Continuing on my Avatar: The Last Airbender fan cast, I also released fan casts on my personal blog for The Legend of Korra. Below is once again a list detailing my personal explanation for each of them.
Hit the break to read my fan cast for The Legend of Korra!
My Legend of Korra Fan-Cast:
Tanaya Beatty as Korra
I found this actress through her appearance as Rachel Black in the Twilight series, which probably does not justify this much because it is Twilight but it is still one of the few series to cast Native American actors. However, when I came across Tanaya in my search for actresses for Korra, it immediately clicked for me. The key thing for Korra is that she wasn’t just tough, but had a great deal of youthfulness and femininity in her as well.
And Tanaya did just that. She has all the toughness, sass and femininity that would be very important in portraying Korra. She brought great dimension to the entirely one-note book character of Rachel Black and I think she could really be a great Korra.
Harry Shum Jr. as Bolin
Harry has already played a teenager on Glee and at least this role will give him some more lines. When I first started fan casting characters of the Avatar universe, I definitely wanted to cast Harry as a character. And then it hit me! Harry would make an excellent Bolin.
Harry has excellent comedic timing, something Glee will not let him show. He has the complete charm and sense of humor that would work so well for Bolin. Not to mention he is as buff as Bolin too, which is a definite price. Plus, his dancing background will definitely work in both Bolin’s fighting scenes and just his everyday antics.
Won Bin as Mako
Other than looking almost exactly like Mako, this Korean actor definitely has that pouty, slightly humorless sense about him that would work for Mako. Won would be able to portray Mako’s less suave moments like when he meets Asami, but Won would definitely bring a real, affecting emotion to some of Mako’s subtle moments such as when he loses Bolin. He would definitely make Mako more relate-able and likeable in both the comedic and serious moments.
Arden Cho as Asami Sato
Arden Cho has had some minor appearances on television, but is mostly known through her Youtube videos and other web series. For one thing, Arden is absolutely gorgeous and definitely has that classic Asian beauty that Asami has. Another reason I picked Arden is that she has an inherent sweetness that would work really well with the kind, yet independent Asami, but it will also bring real range for the father-daughter storyline with Hiroshi.
I am confident that Arden will be able to play the kind heiress of Republic City’s biggest industry, but will also portray Asami’s strength and confidence.
Michelle Yeoh as Lin Beifong
This was pretty much a no-brainer because I needed a strong, badass woman for Lin and Michelle Yeoh fit perfectly. Anyone who knows her will agree that Michelle Yeoh can play the independent Police Chief and the daughter of Toph, especially if they have seen her in Hidden Tiger, Crouching Dragon. Also, Michelle has a subtle gentleness that will really come to life in Lin’s more heartbreaking moments like when Lin quits the Police Force and when she loses her bending.
No one can question that Michelle would be great at Lin’s tough, kickass moments and her sad, darker scenes. So, believe me when I say this was a no brainer.
Ken Watanabe as Tenzin
Another no brainer! In my eyes, Ken Watanabe could do no wrong, which is the same about how I feel about Tenzin. Ken is an incredible actor as shown by his roles in The Last Samurai and Memoirs of a Geisha. He definitely has experience in playing the wise and slightly stoic mentor of the Avatar, but he would still be able to play the sweet, fatherly character. In addition, with a role like Tenzin, Ken will be given an opportunity to get in touch with his sense of humor of the role with some of Tenzin’s light-hearted scenes.
Plus Ken has a sort of subtle intensity that would bring real range and emotion in Tenzin’s character, especially with the heavy weight of being the last airbending master and other emotional moments.
Gong Li as Pema
Gong Li is a beautiful actress who has proven to be extremely talented from all her roles in Chinese films, but she also proved to be an excellent actress to English-speaking audiences in Memoirs of a Geisha. She has a youthfulness that I think would work with Pema really well, but she could still play up the devoted, sassy mother aspects. Plus Gong and Ken have previously stared together and would definitely have a lot of chemistry that would make Pema and Tenzin’s relationship all that more loveable.
Ivan Shaw as General Iroh II
Ivan Shaw was my definite choice for Iroh II; other than being extremely handsome, he has that distinguished, older look that is a nice contrast to the other male characters. I know him from All My Children and other minor appearances, but it was his appearance in a movie called Almost Perfect, where he proved to be a pretty great actor.
Not only does Ivan look a lot like the Fire Nation, especially with that great jawline, but he also looks the actors I chose for the Fire Nation in the previous fan cast. Ivan can definitely play the handsome and strong Iroh II and would work so well with all the other actors.
Lanny Joon as Noatak/Amon
Lanny Joon is another actor that does not get as many opportunities as he should! I recognize him from several guest appearances on shows like The Big Bang Theory and Castle, but it was his performance in West 32nd Street that made me want to cast him as Noatak. Lanny has a type of charisma that would work really well with Amon’s rhetoric among the Equalists.
I am not entirely sure on Lanny’s range because of his lack of screen time, but he definitely has the qualifications Plus he has that intensity that would bring real emotion behind Noatak’s past with Tarrlok.
Archie Kao as Tarrlok
Anyone from the 90s will remember Archie Kao as the Blue Ranger from Power Rangers Lost Galaxy, but some people might also know him from CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, where he plays the surfing, sci-fi loving lab technician. He definitely has a lot of experience as an actor and I think he can play Tarrlok really well. He can portray the ambitious, asshole politician that is Tarrlok; his timing is excellent which will make all his interactions with Tanaya as Korra truly fantastic.
As for the darker moments of Tarrlok, like his bloodbending and his past with Amon, Archie, who usually plays more light-hearted characters, will be able to show his emotional range as an actor.
Tiffany Espensen as Jinora
Tiffany Espensen is a young child actor on a Nickelodeon show called Bucket & Skinner, where she plays the mischievous and demanding sister that torments the main characters. Not only is she the same age as Jinora, but is has great comedic timing. I think should would be excellent as the calm, well-behaved child of Tenzin and Pema, but Tiffany would definitely have a great time with Jinora’s funnier lines.
Melora Chang as Ikki
I found this adorable little actress on IMDB when I was looking for actresses for Asami and one of them had this cutie as their sister. Melora has not had any major roles, but she is exactly how I imagined Ikki and I figured “Why not?”
John Cho as The Lieutenant
I definitely wanted to cast John Cho as something with my fan casts and figured he would make a great Lieutenant due to his performance in FlashForward. The main thing about the Lietenant is that he is not necessarily the best second-in-command in the world and is often on the losing side of all the battles, something that John Cho would have a lot of fun with. He can make all of the Lieutenant’s blunders and loses against Team Avatar very entertaining, especially with all his comedic genius in the Harold & Kumar series.
However, John Cho has definitely proven to be a very serious actor with a lot of range in action and darker scenes. I think he would do an excellent job in portraying the deep relationship between the Lieutenant and Amon, which would make the final scene between them that much more dramatic and lasting.
Justin Chon as Tahno
Another shameless use of a Twilight series actor for my fancast, but I feel legitimized in picking Justin because he would make a really excellent Tahno. Justin is an excellent comedic actor, something that his role in Twilight would not let him show. But he would definitely have fun with being the asshole, pro-bending champion and his interactions with Tanaya as Korra would truly be entertaining to watch.
However, Justin would also be able to grow as an actor with some of Tahno’s more serious moments when he loses his bending. Seeing Justin play the destroyed and shattered former bender would definitely give him the opportunity to show his acting skills, even with a minor character like Tahno.
Gil Birmingham as General Bumi II
Gil Birmingham is one of the most recognizable Native American actors in Hollywood and mostly known for his role as Billy Black in the Twilight series, but has made guest appearances on shows like Castle, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Charmed and Veronica Mars as Native American characters. He is definitely an excellent character that does not get the roles he deserves. I think seeing him as Bumi would be great because not only does he look like the character but he would have a lot of fun with Bumi’s crazy personality.
Tia Carrere as Kya
Tia Carrere is a beautiful, Emmy award winning actress that has made numerous appearances on several television shows. While we do not know much about Kya herself, Tia Carrere just fit the physical image of Kya so well. Tia has played several comedic roles, which would work well with the light-hearted moments of the series. But her other more serious performances would definitely allow her to portray the older waterbending master, especially with her training from being on Relic Hunter.
Even though we know very little about Kya, Tia would be excellent in the role of Kya and would interact really well with Gil as Bumi II and Ken as Tenzin.
These castings are mostly done for my own personal headcanons as a fan because I think these actors would be excellent in these roles.