Avatar: The Last Airbender: Moon Spirit's Live-Action Vs. Animation Key Difference Explained

By Russ Milheim Posted:
Avatar: The Last Airbender, Netflix logo, Moon Spirit and Ocean Spirit, Amber Midthunder as Yue

There is one key difference between the Moon Spirit in the new Netflix live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series and the original animated show.

In Book One: Water of the animated series (the first season), starting in Episode 7 of the live-action show, Team Avatar makes it to the Northern Water Tribe, where they prepare to face off against the Fire Nation as they attempt to save the very Moon Spirit itself.

They also meet Princess Yue, someone who plays an integral part in their mission, and saving the very world itself.

Netflix Changed the Moon Spirit in Avatar: The Last Airbender

The Moon Spirit, Ocean Spirit and Zhao in Netflix's Avatar: The Last Airbender

In the big climax of the battle of the Northern Water Tribe in Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender, Ken Leung’s Commander Zhao does the unthinkable: he kills the Moon Spirit, who resides in the form of a mortal fish for a single day.

This act leads to the destruction of the Moon and, with it, the waterbender’s ability to bend.

Lucky for them, Princess Yue is there to make it right. Though, in Yue making her sacrifice, the adaptation makes one big change to the sequence and the Moon Spirit.

Amber Midthunder as Yue in Netflix's Avatar: The Last Airbender

Thanks to having a part of the Moon Spirit within her, Princess Yue sacrifices her life by submerging herself into the pool of water and giving herself over to the Spirit World. The water around her starts to glow, and audiences see what was once Yue turn into a bright white fish in the water.

Viewers of the animated series probably expected more, but that was all the live-action series had to offer.

Katara, Iroh, Sokka, and Yue as the Moon Spirit in Avatar: The Last Airbender

In the original show, there was another whole part to the sequence.

After Yue chooses to make the sacrifice, as she turns into the Moon Spirit, she shows her spirit form—a super glammed-up version of herself with flowy white robes.

Sokka and Yue in Avatar: The Last Airbender

That is not all, though. She and Sokka also share one final kiss before she vanishes for good.

This then gives the heartbroken couple a little moment of closure that the live-action Sokka will have to do without.

Why Did Avatar Change the Moon Spirit?

It is certainly an odd choice to trim that particular sequence. It seems wholly unnecessary—unless the production wanted to save some money by not having to design another costume or VFX element.

After all, the Ocean Spirit looked pretty incredible (and expensive).

The thought process could have also been to take a little weight off the romance between Sokka and Princess Yue so that the series could better set up his love story with Suki. Perhaps that means the character could be utilized more in future seasons.

On the flip side, while the show may have trimmed some of Princess Yue’s story as the Moon Spirit, it did give her a little bit of original stuff as well. This includes her time as a white fox in the spirit world, helping to guide Sokka.

Ultimately, these changes to the Moon Spirit matter very little to the story going forward, and she never comes up again (at least, in the animated show).

Avatar: The Last Airbender is now streaming on Netflix.

- In This Article: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Release Date
February 22, 2024
Dallas Liu
Gordon Cormier
Ian Ousley
- About The Author: Russ Milheim
Russ Milheim is the Industry Relations Coordinator at The Direct. On top of utilizing his expertise on the many corners of today’s entertainment to cover the latest news and theories, he establishes and maintains communication and relations between the outlet and the many studio and talent representatives.