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Here are the major differences between the cartoon and M Night's movie.
- Characters like the Kyoshi Warriors, Bumi, Jeong Jeong and Jet are missing from the first installment. However, Shyamalan has confirmed that the Kyoshi Warriors will be featured in the second installment.
- The scenes for Suki and her Kyoshi Warriors were shot but moved to the sequel, although we can see them in behind-the-scenes featurettes, glimpses of them in the deleted scenes, and their story was still in the novelization. Their costumes and weapons were similar but without the face paint. Rather than protecting the Kyoshi Island from intruders, they took over the roles for Jet and the Freedom Fighters.
- One of the more easily noticeable differences in the film is the frequent alteration of pronunciation of certain words and names. The word "Avatar" (with a short "a" sound in the show) is often pronounced as "Aw-vatar" (with a long "a" sound), "Sokka" ("Saw-ka" in the show) is pronounced "Soh-ka", "Aang" ("Ang" in the show) is pronounced "Ong", and "Iroh" ("Eye-row" in the show) is pronounced "Ee-roh". The reason for these alterations is because those are the Asian pronounciations of the names since there's many Asian themes in the show.
- Another major difference to the show is the general tone of the film, while Book 1 of the show was much more comedic, the film is much more serious in tone.
- None of the Fire Nation characters (like Azula, Iroh and Zhao) wear top-knots. Zuko no longer has a ponytail like his animated counterpart, which may suggest another story element to be dropped in the sequel, where Zuko cut off his hair as a symbol of severance from his family and the Fire Nation in Season 2.
- The main theme of the series is about a boy realizing his fate to save the world and that he will need the help from his friends to accomplish that task. That never came across; Aang's only "inner conflict" was his inability to use the full power of his waterbending, which he finally did to create a really big wall of water to scare the Fire Nation away. Not to defeat them and deal a crushing blow to the might of the Fire Nation, just to scare them away.
- Aang was also given a new conflict; he couldn't bend water without hurting people, so he wouldn't bend. It is implied that he cannot overcome his grief over the loss of the Air Nomads, which is why he became less optimistic after his visit to the Southern Air Temple. This is a massive contrast to the cartoon, where one of Aang's defining traits was his ability to stay happy despite these horrible circumstances.
- Furthermore, Avatar Roku's role in the series as Aang's spiritual guide is given to Fang in the film. Fang also serves as a stand-in of Koh as well.
- In the film, Aang is shown to have female classmates, even though in the series male and female Air Nomads lived in seperate temples.
- Aang's arrow was included but as form of an intricate tattoo, received after achieving the Master status. In the movie, Aang achieved his Master status after being able to meditate for long periods of time without losing focus, instead of creating a new technique (in this case, the air-scooter, which was cut from the movie).
- Not many hybrid animals, with the exception of Momo and Appa, are depicted in the film. Tiger Seals are mentioned, while Komodo Rhinos are depicted as giant Komodo dragons.
- Arnook is killed off in the film adaptation. As a result, the Northern Water Tribe ruled by Princess Yue. (Technically, she would be called "Queen Yue".) Also, she was not engaged like in the cartoon. Naturally, Hahn is also completely cut from the movie.
- In the series, Aang immediately masters the waterbending lessons Katara gives him with little to no effort, despite the fact that it took her much time and practice to master them. In the movie, it was Aang who has trouble waterbending, despite being a fairly easy element to master compared to earth and fire.
- The concept of "push and pull" in waterbending is never discussed in the film. Instead, as quoted by Pakku, "To master water, you must release your emotions, wherever they may lead you. Water teaches us acceptance. Let your emotions flow like water."
- The calligraphy used in the cartoon is replaced with Asian-like gibberish language in the film.
- The Avatar state was never mentioned by name in the film. While it was triggered through rage after finding out the truth about his people's demise, it was somehow triggered voluntarily when he started the giant wave. He never entered that stage while escaping from Zuko's ship.
- "Yip Yip" is only mentioned once in the movie, so how Katara and Sokka manage to make Appa fly remains a mystery. It may be implied that this is because Appa was scared after being the Southern Water Tribe children's play-thing and Sokka must have accidentally made Appa fly by accident.
- Iroh's 600-day siege of Ba Sing Se is cut to 100 days.
- Aang is not a boisterous twelve year old that is in denial of the war. He does not display desire to enjoy life to the fullest ("Free and joyous" as an Air Nomad) and lacks any light-hearted, fun-loving behavior. Aang also never grew out of his lack of responsibility towards the war in the same, believable fashion as series Aang did at the Northern Water Tribe.
- Katara is never revealed to have healing abilities in the film, where in the series it is a very important ability that she possesses. Her bold, self-assuring, brave, strong will is absent and her abilities as a Waterbender are lessened. She also lacked her motherly side.
- Sokka's characterization and depiction was closer to the episodes Jet and possibly Bato of the Water Tribe. He had some funny moments but more serious, level-headed, and responsible. However, his intelligence and responsibility as protector of his village are not displayed. His personal witty sarcastic behaviour is lacking. In a deleted scene, he was shown to be an adept fighter, which suggested why Pakku accepted Sokka's offer to guard Yue at all times.
- Zuko's anti-hero status was done with less subtlety in the film, rather than gradually revealed throughout the original animated series, which highlighted the moment this status was confirmed when Zuko turned against his father and joined Aang. Shyamalan may have established Zuko's anti-hero status more quickly due to the racebending controversy, with Zuko cast was with a dark-skinned minority actor, while the hero side (Aang, Sokka, and Katara) cast with light-skinned actors.
- Zuko is shown as feeling remorse for others, something he is blind to as of Season 1 in the series. This is shown when he apologizes to an unconscious Katara in the movie, whereas in the series he smugly rubs in his victory over her.
- Iroh is notably thinner and taller than his cartoon equivalent.
- Ozai is not hidden in the movie like in the show, instead he is seen clearly at the beginning of the film. Cliff Curtis stated that he was "kind of like the Darth Vader character for that franchise", which is interesting because in the original Star Wars trilogy, Darth Vader was shown as the main antagonist like animated Zhao, while the Emperor was hidden like animated Ozai. Throughout the first season of the series, he is often depicted as a shadowy silhouette with his face hidden. Unlike the cartoon, Ozai is seen to show some degree of caring for Zuko. He even warned Zhao not to harm his son. He doesn't appear as hateful and cruel, but contemplative and decisive.
- 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. 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.
- Despite being a master Firebender in the series, Zhao does not display much firebending in the movie. His only times where he actually firebend is right after Iroh stops Zuko from dueling Zhao and right before his demise.
- Unlike the show, Kanna is not called Gran-Gran, instead she is just called Grandma.
- The sexist behaviors of both Sokka and Pakku are not depicted in the movie. This is likely due to the omission of the Kyoshi Warriors (where Suki and her girls changed Sokka's perception about women) and the entire Waterbending Master plot (where Pakku refuses to teach Katara waterbending because she is female).
- The ethnicities of the Four Nations slightly altered due to the casting of the actors:
- The Water Tribe, originally depicted as dark-skinned Inuits, aborigines and pacific islanders, are Caucasian in general. Katara, Sokka and Kanna were the only Caucasian actors in the Southern Water Tribe, others were mostly cast with Inuit extras. This may also be explained with Kanna (like her animated counterpart) being formerly from the Northern Water Tribe, which was mostly cast with white actors. Yue is the only Northern Water Tribe character who has darker skin tone, as others were mostly cast with white actors.
- The Fire Nation, originally inspired by the Chinese and South-East Asians, are now played by actors of South Asian, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern heritage. This is due to the casting of Dev Patel, a UK-born Indian actor.
- The Earth Kingdom are still East Asian in general, but an additional African village is shown briefly in the movie (this can be seen further in the deleted scene "Talk To The Dead").
- The Air Nomads are now more diverse than its Tibetan-inspired counterparts in the series. This is partly due to Noah Ringer's ambiguous looks, which is described as "mixed" by M Night. Gyatso is now depicted as an African monk.
- Firebenders cannot generate their own fire but must bend fires from nearby sources, which "evens the (playing) field". This does not apply for high-level Firebenders like Iroh, and mostly likely Azula and Ozai as well. Whether this will affect lightning generation is unknown. In the film Fire Lord Ozai states that when Sozin's Comet comes, it will give all firebenders the ability to generate fire from their own chi, not just high-level firebenders. In the series, firebenders are able to draw power from the comet as they normally do the sun, greatly increasing their powers.
- In the Fire Nation, the ruling class and high-ranking soldiers are all Firebenders, where a superior minority rule over the non-Bender majority, i.e. "might makes right" or "survival of the fittest". Very likely, a high-level Firebender has the right of succession. If there two high-level Firebenders are seeking for the throne, they would engage in an Agni ki Duel. This would explain Ozai's surprise in the deleted scene "Field Ablaze", when the soldier told Ozai that Iroh has the ability to generate fire from his own chi. Ozai may be wondering why Iroh, who was a high-level Firebender like him, did not challenge him for the throne and chose retirement instead, especially if Iroh could defeat Ozai easily in a duel.
- As a result of the above reason, lower-ranked Fire Nation soldiers relied heavily on sword-fighting and war machines that only Fire Nation had. This gave them the superior tactical advantage over other nations. The prominent machines in the movie are the steel cruiser warships, which are either powered by steam or internal combustion engine. Other machines include the tank that the Blue Spirit hitchhiked as it rolled into the Northern Air Temple, and the portable drills the Fire Nation soliders used to break into the Northern Water City from underneath the icy surface.
The Boy In The Iceberg
- Katara is shown apologizing frantically after splashing Sokka with water, as Sokka comes forward to beat her up or something. This is considered out-of-character for both.
- Katara thought about their mom while waterbending, which she was strange to her. She did not make that statement in the series.
- Right before Aang is discovered, Katara and Sokka are fishing in the series while in the movie, they are hunting for tigerseal.
- How Aang is discovered is different from the series. In the series, Katara inadvertently frees Aang from the ice as she yells at her brother. Her anger manifests when she waterbends, breaking the iceberg surrounding the frozen Aang. After the ice is cracked open, Aang and Appa awaken. They ride back to the tribe on Appa’s back, with Appa swimming. In the movie, Sokka notices that the ice beneath them is glowing. The sphere rises up, cracking open the ice surface. He yells "Katara! Don’t touch that sphere!", but Katara proceeds to crack open the sphere and there is an explosion of light. The camera reveals a crater, where Aang and Appa lie unconscious. Katara and Sokka argue, then decide to bring them back to the village.
- Zuko's introduction after witnessing the beam of light that shot through the sky in the series is shortened to simply him saying "Uncle, look!" in the movie.
- Another difference is the size of the Southern Water Tribe. In the show, it is much smaller with no elderly men being seen at all. In the movie it is much bigger with some males being seen.
- In the series, after Aang awakens, he wins over the hearts of the young children in the Water Tribe. He explores an abandoned Fire Nation ship with Katara and inadvertently sets off an explosion/flare. Sokka demands that Aang leave the village. When the Fire Nation arrives, Sokka is easily defeated by Zuko. It was then Aang allows himself to be captured.
- In the film, The Fire Nation arrives almost as soon as Aang awakens. Instead of charging the Fire Nation soldiers despite being obviously outnumbered and overpowered, Katara tells Sokka not to move.
- Aang refuses to reveal his identity or name when Zuko demanded to know who he was. In the series, Aang revealed his identity in front of everyone present, including Katara and Sokka.
- In the film, when Zuko demanded the Southern Water Tribe villagers to "bring him all the elderly", he did not specify that the Avatar was physically 100+ years old. At least in the series, he drags Kanna as an example when he demanded for the Avatar. After that, he threatens the villagers with firebending, whereas in the film, the threat was done by a Fire Nation soldier.
- In the film, Kanna has knowledge about the Spirit World, unlike in the cartoon.
- Once Aang is captured by Zuko, Iroh performs a test on Aang not used in the show where he places each of the four elements in front of him, noticing how they respond. This test was an invention of the film, presumably to establish what Aang is capable of, although it brings into question why they also include the test employed by the show where Aang instinctively chooses the four artifacts of the Avatar.
- Aang never created an avalanche to destroy Zuko's ship, and Katara and Sokka never joined in to fight. In the film, Aang simply escapes, flying his glider to Appa, Katara and Sokka.
- Aang and Zuko never fought during Aang's escape from Zuko's ship. A similar fight however, did occur once Aang awakens from his visit to the Spirit World while he was held captive by Zuko. That fight strangely consists of hand-to-hand combat, while actual bending only occurred right before Katara rescues Aang and freezes Zuko.
The Southern Air Temple
- Aang only revealed his name once he traveled to the Southern Air Temple with Katara and Sokka.
- How Momo got his name was not mentioned.
- In the series, Katara realizes Aang has no knowledge of the war at all, as she learns that he was trapped in the iceberg for one hundred years once they are in an abandoned Fire Navy ship. In the movie, it was after discovering the bodies of Aang's fellow Air Nomads.
- In the series, only Monk Gyatso's body is found, together with numerous bodies of Fire Nation soldiers. In the movie, there are plenty of skeletons, which are implied to be that of Air Nomads, including Gyatso's.
- Zuko never challenges Zhao to an Agni Kai duel. In the film, Zhao invited Zuko and Iroh to have lunch with him on this ship, as opposed to tea from the series. After Zhao publicly insults Zuko, Zuko walks by him and states, "One day you will bow before me." Then he walks away. Also, Zuko's confrontation with Zhao at the bridge is brief in the film version, as Iroh talks Zuko out of it. As a result, Zuko never had an Agni Ki duel with Zhao in both occasions.
- Zuko is seen taking out a family photo showing Ozai with his trademark beard and long hair like in the cartoon, which is ironic considering his appearance in the film is clean-cut.
- In the series, Katara gives the Earthbenders their freedom, but Aang does that in the movie instead, and they're imprisoned on a rig out at sea so they don't Earthbend in the series; however in the movie they're imprisoned in a garden-variety landbound prison camp but still lose their hope. Also, Haru and his father Tyro are in the film, but they are noticeably younger and not named.
- The Fire Nation agreed to let the non-benders live in peace as long as the Earthbenders allow themselves to be imprisoned, rather than capturing the Earthbenders one by one like in the series. If the Earthbenders renege on the deal, they will have to face the machines again, but this time, will level the village to the ground and kill everyone.
- In the film, Katara accidentally freezes Sokka right before being imprisoned in the Earth Kingdom village. In the series, this happens while attempting to freeze Fire Nation soldiers in Zuko's ship.
- The statue of Kyoshi can be found in the village where earthbending is forbidden, meaning that village and Kyoshi Island are in one location in the movie continuity. No much backstory is given for Kyoshi, just that "she likes games".
- Sokka suggested that they travel to the North Pole, which was on the other side of the world, as his father told him about powerful waterbenders there who may be able to teach Aang. In the series, it was Aang who suggested going to the North Pole to Katara so that they can find a waterbending teacher, right before penguin sledding.
- Sokka also suggested visiting the small villages occupied by the Fire Nation along the way to start a change in the war, similar to Paul Revere's one-man role in spreading the news which went viral and kicked off the American Revolution, like what Aang did in the prison and later in the Kyoshi village. In the novelization, Sokka implied that "That's how you win a war. Not just by fighting on the big fronts, but also by building support from the inside." In the series, the visits to the villages in the series are either by coincidence or for supplies and shelter. Katara can also be clearly shown advertising the Avatar's return, something the cartoon equivalent would never do.
- Many villages in the Earth Kingdom had fallen under Fire Nation control, but yet to conquer big cities like Ba Sing Se, although as of Book 1, the village where earthbending is forbidden is the only Fire Nation controlled one so far.
- The Waterbending scroll was given to Katara by the former prisoners in the Earth Kingdom in the film, but she steals it from pirates in the series.
- In the movie Aang gives one of the reasons for running away as being told he could never have a family. This contradicts the show where many previous avatars were shown to have wives/family and specifically it contradicts the show because in the film version this would mean that Zuko and Azula are not descendents of Roku. According to the novelization, it may imply that the Avatar had to choose between love of the opposite sex and his or her duties of the Avatar: "I can tell you that the one called Katara will be very important to you... but be careful your feelings and actions. You have struggled with this in all of your lifetimes, Avatar: the balance between your desire, your love and family, and your responsibility to the world."
- In the novelization, Suki and the Kyoshi Warriors offer their services to protect the Avatar until he reaches the northernmost border of the Earth Kingdom. From there they will leave Sokka and Katara after saving them from a Fire Nation sneak attack and return to fight in the growing rebellion. Suki also implied that the idea of spreading news of the Avatar throughout the villages is working and that the Fire Nation does not know how to fight such an infection of spirit.
- Ozai banished his son to chase after the Avatar; something in the series he never expected Zuko to succeed with. In other words, he banished him on a fool's errand to let him roam the world as a fool. In the movie; he seems to have really believed Zuko would succeed and return home a hero.
- Zhao knew the Avatar was just a boy through Fire Nation spies, while in the series, it was through Zuko.
- Iroh is shown to be foolish with his requests to Zuko, telling him to consider the pretty girls of the village. It is later, when the time is right or when they have been refugees like in Book 2, that Iroh attempts to tell Zuko to lay the hunt for the Avatar to rest. This is the time he even succeeds, as he knows he could win Zuko over at that time. On Iroh's remark, Zuko replied "We can think about the pretty girls after we capture the avatar.", something Zuko would never have said in the series. He'd have snapped harshly at his Uncle had he said something like this in Book 1.
- In the film, Zuko asks a random boy in a tea shop to tell him how he received his scar and was banished from the Fire Nation by his own father. The story of Fire Lord Ozai burning the face of his son Prince Zuko (and then banished) was well known among Fire Nation people including colonials in the Northern Earth Kingdom. Ashamed, Zuko remained hooded to avoid being recognized by the locals at Fire Nation Colony in the Northern Earth Kingdom. In the animated series, most Fire Nation people (including Lieutenant Jee) thought the scar was a result of a training accident.
- In the film, the 41st division suggested by a Fire Nation general to be used as "bait" are friends with Zuko.
- Also, that same boy used the term "Agni kī Duel" instead of "Agni Kai". This can be written in Hindi as अग्नि की डूएल (Agni kī Dū'ēla) which literally translates to "Duel of Fire". Note that the Hindi word डूएल (dū'ēla) may have been adopted from the English language. For all words in Hindi, अग्नि की लड़ाई (Agni kī LaDDai) may be appropriate, which literally translates to "Fighting with Fire".
- Ozai stated "I should bring your sister up here to beat you" right before he burned his son to teach him a lesson.
The Blue Spirit
- The reason Aang is captured by Zhao is not because he has to find a cure for Katara and Sokka, it is because he is found visiting the hall of Avatars in the Northern Air Temple. Likewise, The Mechanist and his village are not seen nor mentioned anywhere in the film. In place is an elderly Earth Kingdom villager, who is later revealed to be a spy. While Aang is brought to the Fire Nation fortress after being captured in the series, he is brought to the Northern Air Temple's prayer room in the movie. The presence of the airball court and a practice area as Aang is attacking Zhao's forces with the Blue Spirit implies that the Northern Air Temple is now a Fire Nation base. In fact, the airball court and the hall of Avatars are originally located in the Southern Air Temple in the series.
- In the film the Air Temple Sanctuary with statues of all previous Avatars has a statue of the most recent airbending Avatar, which looks male. In the series, this is Avatar Yangchen, who is a female.
- A kneeling down ceremony is conducted when a new Avatar is crowned, which is something that is not from the series. Aang did not bow back when he was named the Avatar, and treats it as an issue for some reason.
- The message given to Aang in the movie is vastly different from the series. In the series, Avatar Roku told Aang that Sozin's Comet will come by the end of summer and Aang must master all the elements in time. In the movie, the Dragon Spirit (who represented Roku in the movie, even though a statue of him is visible in the Air Temple Sanctuary) told Aang that it has seen a vision of the moon turning red and that The Fire Nation has stolen scrolls from Wan Shi Tong's library in order to misuse knowledge from it. It also warned Aang to go to the Northern Water Tribe immediately.
- As the Blue Spirit, Zuko uses an equivalent of a diesel truck to sneak into the fortress by hanging underneath instead of a supply cart like in the series.
- The Blue Spirit mask in the film also came with hair, unlike the one in the series.
- The Yu Yan archers are never depicted in the film. Instead, the Blue Spirit is taken down by a scared-looking Fire Nation archer.
- In the series, Zuko regains consciousness after being hit by a Yu Yan archer, and Aang tells him of a story about his friend from 100 years ago named Kuzon from the Fire Nation and wonders if he had known Zuko back then if they would be friends. Zuko responds by attacking Aang with a fire blast. In the film, Aang is already gone once Zuko regains consciousness. Aang did however state that he and Zuko could have been friends once he partially unfreezes an encased Zuko.
- According to the novelization, Zuko did in fact attack Aang with a fire blast. Also, bits from Bato Of The Water Tribe where Aang found Katara's necklace and gave it back to Katara was used. This was cut, causing continuity problems in the movie (where Katara's necklace disappears in between Aang's departure to the Air Temple sanctuary and Team Avatar's arrival to the North Pole). That particular sequence actually foreshadows the romance between Aang and Katara, but is possibly cut due to the lack of chemistry between the young actors.
The Waterbending Master
- In the series, when Aang, Katara, Sokka arrived at the Northern Water Tribe city, a feast was held to celebrate the arrival of Katara and Sokka, which Aang being honored as a special guest. The 16th birthday of the princess, Yue, is also celebrated, as it is the coming of marrying age. After a performance by the Waterbending Master, Pakku, and his students by performing elaborate Waterbending moves for entertainment, Aang is introduced to Master Pakku. Aang is looking forward to Katara and himself learning Waterbending, after a few days' rest. Master Pakku is unimpressed with his work ethic, telling Aang that he will receive no special treatment just because he is destined to save the world. If he is interested in learning Waterbending, then they will be ready at sunrise.In the movie, they presented themselves to the Royal Court as Aang showed Princess Yue, Pakku and other members of the Northern Water Tribe council that he was the last Airbender and was accepted to train with Pakku.
- In the series, after recognizing the two broadswords on Zuko's wall as the same ones used by the Blue Spirit to save the Avatar, Zhao hires pirates to assassinate Zuko. When Iroh informs Zuko that the crew wished him a safe journey, Iroh invites him for a nightly stroll to clear his head, but Zuko remains sulking in his room. While Iroh is out walking, the assassination plan is executed by the pirates, planting explosives in Zuko's ship and detonating them with him inside. In the film, Zhao knew straight away that Zuko is the Blue Spirit (albeit without proof). When Zuko returned from his Blue Spirit exploits, Iroh told Zuko to rest in the ship. The explosion occured after a gas leak (which does not make sense as the ship is running on charcoal). In the movie novelization, Ozai ordered Zhao to "take care of this" for him and "make appear to be an accident. An unfortunate accident." This was changed in the actual movie: Zhao sabotaged Zuko's ship despite being ordered to leave him in his isolation, making Ozai seem less cruel. Voiceovers of Ozai inquiring any news of his son from Zhao was also added.
- Katara is not shown fighting with Pakku, or earning the right to train along with the men in the tribe. The subplot of Katara’s grandmother and Pakku is completely cut out. The focus is on Aang and his training. Also, in the film, female benders of the Northern Water Tribe seem to be allowed to learn bending to fight, whereas in the series only men were allowed. Also, the entire subplot regarding Katara's necklace (later revealed to be Pakku's necklace for Kanna in the series) is removed.
The Siege Of The North
- The Northern Water Tribe knew the Avatar's arrival would bring great danger in the village, so they decided to plan their war strategies ahead of schedule, and assigned Sokka to be Princess Yue's bodyguard in the process. Which is strange, as the Northern Water Tribe city is hard to detect, even Team Avatar can't locate it.
- In the film, Yue told Sokka her backstory during her date, whereas the backstory was told to the Gaang when the moon turned red in the series. While the series version emphasized on how the Moon spirit saved her life, the film version emphasized on why her hair is white.
- In the series, The Fire Nation's massive armada prepares to attack the Northern Water Tribe at dawn. In the movie, they only started attacking at night.
- Zuko sneaks into the Northern Water Tribe city by just diving into the water at a random spot, as opposed to following a tigerseal because "they have to be coming up for air somewhere" like in the series. He can be seen sneaking at the rooftops at pure daylight, although in the series he only sneaks in the NWT city at night.
- The duel between Katara and Zuko in the film has a slightly different outcome. In the series, Katara initially defeats Zuko with her bending being enhanced by the nearly full moon, but then the sun rises, and Zuko defeats Katara, knocking her unconscious. In the film, the moon wasn't up yet so Katara has to get closer to snuff out the flames, but this would leave Aang defenseless. Zuko was at a severe disadvantage to Katara in that scene - he had limited shots while Katara was surrounded by water for her bending from the Spirit Oasis, and he cannot get any closer without being covered with ice. Zuko only won on tactics (otherwise, Katara would have almost defeated Zuko): Zuko's Firebending attack range is further and faster than Katara's Waterbending attack. All she had to do is to keep defending his attacks until he ran out of shots, but Zuko firebended the last shot at her blindspot.
- Near the climax of the film, after Zuko defeats Katara, he did not immediately take Aang (whose body was left behind as Aang traveled to the spirit world) across the ice, leaving the battle between the Water Tribe and Fire Nation behind him. Instead, Zuko takes Aang and hides with his captive in one of the many buildings in the Northern Water Tribe. He decides to wait until nightfall to escape. It is not implied that his Firebending strength is linked to the sun. Also in the film, Aang's body was never left behind once he was in the spirit world, but he visited Fang when he was asleep.
- 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 our destiny that we have found this information, Zhao". Also 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."
- Aang never found out the identities of the Moon and Ocean spirits. When he was in the Spirit World, the dragon spirit simply asks Aang to "show the Fire Nation the power of water".
- Aang only joined in the Northern Water Tribe battle with the Fire Nation after being rescued by Katara. In the series, he joined once the Fire Nation attacked, only to retire early because they are too many. It was then that he decided to seek guidance from the Moon and Ocean spirits.
- When Zhao kills the Moon Spirit in the film, the moon turns red, whereas in the series the moon turned red when the Moon Spirit was captured, and disappeared altogether when it was killed. Also in the series, Zhao pulls the moon spirit out of the water and captures it in a bag. He pretends to show mercy and releases the spirit back into the pond. He then kills the moon spirit by firebending into the spirit pond. In the film, Zhao stabs the spirit with a knife once he captured it in a bag. The original cut had him punch the bag and let the dead fish had its blood flow into the oasis.
- Right after the murder of the Moon spirit, Iroh unleashes his firepower as Zhao and the soldiers accompanying him escape. While he manages to defeat several soldiers in the series, he did not attack anyone in the movie.
- In the series, Yue decides it is her duty to give the life she was given back to the Moon Spirit, despite Sokka’s protests. She places her hands on the fish, transferring her spirit, exhaling one last time and then falling back into Sokka’s arms – no longer alive. Yue's body disappears, and the white fish begins to glow, as Iroh places it back into the oasis. The fish begins to swim and the oasis glows, as the spirit image of Yue appears above the water to tell Sokka she will always be with him. Her spirit kisses Sokka one last time before becoming the Moon. In the film, it was Iroh who suggested to Yue to give her life, leaving her with no other choice. After kissing Sokka one last time, Yue gets into the oasis and the white from her hair seeps out and transfers to the fish and the moon goes back to normal. Yue's body never disappeared and she never became the Moon Spirit.
- Zhao is not killed by the Ocean Spirit. Instead, four unnamed waterbenders killed Zhao by engulfing him into a water sphere, drowning him.
- The ending to the show and movie are radically different; in the movie Aang does not merge with the Ocean Spirit and become Koizilla, instead he causes a tsunami that scares away the Fire Nation fleet. That was because in the film, it was the new Avatar rule, apparently; that "he was not meant to hurt others." While fans of the series know that as Aang's philosophy as an Air Nomad monk, this applies to all Avatars in the movie continuity. In the series, the Avatar must restore balance to the world even if it means hurting or killing others in return. After all, when Aang seeks guidance from his past lives in Sozin's Comet, Part 2: The Old Masters, they insist he must kill Fire Lord Ozai.
- The ending of the movie (right before the Azula stinger) is notably different from the first season. In the series, Aang, Katara, Sokka, Appa and Momo all look out at the moon realizing they managed to ward off the Fire Nation and there is still hope to restore balance. In the movie, Katara and Sokka helped an exhausted Aang down the stairs into the courtyard. Aang saw the entire Northern Water Tribe waiting for him. They all knelt and bowed before him. The remaining Fire Nation soldiers left in the city also bowed, in awe of his power and moved by his act of mercy. Katara said, "They want you to be their Avatar, Aang. We all do", before she and Sokka bowed along side the others. Finally accepting his role as the Avatar, he bowed back.
- Instead of returning in eight months, Sozin's Comet is due to return in three years time. In the film, Aang and his friends do not learn about Sozin's Comet, and the power it will bring to the Fire Nation. Instead, it was Ozai stating this right before giving a task to Azula.