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Is Critical Role's The Legend Of Vox Machina Based On Avatar: The Last Airbender?

Creating a unique "Dungeons & Dragons" character is hard enough. However, when you're part of "Critical Role," which has thousands of weekly viewers, the standard is much higher, so using other avenues for inspiration is more than necessary. When it came to crafting Keyleth, the Air Ashari, Marisha Ray looked to "Avatar: The Last Airbender," and now, with "The Legend of Vox Machina" finding a home on Prime Video, that inspiration has come full circle.

While "The Legend of Vox Machina" isn't directly based on "Avatar: The Last Airbender," it was definitely a source of inspiration for "Critical Role" when developing Campaign One into an animated series. "Man, [it] cannot be overstated how amazing and also a bit bizarre that is," Ray told ScreenRant about Keyleth's connection to the fan-favorite Nickelodeon series. "'Avatar: The Last Airbender' was a bit of an imprint, even when we were considering the look and style of the animation, as well as many other cartoons that we love from the '80s and '90s. But 'Avatar' certainly was in there."

With "The Legend of Vox Machina" Season 2, the show's connection to the "Avatar" universe grew even stronger when Janet Varney joined the already stacked voice cast. Varney, who voiced Korra in "The Legend of Korra," the sequel series to "The Last Airbender," played Vilya, Keyleth's mother, in Season 2, bringing Ray's initial inspiration full circle.

Keyleth is basically Vox Machina's Avatar

In "The Legend of Vox Machina," Keyleth (Marisha Ray) is an Air Ashari, one of four tribes that guard portals leading to the Elemental Planes. There are also Earth, Water, and Fire Ashari, each of which has formed strong bonds with their given elements, making the connection to "Avatar: The Last Airbender" abundantly clear.

Keyleth's storyline in "Vox Machina" centers around completing her Aramenté. In this Ashari tradition, the tribe selects a member to journey to the other tribes, traveling through the portals to enter each Elemental Plane. Once complete, the Ashari gains a prolonged lifespan and returns to their tribe as the elemental master, becoming the new leader of their people. Similarly, "The Last Airbender" focuses on Aang, a member of his own air-based tribe, traveling to different regions to master the four elements. Once complete, he'll protect the four nations, ensuring peace as the Avatar.

With that in mind, it's evident the inspiration Aang and "The Last Airbender" had on Keyleth and "Vox Machina," but there are still plenty of differences between them. While Keyleth and Aang both set out on their respective elemental-themed adventures, Aang's focuses on him learning to use each bending technique, only knowing how to control air when the series starts. On the other hand, Keyleth can wield earth, water, fire, and air from the beginning of "Vox Machina," with the Aramenté serving as a test of her mastery rather than an introduction to the elements. Ultimately, while the two share similarities, "Vox Machina" uses its inspiration to honor "The Last Airbender," with Keyleth at the center of all four elements.