues bubbling under his cool exterior. Katara however, clearly seems pretty taken with the young man as he gives Katara a water scroll and offers them all food and supplies. He takes them on a tour of his base and reveals that he wants to use the Avatar as a symbol to rally people to his army.

Aang is uneasy with this as he is a pacifist first and foremost. Not only that, he’s still uncomfortable with being the Avatar and broadcasting that to the world. Sokka as well seems particularly suspicious of Jet. However, Jet’s silver tongue pays off and eventually, they all agree to help the Freedom Fighters.

2. The North Remembers

Back at the North Pole, Yue is having a quiet moment at the Spirit Oasis, speaking with the spirits about her fears of ruling and of making the wrong decisions for her people. We see the two Koi fish circling in the pond which seems to calm Yue down as she dips her fingers into the water.

Master Pakku, her mentor and closest friend, finds her there and they have a conversation about her birth and how the spirits saved her life. He says that she was born to rule but it must be her choice to do so.

Just then, the alarm bells are sounded. Yue and Pakku rushes back to the palace to find that her father has been attacked and killed by a Fire Nation assassin. Pakku fights and absolutely destroys the assassin with his mastery of water bending but it’s too late. The Chief is dead. Yue holds her father and with his dying breath, he tells Yue to take care of the people. It looks like Yue truly doesn’t have much of a choice any more.

It’s time for her to become chief.

3. Freedom or Fear?

At Jet’s camp, Katara and Aang practice water bending, showing some improvement already. Katara expresses her gratitude to Jet and shows signs of having feelings for him, much to the chagrin of both Aang and Sokka. Jet calls on the the Gaang and they help Jet and his men attack several Fire Nation camps. After easily clearing several camps across the surrounding area, they capture an officer.

They interrogate the officer who reveals the location of the Earthbender prison – a metal prison ship floating off the coastline. Jet tries to kill the officer but is stopped by Aang who makes them release him. They return to Jet’s base and Jet speaks about his past, how the Fire Nation took everything from him, just like the Fire Nation have taken everything away from Aang, Sokka and Katara. He tells them that he has dedicated his life to wiping out the Fire Nation.

He then reveals his plan to use Aang to break into the prison and free the Earthbenders to add to his army. Sokka argues with Jet about the plan, saying it’s too risky. As they argue, Aang slips away. He is overwhelmed by what is being asked of him and he flees to his former home, the Air Temple. He leaves everyone behind, including Appa as he once again runs from his responsibilities.

4. The Last Airbender

At the Air Temple, Aang sees the skeletons of the Air Nomads and is enraged. He goes into Avatar State and destroys much of the temple, inadvertently revealing his location to everyone around. Aang passes out from the exertion, falling in a heap among the graves of his people.

Zuko gets to the temple first but before he can capture Aang, Zhao arrives and steals Aang away right from under Zuko’s nose. Zhao takes Aang to his floating metal prison to take him to the Fire Lord – the same prison where the Earthbenders are being held. Zuko pursues Zhao, determined not to let the Avatar get away. Katara, Sokka and Jet fly in on Appa but arrive too late. They soon realise that Aang is on the Earthbender prison.

Jet blames Aang for his recklessness, leading to an argument with Katara but Sokka calms them down. He quickly comes up with a plan. Movie Sokka seemed dumb as a pile of bricks but I want to get across that this Sokka has a knack for strategic thinking.

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We return to the North Pole, at the former chief’s funeral. Reluctantly, Yue is forced to accept his mantle. We see her coronation as new Chief and she addresses her people giving a stilted speech which fails to put anyone at ease.

5. Imprisoned

Aang is dreaming once again and is visited by the spirit of Avatar Roku. Roku gives him a pep talk and talks about his own experiences of being the Avatar. He also reveals Sozin’s Comet and the need for Aang to defeat the Fire Lord before it arrives.

Aang wakes up in the prison ship and pleas with the captured Earthbenders to help him escape. However, they are despondent and hopeless. They don’t have the will to fight back. Zhao has Aang taken to his quarters and gloats before returning him to his cell. Aang makes an impassioned speech to the Earthbenders, to no avail. They refuse to take up arms. Zhao charts a course for the Fire Nation.

Fortunately for Aang, a mysterious masked figure which the Firebenders fearfully refer to as the Blue Spirit sneaks in and frees Aang. The mysterious warrior masterfully wields dual swords and slashes Aang free of his bonds before silently urging him to follow.

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Aang tries to free the other prisoners as well, but they just stay in their cells. Aang and the Blue Spirit battle into the courtyard and are cornered until Jet, Katara and Sokka arrive on Appa – bringing with them a load of earth which they dump all over the prison. However, the Earthbenders still refuse to help.

The battle rages on but they are clearly outnumbered. Katara takes action now. She runs to the cells of the Earthbenders and begs for their help. Still, they refuse, saying that it is hopeless but Katara tells them about how her mother was taken by the Fire Nation and she would do anything to see them again, just like how they should do anything to see their families again. They should fight not for revenge, not for themselves, but for the ones they love at home.

This finally gets through to them and they fight back, giving us the first display of Earthbending in the movie. They drive the Firebenders from the ship. Zhao manages to escape on a raft but not without injuring the Blue Spirit first. Zhao’s attack knocks off the Blue Spirit’s mask and it is revealed that it was Zuko all along.

Jet demands that they kill him but Aang lets Zuko go. They have a quiet moment together where Aang muses that they might have been friends in a different time. Zuko says nothing and slips away on a raft.

6. Hope

The Gaang and the Earthbenders arrive at a town on the coastline and they liberate it with ease. It is revealed that this is Jet’s home town. They capture several soldiers and Jet makes a triumphant speech about taking back the Earth Kingdom before ordering that the Earthbenders kill the captured soldiers without mercy. For the third time, Aang intervenes and this time, Jet is having none of it. He attacks Aang but Katara has had enough and just beats the crap out of him.

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Jet tries to convince the Freedom Fighters and the Earthbenders to turn on Aang but they just remain silent. Aang lets the Fire Nation soldiers go and Jet leaves in disgrace. He does leave Aang with some parting words, foreshadowing that Aang will have to make some tough decisions in the future. Jet hopes that he will be strong enough when the time comes because the Fire Lord isn’t going to show him any mercy. The Earthbenders and Freedom Fighters thank the Gaang and tell him how much it means to have the Avatar back. Aang finally starts to realise what it means to be the Avatar.

The Gaang finally  depart for the North Pole as the Earthbenders begin their revolution. We are treated to scenes of the Earthbenders taking back their land as the Gaang flies across the Earth Kingdom. Finally, they have hope again.

Meanwhile, Zhao (with a fresh new scar from the battle on the ship) visits Zuko and after a tense conversation, he leaves. His agents leaves a bomb in Zuko’s quarters, which go up in flames as soon as Zhao departs.

ACT 3

1. The North Pole

Finally, the Gaang arrives at the North Pole and are immediately captured by a group of waterbenders who display their powers in impressive fashion. The waterbenders take them to Yue. Since her time as Chief, she seems to have aged significantly and looks highly stressed but she accepts them with open arms. She has Pakku train Aang and Katara while Sokka briefs her on what they have learned in their travels.

Sokka is immediately smitten with Yue and tries to impress her with his authority and skills as a warrior, but she doesn’t respond. She does allow him to sit in on the war councils and starts to warm up to him when he displays his clumsiness and childish nature. Sokka’s goofy charm seems to represent the freedom and joy of youth that she so wanted to cling to. They begin to bond as Aang and Katara continue their training.

Zhao approaches Iroh who seems despondent that his nephew has died. Iroh agrees to help Zhao invade the Northern Water Tribe. However, it is revealed that Zuko has survived and Iroh helps him sneak on board Zhao’s ship as the Fire Nation fleet begins to sail towards the North Pole.

After a nice spiritual training montage where Aang and Katara learn the true nature of water bending, they show incredible improvement in their skills. They display their skills against Mater Pakku in a sparring match, showing their extensive progress in the weeks since arriving at the North Pole.

Meanwhile, Sokka drags Yue out of a war meeting on the pretence of some important Avatar business but instead, he just takes her for a stroll through the city. Yue finally has a chance to relax and she thanks Sokka for the brief reprieve from the doom and gloom. Unfortunately, it’s even more brief than she thinks. Black snow begins to fall and the bells of war begin to toll. The Fire Nation navy has arrived and they begin their attack.

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2. The Battle of the North

Aang joins the Water Benders in trying to slow the progress of the Fire Nation but they make little difference as the numbers of the Firebenders are too great. The ships continue to advance towards the wall. An exhausted Aang returns to safety and sits in on the war council. The generals try to discuss the battle strategy but a distressed Yue flees the meeting, much like Aang did with the Freedom Fighters. Aang follows her, concerned.

Yue seeks refuge at the Spirit Oasis and the Gaang catch up with her there. Aang comforts her and they both speak about having to learn to accept the responsibilities thrust upon them. They speak about how neither of them wanted their role but now, people are relying on them and they cannot fail. Sokka, who had previously been skeptical about the spirit world and bending, comes up with the idea of asking the spirits for help. Aang agrees and begins to meditate. He enters the spirit world and Katara promises to guard his body.

Meanwhile, night begins to fall just as the Fire Nation forces breach the wall (I swear I didn’t mean to rhyme just then). Zhao refuses to heed Iroh’s advice to halt the attack and his forces begin to be hit with heavy casualties as the water benders use the power of the moon to gain the advantage. At the same time, Zuko braves the cold and infiltrates the Water Tribe on his own. Zuko arrives to kidnap Aang and duels with Katara. They have a fierce battle but he narrowly defeats her and captures Aang.

However, Zuko struggles to find shelter in the freezing temperatures of the North Pole. Aang continues his spirit journey and we get to see Aang make his way through the Spirit World in a trippy sequence. The spirits tell him about the nature of the Avatar as a bridge between spirits and the human world.

3. Push and Pull

Sokka, Katara and Yue take Appa and search for him and Aang. As they search, Zhao sends more and more overwhelming force into the city but the Water Benders hold their ground. However, Zhao manages to infiltrate the city with a group of his elite men and breaks into the moon spirit’s alcove. Iroh arrives soon after and warns them against meddling with the spirits.

Sokka, Katara and Yue find Zuko at the point of exhaustion, almost frozen to death. They quickly defeat him and then bring both him and Aang back to the city. However, they are too late as against Iroh’s urgings, Admiral Zhao slays the moon spirit, Tui, and the waterbenders lose their ability to waterbend. The moon is snuffed out of existence and the city is plunged into total darkness, lit only by fire and death.

Iroh unleashes his fury upon Zhao’s men, sweeping over them like the wrath of God himself. Zhao flees in terror as he learns why it is not wise to awaken the Dragon of the West.

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Unfortunately, it’s too little, too late. The Firebenders swarm throughout the city, easily rolling over the defenceless Water Tribe. Aang is overwhelmed by all this destruction and chaos but he steadies himself with Katara’s support. Aang realises that he can no longer run away from who he is.

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He steps into the Koi Pond and fully embraces his destiny as the Avatar. He enters the Avatar State and joins with the Ocean Spirit La.

It’s Koizilla time.

With the combined power of the Avatar State and the Ocean Spirit, Aang surges through the city, flushing out the invaders and destroying the entire Fire Nation army in the process.

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Yue meanwhile finally accepts her duty to her people. Sokka urges her to rethink what she is doing but she has made up her mind. She is chief and a chief must make sacrifices for their people. She enters the pool and gives her life to become the Moon Spirit. The moon reappears in the sky as Sokka cradles her lifeless body, sobbing.

Zuko finds Zhao and they have their rematch. The two master firebenders have a furious battle but Zuko finally defeats Zhao in single combat and watches as he is pulled underwater by the Ocean Spirit. With the Fire Nation defeated, Zuko and Iroh slip away while the sun rises over the North Pole. They sail away into the distance with both realising that they have betrayed the Fire Nation.

4. The Journey Continues

The Water Tribe mourns Yue’s loss as the rebuilding process begins. Katara and Aang have a quiet scene together where they talk about all that has happened and about how Katara is proud of how Aang has grown. Sokka joins them and though he is still shell shocked by Yue’s death, he is proud to call Aang his brother as well. Pakku, now the Chief in Yue’s place, bids Aang, Katara and Sokka farewell, thanking them for their help. The Gaang fly off into the sunset as the music swells triumphantly.

ROLL CREDITS!

In the after credits scene, the (unseen) Fire Lord charges Azula with finding the Avatar and her traitorous brother.

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Thanks for reading!

What did you guys think? What would your versions of the movie have been like? Let me know in the comments below!

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Plus, check out How to Fix Avengers: Age of Ultron if you haven’t already.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for the next edition of Fix Flick!

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6 thoughts on “The Last Airbender Reimagined – Part 2

  1. Pingback: THE WORKSHOP
  2. Part Two!

    Interestingly enough, I was going to suggest doing exactly what you did: mixing the plots of Jet and The Blue Spirit. I liked the hint of Imprisoned you added. Ultimately, it serves to establish the idea of the Gaang bringing back hope to the Earth Kingdom, but I keep feeling that it ends up being more stuff to think about in what should be a mostly character-focused second act. Having it end with the revelation that the Blue Spirit is Zuko makes it clear to the audience just how obsessed Zuko is with capturing the Avatar, and how much of a hindrance Zhao is.

    Even so, I think Jet here also proves to be a hindrance. If he was replaced by Haru and the earthbenders from Imprisoned, I think you would have a much tighter section of the movie. If you interweave Aang/The Blue Spirit’s escape with Katara pepping up the Earthbenders and telling them to fight back, you not only get a really good action sequence in an unique location, but you also give Katara more to do, and you can establish much more of her fighting spirit.

    I say that needs to be done because Katara’s subplot from the end of Season 1 is sorely missing here. You keep saying how Yue needs to be a parallel of Aang’s character arc… well, I say Katara should be that parallel. I think both of them should be fighting to find their places in this new world they’re discovering together, if that makes sense. So in this case, her struggle against Pakku should remain, and we can still keep Yue as the Chief and have Katara’s problems be intercut with Sokka’s success.

    If you pile those two subplots and then add in Zuko and the fight against the Fire Nation, you get an Aang-lite third act… and I don’t think that’s a problem. By starting the movie with a happy and carefree Aang who doesn’t want to be the Avatar and having the third act be a more serious Aang trying to learn waterbending and accepting his role, you show his development and make it so his decision to embrace the Water Spirit and send the Fire Nation scurrying back is the conclusion of his arc (in the first movie, at least).

    Also, by having Aang and Katara be parallels of one another, you set up their romance and you can also set up Zuko. Zuko works really well in Season 1 because he’s not just an archenemy to Aang, he’s an archenemy to Katara as well. If you keep Aang and Katara together, Zuko pulls a double villain duty and comes out as a more threatening presence. Same with Zhao, although he operates on a more ‘archenemy to Zuko- and by extension, the Gaang’- level.

    Going back to an idea I had in the other post, I think holding back the comet reveal to the end provides a tasty sequel hook in the Gaang part of things. Think about it: going into the second movie, you’ve got three sequel hooks. In the Zuko front, you’ve got him and Iroh being escapees. On the Fire Nation front, you’ve got Azula. But what do you have on the Avatar/Gaang front? Yeah, the knowledge of the comet is there, but it’s not as important as it could be. Reveal it at the end and you’ve got the audience on the edge of their seats wanting to know what happens.

    (Think about Star Wars again, in this case Empire Strikes Back. When that movie ends, you’ve got three sequel hooks. You’ve got Luke and Leia continuing the fight against the Empire, Han Solo in Jabba’s hands and the knowledge that Darth Vader is Luke’s father. Three different pieces of information that keep your audience wanting more.)

    If all of that didn’t make sense, let me just end by saying that your version is much better than M. Night’s, if only because it seems to hold onto the most essential parts of the show: the characters and their journey as a metaphor for kids finding their place in the world.

    And that’s all I have to say about that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To answer both of your replies to my comments:

      – Yue is under-developed and that’s a problem which comes from the source material. I feel like, with Yue, her romance with Sokka was introduced mainly so as to not have her sacrifice come out of nowhere. The thing is, that ends up giving the whole Sokka-Yue subplot a ‘well we gotta give something for him to do’ feeling. For the remainder of the finale, he’s completely tangential to the main story up until the point where Yue’s sacrifice is needed. There have been worse cases of female characters being introduced just to serve the plot, but in a series filled with strong female characters, it sticks out like a sore thumb.

      – As for foreshadowing the final battle, well, that’s what Zuko and Zhao are there for. I have to bring up A New Hope again because it works just too damn well: the battle against the Death Star doesn’t come into play until the latter half of the movie. Up until Obi-Wan’s death, it’s mostly about helping Leia escape. Even so, the tension keeps building up, because there’s a constant threat: the Empire. That’s what Zuko and Zhao are supposed to be, a presence looming over their shoulders and making it clear that even after they get to the North Pole, some more shit is going down.

      – Unfortunately, for a movie where you’ve got 20-30 minutes tops to introduce Yue, there’s no way to avoid her arc falling flat on her face. I think what you did here was good enough: by having Yue be the Chief you have a reason for her to interact with Sokka without having to bring the whole forced marriage subplot into view (just have her say ‘I can’t be with you Sokka because I have a duty to my tribe’) and you can also have another subplot happen to the side (whilst still saving some time for Zhao’s impending attack).

      – An idea I had is that if you replaced Jet’s freedom fighters with the Kyoshi Warriors, you could have the same plot, avoid the clutter of having Jet’s subplot going on at the same time as the Blue Spirit and the Earthbending prison AND set up Suki for future movies.

      – The thing about Sokka is that, for Season 1, he’s very much a background character. He still gets to do stuff and still gets to have some starring roles, but up until Season 2, his role in the Gaang is very much as foil for the others. That’s not much of a problem. Bringing up A New Hope again: consider how much Han Solo had to do in that movie. Yes, it’s a lot, but he’s still very much tangential to Luke’s story (so much so that after they escape the Death Star, Han Solo straight up leaves for some good 20 minutes, remember?) Sokka won’t do much now, but, like Solo, he’ll play a much larger role in the later movies.

      – Speaking of later movies, any plans to maybe one day think about following these up?

      – As for a collaboration, I’d love it. I really don’t have any movies I want to fix, but I’m open to ideas?

      Like

  3. Brilliant points here! I love your idea about Haru and using Katara as a foil for Aang as well. What did you think about Sokka’s arc? I felt like it was tricky fitting his arc in and I’m not sure whether he had enough to do in this version.

    I’ve loved reading your feedback and I just wanted to ask if you’d be interested in collaborating with any films in the future? I’d love to co-write something with you in the future. Are there any films you want to rewrite that we could do something with?

    Like

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