Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Why Princess Yue From The Last Airbender Looks So Familiar

M. Night Shyamalan's live-action adaptation of the beloved Nickelodeon cartoon series Avatar: The Last Airbender was such a dazzling disaster that, just 10 years after its release, Netflix is taking another crack at bringing flesh and blood to the property. It's no secret that Shyamalan's film bombed badly enough at the box office to put a halt to two planned sequels. Perhaps it's best that Netflix is trying to wipe the slate clean, but protective fans are likely awaiting the next attempt with bated breath.

For the unconverted, Shyamalan's 2010 film, The Last Airbender, was an attempt to translate the first season of the landmark animated series from creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino to the silver screen. The story takes place in a war-torn fantasy world governed by four elemental municipalities: The Earth Kingdom, the Water Tribe, the Air Nomads and the Fire Nation. Shyamalan's movie followed the broad strokes of the show's first season (Book One, in series parlance) but, somehow, all the magic and charm were lost in the film's wooden script and a haphazard production overburdened by distracting visual effects.

It's a shame it all turned out so wonky, since The Last Airbender actually featured a fresh-faced young cast, many of whom went on to land roles in better projects. One actress from the film who should seem familiar to viewers portrayed Yue, a princess of the Northern Water Tribe who carries the spirit of the moon. Yue is featured in the heart-rending final arc of Avatar's first season, in which she is ultimately sacrificed to save the moon from destruction at the hands of the malevolent Fire Nation admiral, Zhao.

The actress responsible for bringing this tragic heroine into the third dimension was Seychelle Gabriel, and you've definitely seen her before.

Before The Last Airbender, Seychelle Gabriel made the leap from Nickelodeon to Showtime

Ironically, Gabriel began her career on the same network that produced the original Avatar: The Last Airbender animated series. In 2007, the actress, then 16 years old, appeared on a single episode of the Jamie Lynn Spears sitcom Zoey 101, playing the role of "Very Attractive Girl" (via IMDb).

Gabriel then made a brief appearance in The Spirit as a young Eva Mendes before landing the role of Adelita on Showtime's smash hit dramedy, Weeds. Weeds starred Mary Louise Parker as a pot-dealing soccer mom struggling to make ends meet after the sudden death of her husband. The series ran for eight seasons on the premium cabler, and although Gabriel's Adelita only appeared on three episodes, she definitely made an impact.

After those two short-lived performances, Gabriel's career really started to take off. She landed the infamous role on The Last Airbender, then went on to a four-episode turn on Shonda Rhimes' soapy political thriller, Revenge. It was her role as an alien-fighting young doctor, however, that really marked her next big break.

Seychelle Gabriel played doctor during an alien invasion on Falling Skies

In 2011, TNT debuted got into the post-apocalyptic game with the Stephen Spielberg-produced alien invasion drama Falling Skies. With a concept something like "The Walking Dead, but with aliens," it was hotly anticipated prior to its premiere. Gabriel was cast to play the role of Lourdes, a young member of the original group of survivors with a touch of medical expertise. The show never quite found the kind of audience The Walking Dead enjoyed in its heyday, but it did receive glowing reviews from viewers and critics alike, keeping it on the air for a respectable 52-episode run. 

In addition to Gabriel, the main cast featured ER alum Noah Wyle, future Locke & Key star Connor Jessup, and Smallville expat Sarah Carter. Gabriel's character bit the dust on the fourth season of Falling Skies, but not before the actress had already landed a gig on an even more exciting show.

Seychelle Gabriel got another chance to do justice to the Avatar world

After the debacle that was The Last Airbender, Gabriel got an uncommon chance at redemption when she was cast as voice talent on Avatar: The Last Airbender successor The Legend of Korra, which aired on Nickelodeon from 2011 to 2014. That series takes place a generation after Avatar: The Last Airbender and stars a whole new cast centered around Korra (voiced by Janet Varney), the avatar's latest incarnation. Konietzko and DiMartino plucked Gabriel up from the Shyamalan rubble, installing her as the voice of Asami Sato, a wealthy socialite from Republic City who joins Team Avatar during season 1.

Although not a bender herself, Asami grows to become one of the most important characters on the show. The role also carried social significance, since Asami broke ground as the same-sex love interest to Korra in the animated series' final scene. The last frame of Legend of Korra features Gabriel's Asami standing in the same loving pose with Korra that Avatar Aang (Zach Tyler) struck with Katara (Mae Whitman) in the final frame of the earlier series.

Since Legend of Korra ended, Gabriel has kept busy, starring in feature films like Blood Fest and The Outdoorsman and making guest appearances on popular TV series including Sleepy Hollow and the small screen adaptation of Get Shorty. Her next big project will be The Tomorrow War, a film starring Betty Gilpin (Coffee & Kareem) and Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy).