15 Mindbending Fan Theories About 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' Villains

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Vote up the best fan theories.

Avatar: The Last Airbender, Nickelodeon's honorary anime, has gained a massive following over some recent years. With such a rich universe full of incredible characters, fans keep coming up with amazing fan theories that broaden the ATLA universe even more. 

Fan theories about Azula, like her murky mental illness, and Ozai, like how he might have suffered brain damage, are just some of the ideas fans have about the ruthless villains of ATLA. Take a look and vote up the most interesting ATLA villain theories below!

  • 1
    2,256 VOTES

    The Meaning Behind Ozai's Name

    One theory on Reddit breaks down the symbolism in Ozai's name, which can be translated as "fiery disaster." The theory states that Azulon had an innate disgust towards his son for two possible reasons. The first is that Ozai wasn't meant to be born, the age gap between him and Iroh being about twenty years. The second is that Ozai's mother died during childbirth. 

    2,256 votes
  • 2
    2,004 VOTES

    Ozai And Zuko's Agni Kai Is Somehow Even Worse

    From Redditor u/4edgy8me:

    Not sure if this is really obvious and it doesn't really have much of an impact on the series other than adding a bit of depth. Prince Zuko's scar, given to him by his father, would have been much more traumatic than it initially appears.

    Sure, it's messed up that his dad scarred him for life, but upon reflection the process of getting the scar would have had to include either an incredibly high-powered and/or sustained blast of fire to his face. We consistently see characters cop a fire blast to bare skin and suffer not much more than a knock backwards.

    This leads me to believe to inflict such an awful injury, Ozai would have had to effectively torture his son. Even if it were for a few seconds, the blast of fire to the face would have been pure agony for Zuko. It's not like the scar needed further explanation, but it adds an extra layer of tragedy to his situation, imo.

    2,004 votes
  • 3
    2,138 VOTES

    Azula's Blue Flames Represent Perfect Flame Combustion

    From Redditor u/zonination:

    Her flame represents perfect flame combustion into the combustion products.

    Her problem is perfectionism. That's also her character flaw, and her downfall. This means that there is zero soot in her flame, zero offgassing of combustion by-products, zero carbon monoxide... just perfection. Just like she was raised. (Ever notice how her flame turns orange when it catches fire on other materials? Read more here)

    Zuko, on the other hand, represents imperfection. It suits his character well. Rage and impatience makes his flame orange.

    2,138 votes
  • 4
    2,450 VOTES

    Sozin Wiped Out The Airbenders For More Than One Reason

    From Redditor u/CunningAndGuile:

    Dealing with the Avatar wasn't the only reason Sozin wiped out the air nomads. I think it's possible that airbenders are also significantly more powerful than other types of benders. 

    With only airbending, Aang holds his own against Zhao, Zuko, Toph, legions of guards after Zhao imprisons him, and King Bumi (to a draw, at least). He takes out a dozen Fire Navy ships during the Siege of the North. And Monk Gyatso's final resting place is littered with Sozin-ed up firebenders. (I'm not sure how much credence to give to the theory that Gyatso created a vacuum to suffocate them, but if that's really something an airbending master can do, it confirms my theory.) I think Sozin knew that the Fire Nation's entire military couldn't win a fair fight against the four air temples, so he had to wait for the comet (cont'd).

    Redditor u/weavebot added:

    Keep in mind also, unlike other elements, everyone born into the air nomads is a bender.

    2,450 votes
  • 5
    1,927 VOTES

    Toph's Parents Were Villains In Their Own Right

    From Quora user Jean Willow:

    I always find it funny that when talking about character who are abused Zuko, Azula and sometimes Mai come up but never Toph.

    Her parent’s literally hide her away from the world. They pretended they didn’t even have daughter. Just because she was blind. She was never allowed outside the grounds of her house, she was treated like a helpless child, and apparently they expected her to spend large amounts of time just sitting in a chair, doing nothing. Just because she was disabled (cont'd).

    1,927 votes
  • 6
    1,728 VOTES

    Zuko Was Banished So Azula Could Take The Throne

    From Redditor u/neilader

    We first learned in the episode The Storm that Zuko was banished because he spoke out of turn in a war meeting and then refused to duel his father Ozai. By showing weakness, Zuko was forever banished unless he could capture the Avatar (which was basically considered impossible). But, doesn’t that seem more than a little extreme, banishing the crown prince for speaking out of turn and not dueling his own father? After rewatching the episode "Zuko Alone" on Netflix, I’ve come to the conclusion that the real reason Ozai banished Zuko was so that Azula could take his place as heir to the throne (cont'd).

    1,728 votes