Netflix's Avatar: The Last Airbender Missed Out on a Crucial Sokka Scene

Netflix's Avatar: The Last Airbender missed out on the true heart of Sokka's Kyoshi Warriors arc!

Avatar: The Last Airbender has debuted its live-action series with Netflix, but the new adaptation really missed out by not including a very important scene with Sokka and the Kyoshi Warriors. When Avatar: The Last Airbender was getting closer to its release, the staff and cast behind the series made sure to note that they were taking out the more sexist elements from Sokka's character that were seen in the original animated series. This caused a major debate among fans as his early sexism is what formed the core of his character arc for the series, and the live-action series has offered a different story for Sokka in its place. 

In the original animated series, Aang and the gang's journey to played out much differently than seen in the live-action show. Sokka's run in with Suki started out a lot more prickly as he ridiculed the Kyoshi Warriors' strength. But eventually his learning respect the Kyoshi Warriors' training is the first major step in changing Sokka as a character. It's then cemented with his giving full respect to them by dressing like a Kyoshi Warrior himself. But that didn't happen in the Netflix series, and it's something that could come back to bite this adaptation later. 

(Photo: Nickelodeon)

Why Sokka Needs to Be Sexist

Removing Sokka's sexism might seem like a good idea on the outside, but it completely misreads the function of his character arc in the grand scheme. The live-action version of Sokka is much different than the animated series. In the original, Sokka was loud and boastful but was ultimately ridiculed at many moments to undercut his comments (to further demonstrate to the audience how ridiculous he was being). His losing to Suki was humbling, and it was the kind of initial jostling he needed to get on that path of maturity we see by the end of the third season

Sokka then realizes his mistake and instead of running from his weakness, he humbles himself before the Kyoshi Warriors and completely dons their garb (as Suki forces him to) in order to properly train with someone stronger to get on the path to being a true warrior. This was the first real indication that Sokka was at least open to change, and his first real experience with someone outside of the Southern Water Tribe helped him start that path to true growth. It's why Suki's eventual romantic feelings for him felt earned because Sokka realized the error of his initial ways. 

It's not the same in the live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender at all. While Sokka does not ridicule the Kyoshi Warriors for being girls, his loss to Suki has a completely different vibe. When he loses to her and gets embarrassed, it's almost as if Suki has to help him realize how strong he already was. She needed to tell him he was already competent, and that's not really supposed to be Sokka's function at all. His role in Team Avatar is to steadily learn to be a proper warrior and leader, but the live-action show seems to start him out at this point

His loss to Suki then sees her almost catering to him and raising him up rather than the other way around. Suki loses her initial function as a warrior, and instead seems like she's there just to tell Sokka he's doing great. Sokka's never humbled to the point of needing to fully immerse himself in a new culture, and thus means he'll likely be less challenged in other ways as the live-action series continues

Sokka's journey reflects the world's changing as Aang and Team Avatar continue to impact the lives of those they come across. His path to maturity as an adult is one of the big reasons the original animated series success, and missing out on big moments like this seems to indicate that the live-action series might be misreading Sokka's journey in their adaptation as well. It's just a different character entirely. 

But what do you think? Let us know all of your thoughts about it in the comments! You can even reach out to me directly about all things animation and other cool stuff @Valdezology on X (formerly known as Twitter)!