For Millennials. By Millennials.
Of all the antagonists Aang faced in Avatar: The Last Airbender, Azula was by far the most formidable one. Even though the final battle was against Firelord Ozai, it was Azula who gave Aang the most trouble. Moreover, she was only so dangerous because of her team of friends – Ty Lee and Mai. These three almost defeated Aang at every stage of the show. However, the Avatar creators initially had a different plan for Azula’s team. And it didn’t involve Ty Lee and Mai at all!
Avatar creators wanted Azula to have a team of ninjas instead
In season 2’s Avatar Extras for the episode “Return to Omashu,” the creators revealed that their initial idea for Azula’s team was to fill it with a team of ninjas. However, they decided to abandon that idea and went for two companies with personalities and character arcs. Even though ninjas seemed more apt for a character as powerful as Princess Azula, adding Ty Lee and Mai was the right decision by far. These two characters were truly great and likable like all the others from Avatar: The Last Airbender. The audience was truly invested in their stories and personalities.
Moreover, this gave us that memorable moment when Mai deceived Princess Azula for Prince Zuko, followed by Ty Lee blocking Azula’s chi paths which left all of our mouths wide open. Furthermore, Mai and Zuko’s relationship also gave their characters a different insight and really humanized them. And of course, Princess Azula’s nervous breakdown in the finale would not have been possible without Ty Lee and Mai betraying her in the episode “The Boiling Rock”. And ultimately, it is these effective changes and incredible writing that made Avatar: The Last Airbender such an iconic show.