Avatar: The Last Airbender: Suki & Sokka's Relationship Explained - Differences Between Live-Action & Animation

By Jennifer McDonough Posted:
Avatar: Last Airbender Sokka and Suki

Get all the major details on the relationship between the Water Tribe’s Sokka and the Kyoshi Warrior Suki in both the live-action and animated Avatar: The Last Airbender incarnations.

The live-action take on the fan-favorite Avatar: The Last Airbender is finally on Netflix, for better or for worse. The new eight-episode series retells the early portion of Aang and Company’s adventures with some notable creative liberties.

All About Suki and Sokka’s Early Dynamic

Sokka and Suki in Avatar: Last Airbender animation

Sokka notably started out in the original animated Last Airbender as a bit of a sexist, arrogant jerk. He was handed the responsibility of protecting his home of Wolf Cove after the village’s men went off to fight the Fire Nation.

As Wolf Cove’s last line of defense, Sokka took this role very seriously, often to a fault. But everything changed when he and his sister Katara inadvertently awoke the Avatar, Aang from his 100-year slumber. Venturing far from home with Team Avatar sets Sokka on a transformative path.

Suki (played in live-action by Maria Zhang), on the other hand, grew up on the isolationist Kyoshi Island in the Earth Kingdom. As a little girl, she saw the Kyoshi Warriors, the all-women squad protectors of the land in which she lived.

As a teenager, Suki became the leader of her village’s Kyoshi Warriors. It was in the line of duty that she initially apprehended Aang, Katara, and Sokka upon their arrival in her homeland, believing them to be spies from the Fire Nation. (Check out official images of Suki in live-action here.)

This misunderstanding was promptly cleared up and Suki found friendship with the trio. She took specific issue with Sokka, however, and his belief that women and girls couldn’t be fearsome warriors.

But Suki more than put Sokka in his place when she bested him in combat. Sokka, thoroughly humbled by the loss, requested that Suki personally train him. This was the event in the series that sparked real, positive change in Sokka which began to allow him to shed his chauvinism and become much more open-minded.

The watershed moment in Suki and Sokka’s relationship comes when the two initially part ways and Suki pecks Sokka on the cheek and leaves him with the memorable line, “I am a warrior, but I’m a girl too”, which obliterates any last remnants of sexism that Sokka has left in him.

How Are Sokka and Suki Different in Live-Action?

Sokka and Suki in Avatar: Last Airbender animation

In Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender, things play out a little differently. Notably, Sokka isn’t really portrayed with the sexism that was so important to his character in the early portions of the original Nickelodeon animation.

As a result, his dynamic with Suki deviates from the cartoon a fair amount. Suki still beats Sokka in that training match and she still trains him, but the vibe has been shifted.

Instead of shutting down Sokka’s sexism, because live-action Sokka isn’t sexist to begin with, Suki serves to prop up Sokka’s skill as a warrior. Many longtime fans of the franchise have remarked that this alteration feels particularly shallow and excises what made the beginnings of animated Sokka and Suki’s relationship so great.

The reaction to the Netflix version of Avatar: The Last Airbender has been mixed. The show’s expensive-looking production design and special effects have been well-praised, but complaints have been leveled against the writing, acting, and overall storytelling, especially by die-hard followers.

Nonetheless, early development on a second season has reportedly already begun.

All eight episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender, as well as the entire original run of its animated counterpart, are available to stream on Netflix.

- In This Article: Avatar: The Last Airbender
Release Date
February 22, 2024
Dallas Liu
Gordon Cormier
Ian Ousley
- About The Author: Jennifer McDonough
Jennifer McDonough has been a writer at The Direct since its 2020 launch. She is responsible for the creation of news articles and features. She also has a particular affinity for action figures and merchandise, which she revels in discussing in the articles she writes, when the situation calls for it.