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Toph's Original Design In Avatar: The Last Airbender Might Surprise You

"Avatar: The Last Airbender" is known for having incredibly fleshed-out and unique characters, which fans hope translate to Netflix's live-action adaptation. Not only do Aang (Zach Tyler Eisen), Katara (Mae Whitman), and Sokka (Jack De Sena) encounter numerous interesting characters during their journeys, but Team Avatar also expands to have masters of each bending style. With Katara's waterbending, Zuko's (Dante Basco) firebending, and Toph's (Michaela Jill Murphy) earthbending, Aang masters all four techniques, and Team Avatar defeats Fire Lord Ozai (Mark Hamill).

The journey was long, usually taking an entire season for Aang to master a new element and add a member to the team. After spending the first season learning waterbending from Katara, Aang meets Toph, a blind earthbender, during their adventure in the Earth Kingdom in Season 2. Toph's wealthy parents are extremely overbearing, not giving her the slightest room to breathe, but she doesn't let her visual impairment stop her from becoming one of the strongest benders of her time. She masters earthbending and creates her own unique style by using the vibrations in the ground.

Through everything, Toph's personality never shifts. She is incredibly independent, direct, and sarcastic, bringing an entirely new disposition to Team Avatar. It's hard to imagine Toph being any other way, but creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko originally planned for the character to look much different.

Toph was originally going to be a muscular jock

The plan was always to introduce a character that would shake things up on Team Avatar and butt heads with Sokka, but the original idea was for Toph to be a physically intimidating jock (via "The Women of Avatar"). Where Sokka is the embodiment of nerdy men, Toph would represent traditionally strong men. However, head writer Aaron Ehasz realized that a slight change could alter the dynamic to make it more interesting, so Toph instead became a small and less imposing 12-year-old girl.

On Reddit, fans voiced their appreciation for the change. One since-deleted user wrote, "I'm so glad Toph is the Toph we have now instead of... this. He creeps me out." Others, like u/pappypapaya, pointed out how different the rest of the story would have been. "Ah, Korra would've been such a different series if it weren't for this remarkably fortuitous change. No Lin, no Su, no Books 3 and 4 like we know them," they said.

The creative team included a nod to Toph's original design later on in the series. In Season 3, Episode 17, "The Ember Island Players," Team Avatar watches a stage play recapping Aang's story. While most of them can't stand their portrayals, Toph absolutely adores hers: a massively muscular man. During an interview with Toon Zone News, Bryan Konietzko revealed that Toph is portrayed in the play this way as a joke referencing the character's original design.