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"Do not worry about the moon's power, General Iroh. Because your brother, Fire Lord Ozai, and I have decided it is in our best interests to kill the Moon Spirit."
— Zhao to Iroh in The Last Airbender.
Zhao
Zhao
Nationality Fire Nation
Gender Male
Played by Aasif Mandvi

Zhao is a commander of the Fire Nation, and the right-hand-man of Fire Lord Ozai. His goal was to capture the Avatar before Zuko. He led an attack on the Northern Water Tribe and attempted to kill the Moon Spirit, which enhanced Waterbending during the full moon. The animated Zhao from the original series was decomposed into separate two characters: the main antagonist aspect (Admiral Zhao) was combined with film Ozai, while this film Zhao personifies the younger Zhao who served as a junior Lieutenant under General Shu (and then found the hidden library), and apparently also an illegitimate son of "Ozhao" composite, turning the relationship dynamics between "Zhao Jr." and similar to Edmund and Edgar in King Lear[1], hence why the film contains many scenes between him and Fire Lord Ozai, a relationship not illustrated in the cartoon. The film Zhao retained some roles of the animated Zhao, in some cases, jointly shared with the film Ozai, particularly the plan to eliminate the Ocean and Moon Spirits in the Siege of the North.

He is played by Aasif Mandvi.

Trivia

  • Unlike the animated Zhao, the film Zhao has no sideburns. However, the film Ozai had more prominent sideburns, which animated Ozai also do not have. The film Zhao also does not have a topknot like any Fire Nation member in the movie.
  • In the animated show, the library was found by the animated Zhao years before the siege, when he was a junior Lieutenant serving under General Shu in the Earth Kingdom. In the movie, it was found months before the siege by this younger film Zhao, who presented his findings to the film Ozai. The animated Zhao also was never shown to speak to Fire Lord Ozai on any matter, though Fire Lord Ozai did in fact personally send a letter to Zhao to promote him to Admiral in the animated series.
  • While the animated Zhao considered the elimination of the Ocean and Moon Spirits as his destiny, the film Ozai considered it as a shared destiny with this film Zhao: "It is destiny that we have found this information, Zhao".
  • During the Siege of the North in the film, Zhao told Iroh not to worry about the Moon Spirit's power because "Your brother, Fire Lord Ozai, and I have decided it's in our best interest to kill the Moon Spirit." This may be a nod to the animated Zhao character being split, as it may be more accurate to say "Fire Lord Ozai ordered me to kill the Moon Spirit."
  • Zhao did not possess the sinister and power-hungry personality like in the animated series, but his intentions of capturing the Avatar before Zuko and killing the Moon Spirit remains the same. With the film Ozai already personifying a "menacing" villain aspect of animated Admiral Zhao, to have this film Zhao with a similar personification just "young and cocky" may be result in a "Zhao-clone" or a Mini-Me. As such, turning this film Zhao into an "annoying" villain may serve to contrast (or foil) the two characters.
  • Although he was a master firebender in the cartoon, the movie version only displays his firebending only right before his eventual demise.
  • Zhao is part of Wave 2 in Avatar: The Last Airbender Toyline. Zhao's title seen on toy boxes is General Zhao even though he is a Commander (he was not promoted to Admiral in the movie).
  • Zhao was never promoted to Admiral like in the animated series, as his Commander rank in the movie is the highest he could possibly attain in the Navy. The film Ozai was very much involved in military affairs, with Naval Commanders and Army Generals reporting directly to him, bypassing the need for Naval Admirals or Army Marshals.
  • Aasif Mandvi made arrangements with Jon Stewart to be a villain in this film, while maintaining his role as a comedian and regular correspondent to The Daily Show[2].

References

  1. Kaufman, Dan (2010-06-02). Mandvi on Fire — An Exclusive Interview with Aasif Mandvi from M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender. It's All Geek To Me. Retrieved on May 5, 2012.
  2. Todd Gilchrist (2011-11-02). Aasif Mandvi talks about acting, comedy and Middle Eastern Corresponding. IFC. Retrieved on November 2, 2011.

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