Tenzin points to his bald head in "The Legend of Korra"
Tenzin points to his bald head in "The Legend of Korra" (Nickelodeon)

The Only Man as Majestic as Tenzin Is His ‘Legend Of Korra’ Voice Actor

Tenzin, the uncle we all wish we had. He’s only one of the best characters in all of The Legend of Korra. He’s the only airbending child that the late Avatar Aang ever had (until the third Spirit Gate opened that is). After his father’s death, he was the only living airbender in the entire world until the birth of his children.

Recommended Videos

But who is Tenzin, really?

Tenzin is many things. He’s arguably one of the most complicated characters in Avatar. Unlike his goofy-til-the-end father, Tenzin had a serious and thoughtful temper ever since childhood. He inherited the entire legacy of the Airbending Nation and grew up under the titanic shadow cast by his world-famous father. After his father’s death, the entire future of the Air Nomads rested on his shoulders. Talk about pressure. Subject to such heavy expectations, along with an often absent father, Tenzin had to grow up fast. He’s technically the baby of the family, but he sure doesn’t act that way.

As a politician, he’s an idealist, embracing the peacekeeping tenants of his father and his nation. As a husband and father, he’s a stalwart fount of love and support for his family. As a teacher, he’s impatient. His prudent nature causes him and the impulsive Korra to butt heads often. Despite his monastic background, he often lacks patience. He had to succumb to enormous pressure and responsibility as a child. Why shouldn’t everyone else? As a bender, he’s a certified badass. He is, without a doubt, the greatest airbender in the world, save for the Avatar herself. He managed to hold out against airbending genius Zaheer and would have beaten him had the rest of the Red Lotus not shown up. He’s also like… totally ripped. Great beard too.

Who could possibly voice such a majestic character?

The only man qualified for the job is the equally majestic J.K. Simmons. Many remember him for his iconic performance as the cantankerous newsman J. Jonah Jameson from the early 2000s Spiderman films with Toby McGuire. He rose to full-blown internet fame with his performance as Terence Fletcher in the psychological music drama Whiplash. “NOT MY TEMPO” sound familiar? He has also carved out a name for himself in animation, appearing in Gravity Falls as the (spoiler alert) long-lost brother of Grunkle Stan and the villain-turned-anti-hero Omni Man from Invincible.

The casting is flawless. Wise. Commanding. Overbearing. Conflicted. J.K. Simmons masterfully portrays Tenzin in all of his beautiful complexity, and the show is all the better for it.

(featured image: Nickelodeon)


The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article Which Season of ‘The Sopranos’ Is the Best … and Which Deserves To Be Whacked?
Adriana (Drea de Matteo) and Silvio (Steven van Zandt) driving in The Sopranos
Read Article What’s the Eco Pup’s Catchphrase Your Toddler Keeps Repeating From ‘PAW Patrol’?
Rocky on Nickelodeon's "PAW Patrol"
Read Article One Cut ‘Bridgerton’ Character Changes One of Season 3’s Best Scenes From the Books
The Featherington sisters and their husbands in Bridgerton season 3
Read Article When Can We Return to the Flames With ‘Fire Country’ Season 3?
Max Thieriot in Fire Country
Read Article Get Emotionally Wrecked by the 9 Best Shows Like ‘Heartbreak High’
Amerie, Darren, and Quinni standing at their lockers in Heartbreak High
Related Content
Read Article Which Season of ‘The Sopranos’ Is the Best … and Which Deserves To Be Whacked?
Adriana (Drea de Matteo) and Silvio (Steven van Zandt) driving in The Sopranos
Read Article What’s the Eco Pup’s Catchphrase Your Toddler Keeps Repeating From ‘PAW Patrol’?
Rocky on Nickelodeon's "PAW Patrol"
Read Article One Cut ‘Bridgerton’ Character Changes One of Season 3’s Best Scenes From the Books
The Featherington sisters and their husbands in Bridgerton season 3
Read Article When Can We Return to the Flames With ‘Fire Country’ Season 3?
Max Thieriot in Fire Country
Read Article Get Emotionally Wrecked by the 9 Best Shows Like ‘Heartbreak High’
Amerie, Darren, and Quinni standing at their lockers in Heartbreak High
Author
Jack Doyle
Jack Doyle (they/them) is actually nine choirs of biblically accurate angels crammed into one pair of $10 overalls. They have been writing articles for nerds on the internet for less than a year now. They really like anime. Like... REALLY like it. Like you know those annoying little kids that will only eat hotdogs and chicken fingers? They're like that... but with anime. It's starting to get sad.