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Netflix Gathers the Elements Together in Fun Filled Avatar: The Last Airbender Press Conference and Screening Event

It’s been almost two decades since Avatar: The Last Airbender debuted as a Nickelodeon animated series and took the world by storm – introducing viewers to an Asian fantasy inspired world where people use a variety of ancient techniques and can manipulate and wield one of the four elements in air, water, fire, and earth. One of the few able to wield and bend all elements is called the “Avatar” – the chosen one responsible for maintaining harmony and balance between the four nations and who is prophesized to serve as the bridge between the physical world and spirit world.

Fast forward to 2024, and Avatar: The Last Airbender has officially been adapted into a live-action series by Netflix – with showrunner Albert Kim adapting the same beloved story created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. Assembling a cast composed primarily of actors and talents of Asian descent, the series is led by young Filipino-Canadian actor Gordon Cormier – who takes on the titular role of Avatar Aang. As the last surviving member of the Air Nomads, Aang befriends waterbender Katara and her brother Sokka, and together they go on a journey of purpose and discovery as they seek to end the war started by the Fire Nation and evade the relentless pursuit of the exiled Prince Zuko.

Thanks to Netflix Philippines, I was invited to attend a special press conference and screening of Avatar: The Last Airbender last Wednesday, February 21 – which coincidentally was the 19th anniversary of the animated series. Along with other representatives and teams coming from neighboring countries such as Indonesia and Australia, the Philippines hosted a very special press con that saw two of the cast members from Avatar visiting the country – namely Aang himself Gordon Cormier and Prince Zuko actor Dallas Liu. The two young leads of the highly anticipated live-action series were in Manila and ready to take the fans on a journey by hyping things up and sharing their experiences working on the set of the show!

Held at the Marquis Events Hall at Bonifacio Global City, the press conference was certainly an intimate affair that attracted all kinds of media and longtime Avatar fans who came from all corners of the globe just to meet and see Gordon and Dallas themselves. After being introduced on stage, the first questions asked of the stars were how they felt after being cast in the role. Gordon recalled getting the lead part of Aang and described his initial reaction in three words – “Tears. Crying. Happiness.” The young actor then went on to say he had a very personal connection with the character and his joyful outlook and personality. “When we first shot the series, I was 11 years old, so I feel like I’ve grown up quite a bit. The happy side of Aang is quite easy for me because… you know. I think you could tell,” However, he also added that it was a challenge to draw other emotions out of playing the character as well. “It was more difficult for me to tap into Aang’s emotional side.”

When the mic turned over to Dallas Liu, he described his experience playing Prince Zuko as something he had to draw every ounce of experience he felt that would resonate with the character’s traumatic upbringing and quest to regain his honor following his exile from the Fire Nation. “I really had to tap into the negativity of Prince Zuko and what he’s going through. There are different points in my life that I have to pull from specifically that I think worked well for specific scenes.” The two actors then went on to describe what experiences and bonding moments they and their fellow castmates shared during the filming process (without getting into any spoilers of course), and Dallas even had some words of wisdom to impart and share for Gordon as well – “To have a strong base in your heart is extremely important. I hope the people supporting you at home keep your chin up and give you strong words of affirmation and continue to champion you through your journey.”

Following the press conference, the media and guests were then brought via shuttle service to Central Square cinemas over at Bonifacio High Street, where activity booths inspired and based on “Avatar: The Last Airbender” were on hand to entertain and help promote the new live-action series. Aside from testing out your knowledge and skills in a series of games and contest with prizes in store for lucky winners, guests could also sample some food and drinks inspired by the world of Avatar – including some refreshing non-alcoholic beverages that are named after the four elements of nature that the characters can bend and draw their powers from. There were even a couple of well-known personalities and cosplayers who suited up just for the occasion, with the likes of Prince De Guzman as Fire Lord Azai, ZackT as Prince Zuko, and Roxanne Kho as Azula!

Overall, it was another fantastic event that drew all the different countries and representatives from Netflix and the media together to help welcome the brand new live-action series that was nearly twenty years in the making! Be sure to catch Avatar: The Last Airbender – now streaming on Netflix!