It’s official. Daniel Dae Kim will make his big return to the Avatar Universe.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the 53-year-old actor has joined the cast of Avatar: The Last Airbender, live-action adaptation of the Nickelodeon animated series. Kim, who previously voiced the Avatar character of General Fong, confirmed the news via Instagram on Wednesday night, posting a gif from the popular TV show along with the caption: “It’s gettin’ hot in here…”
Kim will take on the role of main antagonist Fire Lord Ozai, the reigning leader of the Fire Nation and father to Prince Zuko. Albert Kim (Sleepy Hollow, Nikita) serves as the Netflix series showrunner and writer, as well as co-executive producer alongside Dan Lin (Aladdin), Lindsey Liberatore (Walker), and Michael Goi (Swamp Thing). Roseanne Liang will direct alongside Goi, Jabbar Raisani and Jet Wilkinson.
Kim also voiced the character of Horishi Sato in The Legend of Korra.
“Netflix offers me the opportunity to develop a live-action remake of Avatar. My first thought was, ‘Why? What is there I could do or say with the story that wasn’t done or said in the original?’” he wrote on the streamer’s website back in August. “A:TLA had only grown in popularity and acclaim over the last decade and a half, which is a testament to how complete and resonant a narrative experience it had been. So if it ain’t broke, why fix it?”
He continued: “But the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I became. VFX technology has advanced to the point where a live-action version can not only faithfully translate what had been done in animation — it can bring a rich new visual dimension to a fantastic world. We’ll be able to see bending in a real and visceral way we’ve never seen before.”
Kim will star alongside Gordon Cormier as Aang, Kiawentiio as Katara, Ian Ousley as Sokka, and Dallas Liu as Zuko. Netflix has not announced a premiere date for Avatar: The Last Airbender, but is expected to release the series in early 2022.