Ian Ousley plays Sokka in the Netflix adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender, but you might recognize him from a handful of other TV shows!

Keep reading to learn more about the actor.

Who Is Ian Ousley?

Ian was born and raised in College Station, Texas, where he began practicing Taekwondo at the age of 9. Earning his third-degree black belt in 2018, the future actor competed nationally for five years.

As for his acting career, he appeared in 3 episodes of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why from 2019 to 2020.

In 2021, it was announced he would be playing Sokka in the live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Why Is Sokka’s Character Change So Controversial?

Prior to the premiere of Avatar: The Last Airbender on February 22, 2024, Ian spoke about how Netflix changed up his character’s personality, specifically, as it relates to women.

He told Entertainment Weekly that his character’s sexism towards women, which is showcased in the first few episodes of the original animated series, was scrapped from the Netflix show.

“There’s more weight with realism in every way,” Ousley said at the time.

Kiawentiio, who plays Katara, 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.”

“Yeah, totally,” Ian said. “There are things that were redirected just because it might play a little differently [in live action].”

Fans were disappointed regarding this change, as it’s an important character arc journey for Sokka. In the original series, his pig-headedness eventually melts away after encountering the female Kyoshi warriors.

Ian defended Netflix’s choice to town down his character’s sexism during an interview with GamesRadar+  from February 2024.

“The animated show really is the heart and soul of what our live-action show is. We were not trying to take out anything,” he began. “Obviously we took out that element, but he still has that attitude. Not a sexist attitude, but it’s morphed into more of – in Sokka and Katara’s relationship – ‘I’m the leader and you’re the follower’ situation.”

He added, “He’s still the Sokka we know and love from the cartoon. I don’t even think fans would notice some of those things, honestly, [when] watching our show… He definitely still has his arcs and his lessons in the show.”

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