With sequel series The Legend of Korra joining Avatar: The Last Airbender on Netflix, we’ve put together a fan cast of actors who could play Korra and her friends in a live-action series (or movie). The Last Airbender itself has a live-action adaptation in development at Netflix, though it recently hit a bump in the road when original creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino left the project due to creative differences. Netflix has since said that it is still “confident” in the creative team that’s been assembled, so it appears the project is still moving forward.

Running for four seasons between 2012 and 2014, The Legend of Korra is set 70 years after the events of Avatar: The Last Airbender and focuses on the next Avatar after Aang, a young woman called Korra who was born in the Southern Water Tribe. Though she begins her Avatar training in a time of peace, Korra goes on to battle formidable enemies – including a sadistic bloodbender, an evil counterpart to the Avatar, and a military leader with plans to turn the Earth Kingdom into her own empire.


Avatar: The Last Airbender was infamously adapted into a live-action movie in 2010, directed by M. Night Shyamalan. There were many controversial choices made with that film, and casting was among them. Though the world of Avatar and The Legend of Korra is inspired by Asian and Inuit cultures, architecture, and spirituality, the main cast of The Last Airbender was made up almost entirely of white actors. Future adaptations of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra are an opportunity to expand the currently very limited pool of leading roles for Asian-American actors – and bring the breathtaking world of the Four Nations to life. Here are our picks for actors who could play The Legend of Korra‘s characters in live-action.

Korra – Devery Jacobs

When The Legend of Korra begins, its titular character is eager to complete her training and take on the responsibilities of being the Avatar. Having spent much of her life sheltered within the Southern Water Tribe, Korra is full of enthusiasm but short on practical experience. Over the show’s four seasons she grows in strength, but also suffers through great trauma and hardships, eventually coming through them a calmer and wiser person. Devery Jacobs is known for playing Lilith Bathory in Netflix supernatural series The Order and Sam Black Crow in American Gods, but is still enough of a newcomer to make a live-action version of Korra her defining breakout role.

Asami – Anna Akana

The Legend of Korra immediately set itself apart from Avatar: The Last Airbender by depicting a world where technology and industry had moved forward rapidly. The sequel series embraced a 1920s aesthetic, complete with an old-timey radio announcer providing a recap at the start of each episode. In keeping with that retro vibe, wealthy heiress Asami Sato embodies many traits of the classic film noir femme fatale: poised, beautiful, and often underestimated. Actress Anna Akana played a beauty queen-turned-space-warrior in the sci-fi comedy series Miss 2059 and had a brief role as the “super fine writer chick” in Ant-Man‘s hilarious montage sequences, and could flourish in the role of the tough but kind-hearted Asami.

Mako – Manny Jacinto

Actor Manny Jacinto is currently best known for playing the dumb but endearing aspiring DJ Jason Mendoza in NBC’s The Good Place, so it could be very interesting to see him take on a polar opposite role in a live-action Legend of Korra adaptation. Orphaned at a young age, Mako was forced to fend for himself and look out for his younger brother, scraping a living on the streets of Republic City and eventually forming a popular pro-bending team. Originally introduced as a love interest for Korra, Mako is a typical brooding heartthrob – aloof and even unfriendly until people get to know him, but deeply protective of people who are important to him.

Bolin – Ki Hong Lee

In start contrast to his older brother, Bolin is goofy, lovable and affectionate. Though not terribly bright, he’s full of charisma and ends up accidentally falling into a career as a famous “mover” star after Varrick takes a shine to him. Bolin is also a skilled earthbender who eventually masters the rare skill of lavabending. Actor Ki Hong Lee has proven himself in both comedic and action roles, playing Dong Nguyen in Netflix’s The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Minho in the Maze Runner movies. Throw in a Superman curl and a pet fire ferret, and he could be ideal for the role of Bolin.

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Tenzin – Tom Wu

The hardest part of casting the role of Tenzin, the son of Aang and Katara, will be letting go of his voice. Original actor J.K. Simmons has a voice that’s both iconic and inimitable (which is why it’s also now hard to imagine anyone else in the role of J. Jonah Jameson). Separating the character of Tenzin from his voice, however, a live-action take on The Legend of Korra would need to find an actor with both gravitas and vulnerability. While Tenzin outwardly seems like a typical wise mentor figure, he is also buried under the weight of trying to live up to his father’s legacy and rebuild the Air Nation (not to mention raising a family of very rowdy kids). Tom Wu, who has appeared in smaller roles in movies like King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and The Gentlemen, showed his capacity for a deeper performance as Hundred Eyes in the Netflix series Marco Polo. Wu is also already a martial arts expert, making him more than capable of capturing the physicality of one of the world’s only airbenders.

Lin – Ming-Na Wen

It might be too easy to cast the actress behind Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s resident no-nonsense badass, Melinda May, in the role of another no-nonsense badass, but there’s no denying that Wen would shine in the role of Toph Beifong’s grumpiest daughter. Having taken over her mother’s job of Republic City’s Chief of Police, Lin is a fierce fighter and a pretty terrifying boss. The Legend of Korra season 3 delved into Lin’s past and revealed some of the reasons why she developed such an angry and unyielding personality – as well as how she got those scars on her face. With the action credentials and a steely gaze fit for the role, Ming-Na Wen could be the perfect choice to play a live-action Lin Beifong.

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Varrick – Randall Park

Varrick is vain, extremely high-maintenance, and more or less helpless without his assistant, Zhu Li, but there’s no denying that he’s a brilliant inventor. Among other things, this entrepreneur is responsible for the invention of moving pictures in the Four Nations. His fast-talking and irrepressibly confident personality calls for an actor with strong comedic chops, and Randall Park has been steadily proving himself in that regard over the last decade. Following his role as “Asian Jim” in one of The Office‘s greatest pranks, Park starred as Kim Jong Un in the lightning rod comedy movie The Interview, played Jimmy Woo in Ant Man & the Wasp (a role he’s set to reprise in WandaVision), and was the romantic lead in rom-com Always Be My Maybe.

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