Avatar: The Last Airbender season 1 ending explained - what’s Sozin’s Comet and what’s next for Aang?

Avatar: The Last Airbender
(Image credit: Netflix)

Everything changed when The Fire Nation attacked. Again. The ending of the first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender not only brings a handful of arcs to a close in fairly complex fashion, it also sets up season 2 - and beyond.

With that in mind, it's worth getting everyone on the same page as we head (hopefully) towards the next step on Aang's journey to becoming the Avatar he was always meant to be.

Below, we've got the full recap of the Avatar: The Last Airbender season 1 finale, as well as the biggest questions sprung up from the climactic events in the Northern Water Tribe. That includes everything from Omashu's fate to Sozin's Comet - and everything in-between. It's all here in our guide to Avatar: The Last Airbender's season 1 ending.

Avatar: The Last Airbender season 1 ending explained: a recap

After an epic journey, Aang, Katara, and Sokka finally make it to the Northern Water Tribe, with Aang warning the leaders about his vision of Agna Qel’a falling at the hands of the Fire Nation.

While there, Sokka befriends Princess Yue, who eventually reveals that the Moon Spirit saved her life as a newborn and gave her some of its essence. Part-spirit, part-human, she acts as a bridge between both worlds and can visit the Spirit World. Sokka and Yue then kiss.

Katara and Aang, though, fare a little worse when encountering prominent members of the Northern Water Tribe. The latter – who told women have to stay off the battlefield to tend to the wounded – eventually impresses Master Pakku in a waterbending duel

Through the Avatar State, Aang speaks to the previous Avatar, Kuruk. While there, Kuruk tells Aang that he discovered dark spirits were close to entering their realm via the Spirit World. He tells Aang that the Avatar “must walk alone” or his loved ones will suffer – like his beloved Ummi did.  In response, Aang tells Sokka to stay out of the battle.

The Fire Nation then approaches and with Zuko’s death revealed to be a ruse, the boy prince explains to his uncle Iroh that he still plans to fulfil the mission given by him to his father and capture the Avatar.

In the Fire Nation capital, Zuko’s sister Azula showcases her new lightning-style ability and tells her father to set her loose.

Ken Leung as Zhao in Avatar: The Last Airbender

(Image credit: Netflix)

In the finale, the Fire Nation attacks. Zhao reveals his master plan: a prototype airship with a design taken from the mechanist, Sai, in Omashu. 

As the tribe repels the attack, Zhao explains to Iroh that he won’t wait until daybreak for his attack because tonight’s moon is the Ice Moon, a rare spiritual event that breaks down the barriers of their world and the Spirit World. For one night a year, the spirits take physical form to be among the Waterbenders. Zhao’s plan? To “kill the moon.”

Despite Iroh and Aang’s efforts to stop him, Zhao completes the ritual. To save the day, Aang merges with the spirits.

While fighting Zhao, Zuko discovers that Ozai was using him to help motivate Azula. In a fit of rage, Zuko seemingly kills Zhao.

To bring the moon back to life and to stop the Spirit Aang roaming the world as a “vengeful spirit," Yue gives the Moon Spirit’s life within her back to the moon and sacrifices herself.

A smiling Aang returns to human form and Master Pakku invites Katara to train Waterbenders. She declines, saying that she and Aang still have journeys to complete.

Zuko, seemingly changed by his experience, looks despondent as Iroh rows him away from the destruction on Agna Qel’a. 

Ozai, meanwhile, reveals his target was never the North, but Omashu. He has sent Azula there to command an army to capture it – which it seemingly has done with great ease. 

As a final stinger, Ozai discusses Sozin’s Comet – a celestial event that happens every 100 years with the Great Sage.

What next for Aang?

Avatar: The Last Airbender still featuring Aang

(Image credit: Netflix)

There’s still a long way to go for the Avatar, it seems. While he was saved from merging with the spirit under the Ice Moon, perhaps the biggest lesson learned for Aang was that he can’t do this alone. Whatever comes next, expect it to be with Katara and Sokka at his side.

Aang also hasn’t mastered the four elements. Waterbending is seemingly next up – at Katara’s insistence. After that? Earth bending, which will lead the trio of Aang, Katara, and Sokka directly towards Omashu once more. Given their new Fire Nation occupiers, it likely won’t be a happy return to the Earth Kingdom’s fortress and should see Aang come into contact with Azula for the first time…

What is Sozin’s Comet?

Avatar: The Last Airbender

(Image credit: Netflix)

The Fire Nation’s Sozin is a Fire Lord that was briefly glimpsed in the prologue that wiped out the Air Nomads at the beginning of the first season. The comet, which was visible that night and named after the ruler, is mentioned again at the very end of the season. This bookend is important – because it could be setting up Avatar’s endgame.

While we’re loath to get too far into cartoon spoilers here, Sozin’s Comet isn’t actually explained all that well in the show – and is first mentioned far later than in the Nickelodeon series.

While its abilities may change, we expect the purpose of Sozin’s Comet to remain the same as the cartoon: a comet that passes the planet every 100 years, allowing firebenders to harness its power and energy. Basically, it's bad news for everyone opposing the Fire Nation and Ozai.

What happened to Omashu?

Bumi on Avatar: The Last Airbender

(Image credit: Netflix)

It was teased throughout the first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender that the Fire Nation would happily use diversion tactics to land their true goal. It happened with Zhao and the Ice Moon and, most notably, during Zuko’s first war council meeting.

Clearly, it was used to signal Fire Nation’s true intent: to take a strategic city in the Earth Kingdom, capture Bumi, and march towards the capital. While everyone was busy defending the North, Omashu fell at Azula’s hands.

What does the Fire Nation have planned?

Avatar: The Last Airbender

(Image credit: Netflix)

It’s clear that the Fire Nation isn’t done yet – not even close. Fire Lord Ozai has already taken Omashu and, in the finale, says he has his sights set on the Earth Kingdom capital of Ba Sing Se.

With the attack on the Northern Water Tribe nothing more than a distraction, Azula’s Fire Nation forces were able to handily take Omashu. That now puts them in a position of serious strength to take the entire Earth Kingdom. Down the line, they could even finally defeat the wounded waterbenders in the north. Thanks to Sozin’s Comet – and how it increases the power of firebenders – it’s clear that Ozai has global domination in his sights.

Who is Princess Yue?

Yue in Avatar: The Last Airbender

(Image credit: Netflix)

Princess Yue was familiar to Sokka after all. As it turns out, she was the fox he saw during his ill-fated trip to the Spirit World earlier in the season.

As she reveals in the penultimate episode, the Moon Spirit saved her life as a newborn and gave her some of its essence. She now acts as a bridge between both their world and the Spirit World – which makes her the perfect conduit to save the moon when Zhao tries to destroy it in the finale. Unfortunately for her, removing that essence comes at the cost of her life.

How different is the Avatar season 1 ending compared to the cartoon’s Book 1 ending?

Avatar The Last Airbender

(Image credit: Netflix)

The Netflix series broadly ends in the same place as ‘Book 1’ (AKA the first season) of the Nickelodeon show. 

In the cartoon, the Fire Nation attacks the Northern Water Tribe and Zhao’s moon-killing plan is more or less the same, though there are some key differences elsewhere. Namely, Aang and Zuko have a longer interaction and Koh plays a factor in helping turn the tide of the battle, whereas he doesn’t in the Netflix show. Zhao’s death is also slightly different, with Zuko showing far less mercy than he did in the cartoon.

Finally, Azula being sent on a mission is only set up in Book 1 of the cartoon. In the Netflix series, we see those plans come to fruition in Omashu. Also in the Nickelodeon series, Sozin’s Comet is introduced far earlier and not used as a season-ending stinger.

Will there be a season 2 of Avatar: The Last Airbender?


(Image credit: Netflix)

As of writing, there has been no announcement regarding a second season of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Depending on the show’s success – much like with One Piece – we would expect news to arrive in March.

For more from Avatar: The Last Airbender, check out our interview with Sokka actor Ian Ousley in response to the backlash surrounding changes made to his character.

Then start filling out your watchlist with the best shows on Netflix and the best anime on Netflix.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.