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A Few Questions/"Nowhere to run…"

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The Four Elements Test makes no sense.

That is not the only problem with this scene in the original film. There are also logistical problems and character inconsistencies out the wazoo, and that doesn't even begin to mention the disjointing cut away in the middle of the scene.

I'm rather pleased with how this scene has come out, and I hope you will be too.

May 17, 2014: I should mention that a major rewrite of this scene took place, thus some of the comments below might be confusing. In the original scene, a plot point about the nations possessing different languages was put into play, but removed in a revision, thus most comments below refer to the orignal scene.

The Legend of Aang: A Few Questions/"Nowhere to run..."

INT. ZUKO’S SHIP – DAYBREAK

ZUKO and IROH walk down a hallway.

                ZUKO
After so long, I’ve finally found him. Do you know what this means?

IROH

Don’t be too sure yet, nephew. We have still to discover his true nature.

As they approach a small room, ZUKO prepares to enter, but IROH stops him. ZUKO angrily attempts to shove past him.

ZUKO

What are you doing?

IROH

I shall talk to him alone.

ZUKO

(angrily)

Why?

IROH

Face it, you’re not the kindest soul on this ship. If we’re to expect cooperation from him, than we must first get him to trust us.

ZUKO attempts to shove past IROH once more.

IROH (CONT”D)

Just let me handle it.

INT. INTERROGATION ROOM - DAWN

IROH pours tea into two cups. AANG sits silently on the other side of the table.

IROH

You must forgive my nephew. He was… eager, to say the least.

IROH finishes pouring the tea, and offers it to AANG. AANG wordlessly takes it.

IROH

So, tell me… Uh…

AANG

Aang.

IROH

Aang. I could not help but notice the markings on your head. You are a master of airbending, are you not?

AANG nods.

IROH

Ah… I see. You are, thirteen, I presume?

AANG nods again.

IROH (CONT’D)

Savi was 16 when he attained the rank of master. I am impressed.

AANG simply sits before him, his expression almost stoic. IROH sighs and leans forward.

IROH (CONT’D)

I realize you must be quite uncomfortable right now. I would be too, but this will all be over soon…

AANG straightens himself.

IROH (CONT’D)

We were sent… on a mission by Lord of the Fire Nation, to hunt down the Avatar. And I believe we were never to succeed in the first place.

ZUKO stands by the doorway, desperately trying to listen.

IROH (CONT’D)

With the circumstances surrounding it, I wouldn’t be surprised if this weren’t all some torture orchestrated for my nephew.

AANG

Torture?

IROH

It is not a pleasant story…

IROH sighs.

IROH (CONT’D)

Five years ago, he was invited to a conference among his father’s men.

ANIMATED

The scene fades to a scene of a YOUNG ZUKO at the meeting. A general presents a plan to the other members.

IROH (V.O.) (CONT’D)

A war plan was presented. One where a few hundred soldiers would be massacred for the sake of a minor victory.

ZUKO stands and yells an inaudible plea, but finds that no one rallies with him.

IROH (V.O.) (CONT’D)

He spoke out against it, he had to. But instead of rallying with him, his act was viewed as a solemn act of disrespect.

ZUKO stands alone in a large duel room, mortified of what to come.

IROH (V.O.) (CONT’D)

As tradition demanded, he was forced into a Agni Kai. A duel. He thought it would simply be against the general…

A figure steps out of the shadows, obscured by foreground torches.

IROH (V.O.) (CONT’D)

But he was forced to battle with his own father.

ZUKO falls to his knees.

IROH (V.O.) (CONT’D)

A task he could not carry out. His mercy was viewed as weakness, and his father proceeded to exact a lesson on him.

IROH is seen in the crowd, wincing as a glow and screams emanate from off-screen.

IROH (V.O.) (CONT’D)

A permanent lesson.

LIVE ACTION

IROH has finished his story, and AANG is quite appalled.

IROH

You’ve seen the scar.

AANG does not acknowledge him.

IROH (CONT’D)

He was banished that day. Never to return, unless he should prove his worth.

AANG

…by my capture.

IROH sighs.

IROH

They say time heals all wounds, but in the case of my nephew, I fear that things shall never return to normal.

AANG is still in discomfort.

IROH (CONT’D)

You know, my brother is a reasonable man. I’m sure if I can talk some sense into him, this will all be over soon.

ZUKO squints his eyes in confusion.

IROH (CONT’D)

Now, how did you get out here, anyway? It’s a long way from the monasteries.

AANG swallows.

AANG

I went for a fly one night. You know, just to clear my head. It turned out badly. There was a storm that night. My bison and I were forced under the water. After that, I don’t know.

IROH

I see.

He leans forward.

IROH

If we can count on your cooperation, I can be sure that you get home.

ZUKO widens his eyes.

AANG begins to visibly panic a bit, unsure.

AANG

(whispering)

I-I’ve been gone so long. I don’t…

IROH whips around as a door slams behind him, and sees ZUKO standing at the room. He quickly shoots several fireballs at AANG, AANG leaping up, glider in hand, and kicking the table at both IROH and ZUKO. He leaps over them and rushes out the door.

ZUKO

Get him!

IROH

What was that for?

ZUKO

What?

IROH

A few more seconds and he would have been on our side!

ZUKO sighs in disappointment with himself.

ANIMATED

AANG runs down a hallway. He is faced by several guards, they bend fire at him. He is able to deflect the blasts, and rushes up the stairway.

He notices the guards following him, and concentrates his energy at the bolts of the staircase, and the staircase dismantles, falling to the floor. He grins and rushes off.

EXT. ZUKO’S SHIP – DAY

AANG bursts out from the main hold, and strolls out onto the main deck. He begins to walk away, but stops when he hears the clattering of the door behind him.

ZUKO walks out onto the deck, giving a very foreboding expression to AANG.

AANG takes his staff and holds it in front of him in a threatening stance. ZUKO takes a fighting pose.

SOKKA flies APPA downwards toward the ship, and KATARA notices the orange bursts periodically appearing on deck.

AANG dodges fire from ZUKO, occasionally doing a flip or two to avoid getting burnt. ZUKO responds with a concentrated stream of fire, which AANG only barely reflects, singing his parka slightly. He looks to the skies and sees APPA flying overhead.

ZUKO pants from his attacks.

ZUKO

You’ve nowhere to run, boy.

AANG responds with a playful grin and moves his staff around before it transforms into the glider from before.

ZUKO rushes after him, but AANG leaps over the edge of the ship, and is seen flying up to APPA. ZUKO looks to IROH, who is emerging from the hold.

AANG flies up to APPA’S HEAD, resting on it. AANG pets APPA’S head, hugging it briefly. He looks up to face SOKKA and KATARA.

AANG

I can never repay you. Thank you for coming.

KATARA

You don’t have to worry. It was our pleasure.

AANG

There’s a war going on…

KATARA

Yes…

AANG looks sadly down at APPA’S neck.

               AANG
How long was I really gone?

KATARA

A century, we think. Maybe longer.

The news hits him, and he takes a brisk sigh in.

SOKKA

You are the Avatar, aren’t you?

AANG looks up slightly.

AANG

Yes.

KATARA and SOKKA exchange a brief glance.

AANG

I’ve got to take you back. I’ve got to get home.

KATARA leans forward to him.

KATARA

We’re not going home. We can’t.

AANG

Why not?

KATARA

It doesn’t matter. The important thing is, we’re coming with you.

AANG looks up at her and smiles, before turning his head to a loud rumbling sound.

A large ball of fire is locked for them. AANG, as quickly as possible, diverts the fire to the ice next to him. The impact causes a loud rumbling.

ZUKO watches helplessly as heaps of ice crumble down. IROH moves him over to a bulkhead as ice falls from above. Metal creaks and shatters as it lands, and ice covers the deck.

ZUKO and IROH straighten, walking over to inspect the ice. Another soldier exits the hold, staring at the damage. ZUKO turns to face him.

ZUKO

Get me a casualty report.

The soldier continues to stare.

ZUKO

Quickly!

The soldier snaps into awareness and rushes away. IROH walks up behind ZUKO as he watches APPA fly away.

IROH

I cannot tell you how I wish what I said back there was true.

 

ZUKO turns to face him.

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