When you talk about Avatar: The Last Airbender, there’s a lot you need to unpack first. Are you talking about the original cartoon series on Nickelodeon that served as a gateway into anime for millions of kids? How about the comic series? Or are you talking about the live-action movie put out by M. Night Shyamalan? Maybe you’re referring to the live-action remake of the series, the animated film, and other Avatar-centered productions announced by ViacomCBS as part of their new Avatar Studios division. For the sake of our own sanity, we’re mainly focusing on the super-fun OG animated series and the awesome Avatar: The Last Airbender characters that the series introduced to the world.
Sure, you may not have enjoyed Shyamalan’s live-action movie as much as the series. Everything can’t have picture-perfect adaptations like Harry Potter, after all! But if you’re here, it means you love the Avatar characters enough to overlook that blip. You can probably also appreciate the fact that anything related to anime is often held to higher standards by anime fans and scoffed at by those who don’t understand this animation style. Yet millions of people love the Airbender series, including anime fans as well as those who might otherwise turn their noses up at anime. A major reason it’s so universally loved? Of the many things about The Last Airbender that were truly wonderful, the character development was next-level.
If you want to understand better what we mean, keep reading for an explainer on the main Avatar: The Last Airbender characters. In fact, you might as well bookmark this page since you’ll be seeing a lot more of these names once Avatar Studios hits its stride.
The Absolute Best Avatar: The Last Airbender Characters
1. Avatar Aang
We love how fun and light-hearted Aang is but how quickly he can turn serious when the moment calls for it. He’s the epitome of your goofy best friend — who will also kill your dude if he cheats on you. Aang is also a pacifist and a vegetarian, two pillar beliefs in the Buddhist religion.
Katara has become a bit of a figurehead for a lot of young folks within the LGBTQ+ community. She’s Aang’s best friend, and it’s known that she eventually ends up marrying him. However, throughout the series, she often pushes back against gender stereotypes and gender roles. She may often mother the group and keep everyone in line, but this waterbending hero is also a total feminist. That, alone, is enough to make her our absolute favorite character. Even Nickelodeon has said she’s a member of the LGBTQ community, so it must be true!
While The Last Airbender is full of standout, badass girls, it’s Suki that takes the cake. She’s literally part of a female-only warrior group, the Kyoshi Warriors. And, let’s face it, without Suki, Sokka would probably be intolerable.
Let’s be real: Sokka is a bit of a stand-out. (And another of our favorite characters.) He has no powers, but he’s amazing with any weapon (or weapon-like object) you put in his hand. And despite being unlike all his friends, he blends in seamlessly with them and everyone else they encounter. He might have started as a bit of a jerk, but he’s a valuable part of the team. Without powers, you’d expect him to be a drag on the team. Instead, you’d often wonder, “Is there anything this kid can’t do?”
5. Toph Beifong
If you don’t already love Toph, you should give her a chance. Right off the bat, she’s an easy and lovable representative of persons with disabilities. As a bonus, her visual impairment actually makes her a better and more intuitive earthbender. She has numerous capabilities and powers other earthbenders will never master simply because they haven’t had to do so.
Did you know that Momo means “peach”? It’s true! In the story, Aang finds Momo wandering the Southern Air Temple and decides to keep him. He names him Momo after feeding him a peach. Momo is mostly just around for cuteness and laughs. His existence, with those surprisingly adorable bat wings, typically makes everything a little calmer, just like any other pet would do. He’s also fantastically useful, coming to his friends’ rescue on numerous occasions. What’s not to love?!
If Aang is your favorite character, Appa is probably close behind, right? This sky bison serves as the group’s main transport. But he’s also Aang’s “spirit companion.” Appa is about as helpful as a pet can be (though not quite as cute as Momo).
8. Princess Azula
Although evil and young, Azula is arguably one of the most complex characters in the ATLA series. As princess of the Fire Nation, Azula may have grown up in riches, but has always felt a pit of emptiness because of her relationship with her mom. As a fire-bending prodigy, Azula is tasked with great responsibilities, like leading armies and coming up with battle strategies.
9. Uncle Iroh
Uncle Iroh is the voice of reason throughout the show, brother to Fire Lord Ozai, and uncle to Zuko. He plays a significant role in Zuko’s character development and becomes a key player in the battle against the Fire Nation. Although he has a complicated and darkened past, he’s a character worth rooting for. And fun fact: Uncle Iroh is also a tea lover.
Other Avatar: The Last Airbender Characters
- Fire Lord Zuko (formerly Prince Zuko)
- Fire Lord Ozai
- Ty Lee
- Avatar Roku
- Avatar Kyoshi
- Avatar Kuruk
- Avatar Yangchen
- Avatar Wan
The Legend of Korra Main Characters
- Avatar Korra
- Asami Sato
- Lin Beifong
- Lin Beifong
- Zhu Li
- Hiroshi Sato
- Lord Zuko
- Prince Wu
- Baatar Jr.
- Admiral Zhao
- Young Noatak
- Light Spirit
- Wan Shi Tong
- Judge Hotah
- Shady Shin