Is Avatar: The Last Airbender for kids? What you need to know about the Netflix live action's age rating

There's been some confusion over who the show is aimed at

Gordon Cormier as Aang in season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender
(Image credit: Robert Falconer/Netflix)

Is Avatar: The Last Airbender for kids? The original Nickelodeon animation was for children aged seven and older - will Netflix's live action version have the same age rating?

Avatar: The Last Airbender ran as an animated fantasy action for three seasons, between 2005 - 2008. With rave reviews and a big following, the Nickelodeon original became one of the most viewed shows within its demographic. There was plenty of excitement when Netflix announced a live-action drama of the same name, to air from February 22, 2024.  The new series follows young Avatar, Aang, as he learns to master the four elements (Water, Earth, Fire, and Air) to bring balance to a world threatened by the Fire Nation. The series will also see the return of familiar faces Katara, Sokka, and Zuko, among many others.

Parents hoping to watch the show with their kids have been wondering about its suitability, in the same way many asked if the recent Doctor Who shows were OK for children. As part of the Spider-Verse, questions have been raised about Madame Web and whether it's suitable for kids, while the Barbie movie age rating caused quite a stir on the blockbuster's release last year. Want to know if you can watch Avatar: The Last Airbender with little ones? Read on for what you need to know. 

Avatar: The Last Airbender age rating - is Avatar for kids?

Avatar: The Last Airbender has been rated TV-14, meaning it's not appropriate for children under the age of 14. This is quite different to the animation, which was TV-Y7, and for anyone aged seven and over.

The UK equivalent of TV-14 is a 12 rating, offering a little leeway in how old a child has to be to view the content. To explain why the drama is for this age group, showrunner Albert Kim told IGN "So for us, it was about striking that right balance, of making sure you were true to the DNA of the original. But at the same time, we had to make it a serialized Netflix drama, which meant it couldn't just be for kids. It had to also appeal to the people who are big fans of Game of Thrones. And so, it had to feel grounded and mature and adult in that way too. So that's, like I said, the tightrope that we have to walk." 

He added that it could be difficult to pitch just how dark to make the series for the age of the audience. Watching some finished scenes back, they'd end up being cut if the crew thought they pushed the boundaries of suitability for the target demographics. 

Kim added "That's what I meant by saying there are mature themes and storylines throughout, but there's a way to play it so that it doesn't necessarily have to be that graphic in his depiction. And so, that's the thing we were always kind of watching out for."

Kim asserts he has made a show that will appeal across generations, as he originally watched the Nickelodeon cartoon with his daughter, and loved it. At the time, the general fandom consisted of a spectrum of ages outside of the 7 - 11 age group it was aimed at. As pointed out by Daniel Dae Kim (portraying Fire Lord Ozai), any kids enjoying the original will now be adults anyway.

He told EW "The kids who watched the animated version of Avatar are now grown-ups, and so they're ready for more grown-up fare." 

Ken Leung as Zhao in season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender

(Image credit: Robert Falconer/Netflix)

What will Avatar: The Last Airbender be about?

The official synopsis for the series reads: "Water. Earth. Fire. Air. The four nations once lived in harmony, with the Avatar, master of all four elements, keeping peace between them. But everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked and wiped out the Air Nomads, the first step taken by the firebenders towards conquering the world. With the current incarnation of the Avatar yet to emerge, the world has lost hope.

"But like a light in the darkness, hope springs forth when Aang, a young Air Nomad — and the last of his kind — reawakens to take his rightful place as the next Avatar. Alongside his newfound friends Sokka and Katara, siblings and members of the Southern Water Tribe, Aang embarks on a fantastical, action-packed quest to save the world and fight back against the fearsome onslaught of Fire Lord Ozai. 

"But with a driven Crown Prince Zuko determined to capture them, it won’t be an easy task. They’ll need the help of the many allies and colorful characters they meet along the way."

Aang actor, Gordon Cormier, spoke to Netflix Tudum about what he was hoping the series would achieve. He said "Avatar: The Last Airbender live action I feel like is going to bring everything you know and love about the original series back to life. And hopefully [it will] just bring a bunch of new fans who have never heard [of] the show before into this universe, and to me that’s pretty exciting. I’m a fan of the show personally, and I’m just as excited for this as you guys are."

Kiawentiio as Katara, Ian Ousley as Sokka in season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender.

(Image credit: Robert Falconer/Netflix)

How many episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender will there be?

There will be eight episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender altogether, and Netflix will drop all episodes at the same time, in great news for those looking for a binge watch.

Ian Ousley, who portrays Sokka, has weighed in on changes made to his character from the original animation. In an interview with EW, he and Kiawentiio Tarbell (Katara) suggested the original Sokka was a little sexist, and this wouldn't be a part of the live action version. 

Tarbell said "I feel like we also took out the element of how sexist [Sokka] was. I feel like there were a lot of moments in the original show that were iffy." Such moments included Sokka alluding to girls' jobs being to sew trousers back together, and boys being better at hunting and fighting. Ousley added "There are things that were redirected just because it might play a little differently [in live action]."

Maria Zhang as Suki, Tamlyn Tomita as Mayor Yukari in season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender

(Image credit: Robert Falconer/Netflix)

Avatar: The Last Airbender cast

  • Gordon Cormier as Avatar Aang
  • Dallas Liu as Prince Zuko
  • Kiawentiio as Katara
  • Ian Ousley as Sokka
  • Paul Sun-Hyung Lee as Uncle Iroh
  • Elizabeth Yu as Princess Azula
  • Daniel Dae Kim as Fire Lord Ozaip
  • Ken Leung as Commander Zhao
  • Maria Zhang as Suki
  • Lim Kay Siu as Gyatso
  • A Martinez as Pakku
  • Amber Midthunder as Princess Yue
  • Yvonne Chapman as Avatar Kyoshi
  • Tamlyn Tomita as Yukari
  • Casey Camp-Horinek as Gran Gran
  • C. S. Lee as Avatar Roku
  • Danny Pudi as The Mechanist
  • Utkarsh Ambudkar as King Bumi
  • James Sie as the Cabbage Merchant
  • Rainbow Dickerson as Kya
  • Joel Montgrand as Hakoda
  • Arden Cho as June
  • Momona Tamada as Ty Lee
  • Thalia Tran as Mai
  • Joel Oulette as Hahn
  • Nathaniel Arcand as Arnook
  • Meegwun Fairbrother as Avatar Kuruk
  • Irene Bedard as Yagoda
  • Ryan Mah as Lieutenant Dang
  • François Chau as the Great Sage
  • Sebastian Amoruso as Jet
  • Hiro Kanagawa as Fire Lord Sozin
  • George Takei as Koh the Face Stealer
  • Randall Duk Kim as Wan Shi Tong
  • Lucian-River Chauhan as Teo
  • Ruy Iskandar as Lieutenant Jee
  • Taylor Lam Wright as the Duke
  • Wes Valarao as Smellerbee
  • Nathaniel Kong as Longshot

Kiawentiio Tarbell and director Albert Kim spoke to Inverse about making plans for a possible season two. Kiawentiio said of season one "We see lots of turmoil in Katara’s trauma and in her past with losing her mom, but I feel like there’s room to expand on that in further seasons."

Kim added "Fans will know that the original series, all three seasons, take place essentially within the course of a calendar year. That wasn’t something we could do. Our human actors will change and grow during that time."

He continued "So if the show returns for a second season, it wouldn’t be a big deal if the child actors were four years older than when they were first cast. Kiawentiio, who was 14 when cast, is 18 now. And she’s eager to do Season 2 and 'see what I would do with the character now.'"

For more in popular kids TV, we looked at why Bluey is different from other children's shows, and how its popularity is so enduring. We also have recommendations for the best Disney Plus kids films to watch as a family, and the best Easter movies for kids, with that celebration nearly upon us.

Lucy Wigley
Parenting writer - contributing

Lucy is a mum-of-two, multi-award nominated writer and blogger with six years’ of experience writing about parenting, family life, and TV. Lucy has contributed content to PopSugar and In the last three years, she has transformed her passion for streaming countless hours of television into specialising in entertainment writing. There is now nothing she loves more than watching the best shows on television and sharing why you - and your kids - should watch them.