Avatar Kyoshi entering the Avatar State in the Netflix live action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender

Why Avatar Kyoshi on ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ Might Look so Familiar To You

Kyoshi lovers rise!

A good chunk of the first season of Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender—a live-action adaptation of the original animated show of the same name, which aired on Nickelodeon from 2005 to 2008—revolves around the main character’s Aang (Gordon Cormier) struggle in accepting his role and his responsibilities.

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That’s because Aang is the Avatar. In a world where some people are born with the ability to bend one natural element to their will, Aang can master all four and is therefore tasked with painting the balance between the nations of the world as well as between humans and spirits.

Because the Avatar is so steeped in power, their spirit never dies. Instead, it continues in an endless cycle of death and reincarnations, with each Avatar coming into the world as a native bender of a different element. The combined power of all previous Avatars is part of what makes the current one so powerful—and their spiritual presence allows the Avatar to turn to his past lives to ask for advice.

That’s exactly what Aang does, and that’s how we in turn come to meet the second-to-last Avatar before his time, the fierce Avatar Kyoshi.

Who plays Avatar Kyoshi in Avatar?

Avatar Kyoshi, an earthbender, is played in the show by Canadian actress Yvonne Chapman. She appears as Kyoshi in the first two episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender, “Aang” and “Warriors.”

Kyoshi narrates the basis of the world of Avatar in the season’s first episode and then appears in the second one when Aang visits the shrine dedicated to her on the island where she lived and that is now named after her. Chapman is involved in one of the first major battle sequences of the show—one that displays the incredible might the Avatar can achieve once he or she enters the infamous Avatar State.

Born in Calgary, Canada, Chapman had a series of small roles in series like Second Chance, The 100, and The Crossing before co-starring in the first and only season of the 2019 CBC reboot of Street Legal, a legal drama that focuses on the professional and personal lives of the partners of a small firm in Toronto.

Between 2021 and 2023, she had a couple more minor roles—in Diggstown and Hudson & Rex—but most importantly, she was a series regular in the 2021 re-imagining of the 1972 show Kung Fu, where she starred as Zhilan Zhang.

The show is a modern-day martial arts adventure and Chapman comes in for seasons two and three, with her character quickly becoming the protagonist’s archenemy.

Chapman also had a recurring role in the show Family Law, which focuses on a lawyer who is trying to recover from alcohol addiction who switches jobs and begins to work in her estranged father’s law firm together with her two half-siblings. Chapman plays Danielle Lim, the ex-fiancée of one of the protagonist’s said half-siblings.

(featured image: Netflix)


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Author
Benedetta Geddo
Benedetta (she/her) lives in Italy and has been writing about pop culture and entertainment since 2015. She has considered being in fandom a defining character trait since she was in middle school and wasn't old enough to read the fanfiction she was definitely reading and loves dragons, complex magic systems, unhinged female characters, tragic villains and good queer representation. You’ll find her covering everything genre fiction, especially if it’s fantasy-adjacent and even more especially if it’s about ASOIAF. In this Bangtan Sonyeondan sh*t for life.