Avatar: The Last Airbender’s Lizzy Yu and Ken Leung on bringing Azula and Commander Zhao to life

Lizzy Yu and Ken Leung also shared their thoughts on the original animated series.

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Prior to the show’s premiere, Netflix gave us a chance to have a quick chat with Lizzy Yu and Ken Leung of the Avatar: The Last Airbender live-action series via a virtual media roundtable.

During our quick chat with Yu  and Leung, we were able to ask about the experience of bringing Azula and Commander Zhao to life, specifically with regards to the show’s fight scenes. After all, a big part of the show’s appeal is the fight scenes as even Azula got some action-packed moments while still being in the Fire Nation capital.

Yu shared her experience as:

“We had a great stunt team who had me training a lot. Every time I wasn’t on set, I was in the stunt training part of the stage. It was intense. They were definitely dedicated to trying to make it as perfect as it possibly could be because bending and the action sequences are such a huge part of the show. They definitely wanted to do that justice. So, yeah, we put a lot of work into making sure we’re giving the camera as best as we can. And then the VFX is just so cool, what they ended up looking like.”

It’s interesting that Azula is part of the Netflix series’ first season considering that Azula wasn’t part of the story in the cartoon’s first series. Thus, we asked Yu about how she approached playing Azula given that there’s not much material to go on. Interestingly, Yu said that this gave them more freedom to approach Azula’s story.

“I watched it growing up in reruns on Nickelodeon and then I did like a sit-down binge of the whole series after I was in the casting process,” said Yu. “I think the fact that we don’t really see Azula in the original show in the first season kind of gave us an opportunity to play around with what was going on at the Fire Nation when Zuko was away behind closed doors. What was that family dynamic like when he was gone? Which was really cool to play and to see when watching it.”

As for Commander Zhao, he is sort of the big bad of the first season, so there’s a lot to draw from in the original show. Unlike Yu though, Leung revealed that he only watched the show after getting cast.

“I had not watched it before, and so when I watched it, I didn’t watch it in a pure way,” shared Leung. “I didn’t watch it in an innocent way as an audience. I watched it after I got cast, and so I was watching it for really information. I didn’t know how it was going to impact me, but I knew that I needed to have, unconscious or consciously, I needed some of that in me. So, I watched it for that.”

Even though he watched the show for research in a way, Leung shared that he loved the original as it’s still an incredibly engaging and fun show to watch.

The Avatar: The Last Airbender live-action series is now streaming worldwide, exclusively on Netflix.