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Voice Talent Behind ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’: Showrunners’ Ideas and Success in Casting


Key Takeaways:

– Iconic animated : The Last Airbender' succeeded in remarkable voice talents.
– Showrunner Mike DiMartino desired a talent like Jason Issacs for the role of Admiral Zhao, and ended up landing the actual actor.
– Late actor Mako, who portrayed Uncle Iroh, didn't require an audition due to the faith put in his abilities by the creators.

The realm of animated media relies heavily on the sterling skills of voice . Without them, the emotional depth and personality of the characters remain unfulfilled. ‘', a globally renowned , stands as a glowing testament to this fact. Known for its captivating storyline and stellar voice , the series has engaged audiences since its launch in February 2005.

Landing Jason Issacs for Admiral Zhao

Renowned figures like Jason Issacs, Clancy Brown, and Mark Hamill voiced some of the characters, adding stand-out performances to the show. In a conversation with IGN, Michael DiMartino, the series creator, shared an interesting titbit about Jason Issacs's casting. Initially wishing for an actor similar to Issacs, he was thrilled when the confirmed the real Jason Issacs for the role of Admiral Zhao. DiMartino praised the skill and passion of the actors involved, crediting them with adding emotional depth to the characters.

DiMartino expressed his admiration for Issacs's work in ‘The Patriot', revealing it as the inspiration behind Zhao's character. The showrunner's wish eventually manifested in reality, offering the a chilling portrayal of the villainous admiral.

Remembering Mako and His Role as Uncle Iroh

While discussing talented voice artists, it's hard to overlook Makoto Iwamatsu, known as Mako, and his significant contribution to the series. Having participated in nearly 165 productions over four decades, Mako's profound impact on the industry is undeniable. Tragically, he passed away in 2006 due to esophageal cancer, after lending his distinctive voice to Uncle Iroh's character in ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender'.

DiMartino further mentioned that Mako's reputation preceded him so much that they didn't need an audition. From the first recording, Mako's perfect fit for Uncle Iroh's role was evident. Mako's humor, warmth, and ability to switch between wisdom and seriousness brought the character to life in a memorable way.

Honoring Mako's Legacy

Despite Mako's unfortunate demise, his legacy as Uncle Iroh lived on through Greg Baldwin, who took over the role. In what became one of the most poignant moments in the series, the fifteenth episode of the second season, titled ‘The of Ba Sing Se', was dedicated in Mako's memory. This episode received overwhelming praise and is a favorite among fans.

‘Avatar: The Last Airbender's unprecedented success can be attributed in part to its phenomenal voice actors. Their ability to present complex emotions, coupled with a riveting storyline and mesmerizing universe, has etched the series into the annals of animation history. The show continues to captivate audiences, with all seasons now available for streaming on Netflix.

Megan Diane
Hi, I'm Megan Browne, the Head of Partnerships at Project Casting - a job board for the entertainment industry. As Head of Partnerships, I help businesses find the best talent for their influencer campaigns, photo shoots, and film productions. Creating these partnerships has enabled me to help businesses scale and reach their true potential. I'm excited to continue driving growth by connecting people with projects they're passionate about.


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