This article is about the character in the pilot episode. For the character in the series, see Katara. For Katara's mother, see Kya. For Katara's daughter, see Kya (waterbender).
I am a 400 foot tall purple platypus bear with pink horns and silver wings.
The following information is not considered canon.
"My brother and I are quickly learning that life with Aang is one adventure after another. But who knows, one of those adventures might even save the world."
— Kya narrating in the "Avatar Series Pilot".
Kya was, for the most part, an inexperienced waterbender who mainly acted as a motherly figure, despite indications of something else when speaking to Aang. She placed a great deal of importance on hope and determination.
Kya, Aang and her brother, Sokka, were all fleeing Zuko who was aboard his ship. They encountered a sea serpent, but it took interest in Zuko's ship rather than them which allowed them to escape to an island. When there, Kya practiced her waterbending, but was unable to control it well; Aang offered her some advice and demonstrated the correct leg stance. When Sokka demanded they help search for food, Kya was reluctant to leave Aang, "the world's last hope", and so Sokka went off in a huff. Kya and Aang waited around and engaged in a slightly awkward conversation before Momo alerted them to danger.
When they reached the Fire Nation base and saw Sokka being taken in, Kya decided to go after him, but told Aang to stay hidden. She got captured as well, but refused to reveal Aang's whereabouts. When Aang flew in, shocking everyone, the soldiers threw Sokka and her into a pit. After Sokka failed to escape and found the situation hopeless, Kya tried to waterbend some water dripping into their pit. It turned out that there was a large container of water and Kya succeeded in getting them out by moving the water into the pit, carrying her and Sokka up. When they were surrounded by soldiers, Aang flew by, grabbed them and escaped. A terrified Kya screamed and moved up to hold onto Aang.
Kya already seemed to have feelings for Aang, as noted by Sokka's "boyfriend" comment, recreated in the actual series.
Katara's name was at first Kya, which later needed to be changed once the actual series began for legal reasons. The name was eventually reused for Katara and Sokka's mother in the third book.
When the collector's edition of book one was released, a small booklet of art and commentary was included, and the creators of the show revealed why Katara's name was changed. "[H]er name was actually Kya, but when Nickelodeon's legal department vetted the name, they discovered there was already a video game character named Kya, so we had to change it." The next name they tried was Kanna, but it did not quite fit, so when co-creator Bryan Konietzko pitched the name "Katara", Kanna became the name of Sokka and Katara's Gran Gran.