The tennis champion wants to know who originally taught humans their bending powers

By Christian Holub
March 21, 2018 at 11:29 AM EDT
Paul Morigi/Getty Images; Dark Horse Comics
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As a muscle-bound sports champion beloved by people across the globe, tennis player Serena Williams might be the closest real-life analog to Avatar Korra.

The eponymous hero of the animated series The Legend of Korra (a sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender), Korra was the only person able to control all four elements, and she was charged with protecting the world’s balance. Williams, who voiced small roles in both Avatar and Korra, was left with questions about the show’s complex mythology — namely, how a flashback episode of The Legend of Korra matched up with the background established in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Her tweet posing the question on Tuesday went viral.

Avatar: The Last Airbender fans only. Question — if the original benders were the sky bisons, badger moles, and dragons, how does that tie in with Avatar Wan when the lion sea turtle gave all the people bending power?????” Williams tweeted.

Her reference was to a Korra season 2 two-part flashback episode titled “Beginnings,” in which Korra learns about the very first Avatar, named Wan, who learned firebending, airbending, waterbending, and earthbending from gigantic lion-turtle creatures who originally possessed the secrets. However, as Williams pointed out, the flashback seems to clash with details shared in Avatar: The Last Airbender about how bending was originally created by various animals and natural forces (firebending by dragons, airbending by flying bison, waterbending by the moon, and earthbending by badger moles).

Plenty of fans on Twitter jumped in to try to resolve the contradiction. One user, @scotty13, had a back-and-forth with Williams in which he suggested that those animals were the first benders, but it was the lion turtles who allowed humans to access the powers within themselves. They could then refine the art by watching how the flying bison and badger moles used it.

For more on The Legend of Korra, check here for EW’s interview with the creative team behind the sequel comic Turf Wars (which was also named EW’s Best All-Ages Comic of 2017).

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