||This article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (October 2009)|
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|Avatar: The Last Airbender/The Legend of Korra character|
|First appearance||"The Boy in the Iceberg" Book 1, Chapter 1|
|Voiced by||Dante Basco
Elijah Runcorn (Young Zuko)
The Blue Spirit (alter ego)
Lee (refugee alias)
Junior (refugee alias)
Fire Lord Zuko
Iroh (paternal uncle)
Lu Ten (cousin)
Azulon (paternal grandfather)
Sozin (paternal great-grandfather)
Roku (maternal great-grandfather)
Iroh II (grandson)
Antagonist in Water
Antihero in Earth
Protagonist in Fire
Zuko is a fictional character in Nickelodeon's animated television series Avatar: The Last Airbender. Created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, the character is voiced by Dante Basco and is portrayed by Dev Patel in M. Night Shyamalan's 2010 film The Last Airbender.
Zuko is the Crown Prince of the Fire Nation, and an incredibly strong and powerful Firebender, meaning he has the elemental ability to create, control, and manipulate fire, flame, heat and to redirect lightning through martial arts. He is the eldest child of Fire Lord Ozai and Princess Ursa, and older brother of Princess Azula. Before the events of the series, Zuko is exiled from the Fire Nation by his father and told to capture the Avatar—then thought to be an impossible task because the Avatar had not been seen in over 100 years—in order to restore his honor and right to the throne. Zuko is accompanied and advised in his search by his uncle Iroh. Over time, Zuko's loyalties and moralities shift as he grows to sympathize with the people that the Fire Nation has terrorized. Ultimately he joins the Avatar to help end the Fire Nation's tyranny and restore balance to the world. Zuko has two well known great-grandfathers: on his father's side, Fire Lord Sozin, who started the hundred-year-war, and on his mother's side Avatar Roku, the Avatar preceding Aang.
In "The Deserter", Zuko's name was listed on a Fire Nation wanted poster as "祖寇" (zǔ kòu). In "Tales of Ba Sing Se", his name was written as "蘇科" (sū kè) on his segment's title card.
Plot overview 
Early Life 
A few years before the events of the series, Zuko attended a Fire Nation military discussion and voiced against a general's suggestion of using their recruits as sacrificial pawns in their nation's battle with the Earth Kingdom. Though he accepted on the notion he was to fight the general, Zuko found himself facing his father in their culture's Agni Kai battle. Refusing to fight Ozai, Zuko was scarred and then exiled from the Fire Nation as a dishonored prince. To add insult, Ozai promised his son's honor and birthright back if he could capture the Avatar, at the time thought to be an impossible task because the Avatar had not been seen in over 100 years.
Book One: Water 
At the beginning of the series, Zuko is introduced as an antagonist and chased after Aang in hopes of reclaiming his honor. Even after multiple encounters, success eludes Zuko, who soon gains some competition from Zhao, an ambitious Fire Nation admiral. Zuko took lengths to ensure only he can capture Aang when he took on the alias of the masked Blue Spirit to rescue Aang from a Fire Nation base where Zhao had imprisoned the Avatar. When Zhao realized it, Zuko faked his death in the admiral's attempt on his life to stow away on Zhao's ship to reach the Northern Water Tribe. During the invasion of the, Zuko infiltrates the Spirit Oasis where Aang has entered Spirit World and left his body vulnerable. Zuko captures Aang, but nearly got them both killed as he attempted to escape through the tundra. Out of mercy, Aang then saves Zuko from dying in the cold. But Zuko's actions during the end of the Fire Nation's invasion reached Ozai as he assigned Azula to bring him and Iroh to justice.
Book Two: Earth 
Finding them now on the run from Azula as enemies of their own country, Zuko and Iroh travel the Earth Kingdom as poor refugees. Though his uncle confronted him of secretly stealing money and goods from people, Zuko decides to go on his own though Iroh followed his nephew from afar. Zuko reunites with his uncle during a battle where they worked with Aang's group against Azula, tending to his uncle's injury while learning a fighting move to counter his sister's lightning. Soon after, Zuko and Iroh resolve to head to Ba Sing Se for safety, meeting Jet, the former leader of a Freedom Fighters group who wanted to make a new start. However, though Jet did get along with him, Zuko became a enemy the moment he learned he and his uncle were Fire Nation. Despite Jet's actions against them, Iroh tries to make a new lifestyle for Zuko by having themselves work in a tea shop in the city's slums.
Zuko sinks into life in the Impenetrable City for a month—his uncle even sets him up with a date—until he learning of Aang's presence in Ba Sing Se and attempts to steal Appa from underneath Lake Laogai. But his uncle shows up and convinces him not to steal him, but to set the flying bison free instead. This caused Zuko to later fall ill due to an internal conflict, making a recovery and his personality changed to that of one without a care in the world as his uncle's new tea shop in the upper class opened. However, infiltrating the city and recruiting the Dai Li to stage a coup, Azula learned of Zuko's presence in the city and arranged a trap for him and their uncle. Captured and placed in Crystal Catacombs, Zuko encountered Katara as the two came to be bit of an understanding as both lost their mothers before Iroh and the Avatar show up to rescue them. However, Azula manages to convince Zuko to help her with the prospect of redemption to their father. This led to Aang mortally wounded by Azula and Iroh arrested, with Zuko having mixed feelings of his action.
Book Three: Fire 
Returning to his country a hero, Zuko learns that Azula spitefully transferred the glory of killing the Avatar to him so he hires an assassin to ensure Aang's death. Zuko visits his imprisoned uncle prior to learning that he is maternally a descendent of Avatar Roku, Aang's previous life, and told that it is his responsibility to help stop the war. Prior to the Day of Black Sun, Zuko realizes this when his inadvertently catalyzes his father's plan to execute the genocide the Earth Kingdom with Sozin's Comet. Confronting Ozai during the eclipse, seeing now that Ozai is pure evil, Zuko states his intention to help Aang defeat his father while learning that his mother Ursa is alive somewhere and that Iroh escaped the during the chaos. Although they initially reject him, especially when they learn he was the one who send the assassin they christened "Combustion Man", Aang and his companions eventually accept Zuko as he teach Aang firebending when two find the last dragons in the world to rediscover the long-forgotten, and original, source of firebending.
After helping Sokka free his girlfriend Suki and father Hakoda from the Boiling Rock prison, with his former girlfriend Mai helping him at the cost of her freedom, Zuko manages to make amends with Katara by helping her find her mother's killer. When Aang mysteriously disappears shortly before Sozen's Comet, Zuko is made temporary leader to find him. But when Aang could not be found, Zuko instead finds Iroh (who the group think is the only other person to end the war peacefully) to ask for both forgiveness and to fight Ozai in the Avatar's place. Though Iroh forgives his mistakes, Zuko learns that only the Avatar can truly end the war and that he must be Fire Lord if his father dies in battle to ensure it. Arriving to the Fire Nation capital with Katara, Zuko confronts Azula and, due to her unhinged state of mind, believed he could defeat her in an Agni Kai for the throne. Azula played a dirty trick on Zuko, and hurt him really bad. But Katara defeats Azula. Katara then heals Zuko. After Aang wins the war, Zuko becomes the new Fire Lord, reunited with Mai, visits his imprisoned father to know his mother's whereabouts, Zuko makes a promise to the other Nations to restore his country's honor and usher in a new era of peace among all nations.
The Legend of Korra 
In the sequel series Avatar: The Legend of Korra, it is revealed that Fire Lord Zuko aided Avatar Aang in the creation of the "United Republic of Nations" after the Hundred Year War. It is also revealed (by the creators) that he eventually stepped down as Fire Lord and allowed his daughter to take the throne while he travels the world as an ambassador for peace, one of the remaining members of Aang's group. He is memorialized with statue of himself built in front of Republic City's Central City Station. His grandson Iroh II (a general of the United Forces) resembles a somewhat older version of Zuko (without the scar) in his youth.
Firebending and special skills 
Despite his youth, Zuko is highly skilled in Firebending, and has shown great agility and strength. His chief education in this is derived from his uncle Iroh; but Zuko shifts from pupil to master by teaching Aang. He is twice shown the equal of his sister Azula, and is depicted throughout the series as both powerful and skillful in both martial and aesthetic applications of fire bending.
Other skills 
Zuko has also shown himself skilled in the use of the double broadswords, as in the episode "The Blue Spirit" wherein he withstands a large number of adversaries therewith. In "Avatar: The Lost Adventures", it was revealed that he studied sometime in his youth under Master Piandao and learned to use his double broadswords. Zuko has also demonstrated an ability in stealth and unarmed combat, as when able to infiltrate a Fire Nation fortress, the Northern Water Tribe's city, and the Dai Li's base in the Earth Kingdom without detection. His proficiency at stealth was also utilized during the episode "The Southern Raiders" in which he and Katara stalked and cornered the former commander of the eponymous Raiders in his home village without revealing themselves. Avatar Extras revealed he has abnormal hearing and that he is also naturally gifted at playing the Tsungi horn (though he is never heard playing).
Thoughtout Book One, Zuko was seen with a ponytail. In Book Two, Zuko cut his ponytail off in the season premiere and allowed his hair to eventually grow out during his time in the Earth Kingdom. In Book Three, Zuko obtained a topknot after returning to the Fire Nation although he is also seen without it several times as well.
- "Dante Basco". 2005. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
- "Next 3 Locations unlocked on Nick.com Interactive site". The Last Airbender Online. Retrieved 2012-04-20.
- Director: Dave Filoni; Writers: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko (2005-06-17). "The Blue Spirit". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 13. Nickelodeon.
- "Zuko Alone". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2 (Book 2). Episode 7. 2006-05-12. Nickelodeon.