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Zuko's Training/A New Approach

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I'm skipping a bit here, but I thought that this would be an interesting thing to post. This is a scene from the final film, Sozin's Comet, wherein Zuko's firebending has left him and he desperately tries to recapture his power. Unlike the series however, he continues far into the night, and thus begins to deprive Team Avatar of their sleep. Thus, they attempt to calm him down.

The genesis of the second half of this scene, where Sokka and Zuko have a punchout, was actually part of my very first draft, where all of Book Three was in one film. In that version, Zuko made the right decision at the end of Book Two, and joined the group afterward. 

However, after a very complicated revision to Black Sun, a split forms between Zuko and the group. Thus, Zuko finds a way to relieve tension, and asks Sokka to hit him. 

I soon decided to go the more logical route and split Book Three into two films, but I missed certain moments (like this).

I liked the scene very much, and luckily I think it found a great new home here.

The Legend of Aang : Zuko's Training/A New Approach

EXT. WESTERN AIR TEMPLE – NIGHT

ZUKO frantically tries to FIREBEND. He attempts several kicks and arm movements, letting out a primal scream each time. Only a small spark emits from his palms each time.

The group all restlessly lie in their sleeping bags. TOPH covers her ears with her hands, AANG hides his head under his pillow, and everyone else lies tossing and turning, with ZUKO’S rampant workout heard in the background.

SOKKA turns over on his side.

SOKKA

(grumbling)

Somebody needs to go talk to him.

TOPH

Who?

AANG

(muffled against pillow)

Maybe Katara?

SOKKA

What?

AANG takes the pillow from his head.

AANG

Maybe Katara?

KATARA looks over to AANG, offended.

KATARA

Why me?

SOKKA

Face it, you’re better at this than most of us.

KATARA

What would I say to him, exactly?

SOKKA

I don’t know, something hopeful?

KATARA sighs and turns over on her side.

TOPH turns over to her side, groaning.

TOPH

Well, somebody has to do it! He’s going to kill himself otherwise.

SOKKA

Alright, Toph. Why don’t you do it? You seem to get on with him better than the rest of us.

TOPH

That doesn’t mean I should do it!

AANG

Well, who do you suggest we do send?

ZUKO still futilely attempts a reaction in the foreground. The team approaches in the background.

ZUKO finally stops, putting his hands on his thighs and leaning forward. He pants for a beat before noticing the group looking at him.

ZUKO straightens and faces the team.

ZUKO

(out of breath)

I think I might’ve lost my stuff.

KATARA bursts out laughing, which she barely stifles. The whole group stares at her.

ZUKO stares bewilderedly at KATARA.

KATARA finishes her laugh.

KATARA

I’m sorry… Just… The irony. You losing your powers could have really helped us back then… and now, when we actually need you…

ZUKO

It’s not that I’ve lost it… It’s just… smaller.

KATARA

Maybe you’re just not that good a bender…

ZUKO looks up at her.

ZUKO

Katara, this isn’t the time for jokes.

KATARA

You’ll forgive me for not bursting into tears.

TOPH thinks.

SOKKA (O.S.)

Well, what could’ve happened?

TOPH

Maybe it’s because he’s switched sides.

SOKKA rolls his eyes at the remark, and the others simply groan.

KATARA

Oh, Toph…

TOPH

What? I’m serious! Maybe-

ZUKO considers TOPH’S remark.

ZUKO

Maybe because I’ve been bending from anger this whole time. Now, I’ve switched to the benevolent side, and the fire’s gone from my belly. I’m at peace.

The group considers his remark for a few seconds.

SOKKA

So, we need to make you angry?

ZUKO nods.

ZUKO

It needs to be something big. If I get riled up enough, I might be able to generate something.

The rest of the group look silently amongst themselves.

AANG

What can we do?

ZUKO (O.S.)

Sokka?

SOKKA looks up, a bit frightened. ZUKO looks at him, sighing a bit.

ZUKO (CONT’D)

Hit me.

SOKKA turns to go back to bed.

ZUKO (O.S.)

Sokka!

He turns back.

ZUKO (O.S.)

This is not a request anymore. Hit me.

SOKKA

I’m not going to hit you.

ZUKO walks toward SOKKA.

ZUKO

Really?

SOKKA looks uneasily at ZUKO.

ZUKO continues to walk toward SOKKA.

ZUKO

You can’t muster a single hit?

He walks right up to him.

ZUKO

After all of the pain and torment that you’ve been put through, you can’t channel it?

He grabs SOKKA’S hand, which SOKKA shakes away. He begins menacing ZUKO and backing him to a wall.

ZUKO

After all of the fallen comrades, all of the drawn blood, all of the torture you have endured, and you can’t even bring yourself to give me one, single, solitary, hit.

SOKKA has backed ZUKO right up to a pillar, looking him in the eye.

ZUKO

Go ahead.

SOKKA raises his fist to attack. He hesitates, and lowers it.

ZUKO looks disappointedly at SOKKA.

SOKKA doubles back and delivers a quick, fiery punch. However, ZUKO is caught off-guard and ducks, leaving SOKKA’S hand to intersect with the stone behind him.

SOKKA recoils and clutches his hand in pain, screaming and stumbling about. ZUKO is dumbfounded. SOKKA stares at him.

SOKKA

(furious)

You… You… You ducked!!

ZUKO looks absolutely terrified.

ZUKO

(stammering)

I… I didn’t think you were going to do it…

SOKKA straightens, still clutching his hand. ZUKO attempts to repent.

ZUKO

It’s a reflex… Watch!

ZUKO delivers a hard punch to SOKKA, who only squints as it impacts into his lip.

ZUKO stares at his hand, as if it is the problem.

ZUKO

I’m s-sorry…

SOKKA wipes blood from his lip, staring at ZUKO, before lashing out and delivering a hard punch.

ZUKO takes the punch, takes a second to recover, and opens his eyes.

ZUKO

Again.

SOKKA abides. ZUKO still isn’t satisfied.

ZUKO

Harder.

Again.

ZUKO

Harder.

KATARA and AANG exchange uneasy glances.

      ZUKO (O.S.)

Harder.

SOKKA continues to punch ZUKO.

ZUKO

Harder!

Again.

ZUKO

Harder!

SOKKA belts him one last time, and ZUKO lets out a primal yell.

ZUKO turns and does a combination of moves, but once again, only a few small sparks emit. ZUKO screams in anger.

SOKKA walks back up to him.

SOKKA

Don’t worry. Let’s try one more.

SOKKA belts him one last time, but ZUKO does nothing.

SOKKA

Zuko?

ZUKO falls to the ground, unconscious.

SOKKA stands over his body. He looks to the group.

SOKKA


I think we need a new approach.

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