INTERVIEW: Dante Basco travels underground for the new season of the podcast AVATAR: BRAVING THE ELEMENTS – Comics Beat | Region & Cash

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Earlier this year, the second season of the fan-favorite original podcast was released, Avatar: Defy the elementsthe official companion podcast for Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra, launched by Nickelodeon and iHeartMedia. The latest season of the series sees hosts Janet Varney (the voice of Korra) and Dante Basco (Prince Zuko’s voice) continue their investigation of the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender with Book Two: Earth.

During SDCC ’22, the beat had a chance to chat with Dante Basco about working on the podcast, teasing what’s to come, as well as the emotional death of Uncle Iroh’s voice actor Mako.


Taimur Dar: I was able to interview you and Janet Varney at NYCC last year just before you hosted Defy the elements Podcast in front of a live audience for the first time. Now that you’ve done the podcast live a number of times since, how would you describe the experience?

Dante Basco: I love the energy of the live audience. Janet and I had such a great time making the podcast at home in our studios. But when you do it in front of the fans, they really get involved. We are also fans of the show as we are re-watching the show. So it’s really great to connect with the larger fanbase and address some of the questions we all have about the show.

Dar: It’s been more than 15 years since Book Two: Earth aired. So was there anything that surprised you or that you completely forgot during your review?

basso: So many memories come up. Like you said it’s been so long since we did the show. There are things in certain scenes that come to mind, but also things that I don’t remember ever saying. It’s a very unique experience for me as an actor to go back and revisit a project like this and really go through it with a fine comb. Me and Janet can research anything about the characters and themes and get support from people like Michael [Dante DiMartino] and Bryan [Konietzko] or the voice actors or musicians. It was wild.

Dar: Toph is a character that fans have been eagerly awaiting. So what was it like reconnecting with Toph’s voice actress?

basso: I love it! jessy flower also known Michaela Murphy is a dear friend. It’s great to have her on the show because we’ve stayed in touch over the years and she’s grown up. When she was doing the show, she was a very young girl, around 12-13 years old. It was wonderful for her to go back and relive those days and talk about what this character meant to her. Toph is the GOAT!

Dar: Who are some of the other actors whose characters will be introduced this season and who will appear on the podcast?

basso: We have a few people coming our way Phil LaMarr. Of course we have some fan favorites like Jack de Sena. Likewise Jenny Kwan. Special guest this season is fan favorite Azula, voiced by Legendary Gray DeLisle who joins us in the podcast. There are a lot of great guests as far as the voice actors go. Also, not just people who worked on the show, but also getting the fans involved in the podcast.

Dar: Were there any guests you had on the podcast that stood out?

basso: The music is so important that you enjoy talking to the musicians Jeremy Zuckerman was amazing. He was brand new to making music for TV at the time, so he explained how he came up with the sounds. I love getting this behind the scenes information. As actors we do our thing but to see other people contribute to the show in their respective arts is so fascinating.

Dar: The relationship between Zuko and Iroh in Book Two really grows and develops in a way that is heartwarming. A specific episode “Tales of Ba Sing Se”β€”

basso: One of my favorite episodes of the series!

Dar: β€”Iroh’s segment always brings tears to my eyes.

basso: You give me all feelings! I think it’s a tearjerker for everyone. That’s one of the great moments and of course the dedication to Mako, who originally played Iroh and died in book two. It was an emotional time for us making the show and it’s an emotional time watching the episode. It’s such a beautiful part of history. It gives everyone that feeling for so many reasons.

Dar: Actor Greg Baldwin had the unenviable task of taking on the role of Iroh after Mako’s death.

basso: Great.

Dar: He knocked it out of the park. Is he someone you hope will be included in the podcast?

basso: Of course. I would love to have Greg on the show. I look forward to speaking to him about the character. We’re waiting for him to come on the show when he can actually speak Uncle Iroh. I have so many really great loving moments and memories of him coming onto the show and being so respectful of Mako and Mako’s life and legacy even before he did avatar. Mako was such a prolific and important player in the Asian American community. When Greg walked in and the voice suited him, it was almost emotional the first time we heard him play Uncle Iroh.

Dar: Since this is the focal point of the series, it’s always the point in narrative storytelling where the heroes are at their deepest. Look no further than Reich strikes back. I think everyone can identify with Book Two: Earth more than ever, especially in the last few months. Did the second season convince you in any way?

basso: As I said with Richit’s the middle chapter and it’s so poignant for the days and times we live in. I think that’s one of the reasons for the resurgence of avatar During the pandemic and when it came out on Netflix, it hit really hard and hit everyone.

Dar: Finally, I know you have yet to finish Book Two, but when Defy the elements comes to Book Three: Fire, are there any episodes that you are dying to examine and revisit.

basso: The episode “The Beach”. I can’t wait to get to The Beach!


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