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‘Avatar’ Fan Theories I Can’t Stop Thinking About

It’s no surprise that one of Nickelodeon’s most popular franchises has fan theories. But some of these have made me lose sleep.
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Ever since Netflix announced they were doing a live-action remake of Avatar: The Last Airbender, the original show and its sequel series, Avatar: Legend of Korra, have gotten a lot of attention again. And with that attention comes fan theories and headcanons. Whether it be older theories being brought up again or new ones that connect the two series, I’ve been going down Reddit rabbit holes about them. Here are the 13 that I can’t stop thinking about.

The Live-Action Movie Was An Ember Islands Players Production

The Last Airbender live-action movie
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I don’t want to be mean, but the live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender movie was horrible, and we all know it. That’s where this first theory comes into play. And before you start cursing my name, I’m not making excuses for the film. I just thought the idea was funny.

In M. Night Shyamalan’s Avatar movie, there were a ton of differences from the animated show, much like the Ember Islands Players play from season three. Both Shyamalan and Ember Islands Players had plot points wrong, mispronounced names, and missed small details. Though it’s not really plausible, you have to admit you can see why the theory caught my attention.

Korra and Princess Yue Are Related

Princess Yue from The Last Airbender and Korra from Legend of Korra
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Let’s move on to the first of the fan theories focusing on Princess Yue. We don’t know much about the Northern Water Tribe’s royalty or chiefdom, but what we do know is that Yue’s father was the chief during The Last Airbender.

Then, in Legend of Korra, the chief of the Northern Water Tribe is now Korra’s father. Now, if the title of chief is passed down through families, it’s possible Yue’s parents had other children after her. Another possibility is that the title went to one of Yue’s parent’s siblings if that’s how it works in that Tribe.

Princess Yue Was Supposed to Be the Avatar

Princess Yue from Avatar The Last Airbender
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This fan theory speculates why Yue needed the Moon Spirit to live. Yue tells Sokka that she was quiet until the Moon Spirit gave her a second chance at life. But why was that necessary in the first place? It never really got explained.

What if she would have been the next Avatar after Aang? That is, if he hadn’t gone into cryosleep for 100 years. This has been disproved because of timing and the way the Avatar cycle works, but it’s still interesting.

Korra Didn’t Entirely Lose Her Connection to the Avatar Cycle

Korra in the Avatar State in Legend of Korra
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Yes, we literally saw the Avatar Cycle destroyed in season two of Legend of Korra. But, we also saw Aang lose connection with the cycle at one point, too, in his show. So hear me out on this theory.

When Azula blocked Aang’s chi and blocked his connection to the other Avatars, he was able to meet with the four Avatars before him through a Spirit journey. So, theoretically, Korra could do a more intensive quest through the Spirit World to find the past Avatars and reconnect with them.

Gyatso Used a Forbidden Airbending Technique in His Last Moments

Do you remember that heartbreaking scene when Aang found Monk Gyatso’s corpse surrounded by Firebenders in his old temple? There are two theories that explain why everyone in that area was dead, including Gyatso himself.

The first theory says that Gyatso removed air from the Firebenders’ lungs and killed them, similar to Zaheer in Legend of Korra, but it backfired and also killed him. Another theory guessed that he only did that because it was his last stand, and he knew he wouldn’t survive even if he didn’t kill them himself.

Zaheer Was an Air Acolyte and Studied Under Aang

Zaheer looking at Tenzin in Legend of Korra
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Between all the antagonists from both shows, I came across way too many fan theories to keep straight. But one that has always stood out was this one about Zaheer and how he knew so much about Air Nomad culture and techniques.

It said that Zaheer was an Air Acolyte to preserve the culture and studied under Aang. This would explain why he knew so much when he got Airbending. What really got me thinking that wasn’t addressed, though, was when did he decide to rid the world of the Avatar?

If he decided to get rid of the Avatar after studying under Aang for years, he basically felt his teacher wasn’t good enough and had failed the world. If he’d set out to study under Aang after deciding to kill him, he literally studied to find Aang’s weaknesses.

See related: The 20 Best Fights from ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ and ‘Avatar: Legend of Korra’

Sokka Is Suyin’s Father

Sokka from The Last Airbender and Suyin in Legend of Korra
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This is one of the more popular theories I saw on Reddit about Legend of Korra. Lin and Suyin’s fathers were never outright revealed in the show, but looking at them side by side, there are distinct similarities that hint they are half-sisters.

This specific theory states that since Suki died young, Sokka and Toph might have had a romantic relationship at one point, and he’s Suyin’s father. Their basis for this was Suyin, and her children resemble Sokka in looks, expressions, and personality. And honestly, I like this theory.

The Red Lotus Killed Sokka

The Red Lotus from Legend of Korra
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Now that we got a happy-ish theory about Sokka out of the way, I’m going to break your heart. Legend of Korra never explains what happened to Sokka, but this theory might have figured it out. The only things we know about Sokka’s life between the shows was that he is now dead and was a member of the White Lotus.

But how did he die? This Reddit theory says that Sokka died protecting Korra when she was a child training in fire, earth, or water. Because the Red Lotus members were captured when Korra was young, this is plausible. So, did Sokka sacrifice himself to save the reincarnation of one of his best friends? It sounds like something he would do.

Lavabenders Need to Have Earth and Fire Heritage

How many Lavabenders have we seen in the shows? Two: Ghazan and Bolin. And what do we know about Bolin? He has Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom heritage. We don’t know anything about Ghazan’s family. Still, I’m willing to bet he also has fire somewhere in his family tree.

Another theory suggested that this rare ability is due to personality, and I can see it being true. The Lavabenders we’ve seen so far have been able to adapt quickly and “go with the flow.” Metalbenders and Earthbenders tend to make sharp movements, but Ghazan and Bolin didn’t move like them in battle.

Ty Lee Is an Air Nomad

Ty Lee from Avatar The Last Airbender
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While I personally don’t think Ty Lee is an Airbender, I do believe in this theory that says she might be descended from Air Nomads. Since they were Nomads, there’s no way the Fire Nation killed all of them. Some might have just gone into hiding. But here are the other reasons why Ty Lee specifically might be an Air Nomad descendent.

First and foremost, she looks like the Air Nomads. She has grey eyes, and the only other person in The Last Airbender that had grey eyes is Aang. In addition, she also has similar facial features and body type.

Her personality aligned with Air Nomad’s teachings of “violence last.” She never sought to hurt people and just did what she had to survive. The next reason is that she knew a lot about energies, auras, spirituality, and chi. All of those were heavily taught to Air Acolytes and young Airbenders.

Is Disney more your speed? Check out Our Favorite Disney Fan Theories.

Korra Isn’t The Last Avatar

Korra in the Avatar State in Season 3 of Legend of Korra
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With the creators saying they’re not done with the universe and are creating new stories and shows, I’m hoping they announce this as canon. I will probably hold out hope for the rest of my life.

When Korra’s connection to Raava was severed in season two, she still managed to bond with them again and go back into the Avatar state in seasons three and four. This theory builds on that and says she isn’t the last Avatar. Instead, she’s the first in a new cycle.

The Avatar’s Animal Guide Reincarnates, Too

Appa and Aang in flashback in The Last Airbender
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Here’s a fan theory that will tug on your heartstrings. Because we don’t know how old Appa or Naga were in the shows, there’s a theory circulating that they’re the same age as the Avatars, and they reincarnated with them.

From Roku’s life, we know his animal guide was his dragon, and it died when he died in the lava. So, if this theory tracks, it would mean Appa was born around the same time as Aang and died around the same time he did. And the same would be said of Naga and Korra.

Guru Pathik said the Avatars and their animal guides’ fates were intertwined. So could this be what he meant? I hope the creators address this because now I can’t stop thinking about it and need answers.

The Job of the Avatar Is To Fix the Previous Avatar’s Failures

Past Avatars from Legend of Korra
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This theory is one of the most plausible, and I’m sure the creators have discussed it in the past but never outright confirmed it as canon. So, think this through with me. This theory states that the Avatar’s life is meant to right the wrongs made by the Avatar before them.

Korra’s biggest job was restoring the Air Nomads after Aang failed to save them. Aang stopped the Fire Nation after Roku failed to do so. Further back, Kuruk spent his short life trying to balance the spirit world after Yangchen focused on the physical world. If this is true, then what would the Avatar after Korra need to do? These are the questions that make me lose sleep. I can’t wait to see what the new live-action series adds to the lore of Avatar!