Designing characters after real life people and celebrities is not a new thing. Matter of fact, it is done a lot of times. The Avatar: The Last Airbender series had a host of supporting characters that aided the plot of the show, and while many of them had different designs, one of them is actually designed after pro wrestler and actor Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock. Which character is this? It’s the Boulder Avatar.
The Boulder Avatar In The Last Airbender
The Boulder Avatar was one of the series’ most memorable characters of the supporting cast. He was an iconic earthbending wrestler but what most people may not know is that he was originally designed with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in mind.
As we all know, the show Avatar: The Last Airbender chronicles the adventures that Aang and his friends Katara and Sokka encounter as he attempts to master the bending of all four elements. He is doing this so that he can defeat the evil Fire Lord Ozai, restoring peace and balance to their war-torn world. Aang eventually finds an earthbending master, by the name of Toph Beifong, an earthbending prodigy who happens to be blind but uses earthbending to see. They meet her while she is wrestling The Boulder Avatar under the wrestling name ‘The Blind Bandit’ at an underground earthbending competition.
The Boulder Avatar: First Appearance
We meet The Boulder Avatar in the season 2 episode 6 titled “The Blind Bandit” of Avatar: The Last Airbender. The Boulder Avatar is shown to be an extremely strong and muscular person and he looks like the kind of guy you would want to teach you Earthbending. And that’s the same thought that Team Avatar has when they see him; attracting the team as a potential earthbending master for Aang. We see him quite expertly dispatch his opponent, The Hippo in the Earth Rumble underground tournament.
The Boulder refers to himself exclusively in the third person, which is an interesting character trait. He entertains and wows the crowd with his increasingly extravagant wrestling moves and showboating. It is clear he is a fan favorite to win the competition, that is until he is humiliatingly defeated by The Blind Bandit aka Toph Beifong who eventually ends up becoming Aang’s earthbending teacher. As it so turns out, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is the real-life inspiration for The Boulder Avatar.
How Can We Confirm The Connection With The Rock?
Avatar Extras was a Nickelodeon event in which episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender were aired with accompanying pop up bubbles. These bubbles were pop-up bubbles with trivia in them, and when one of them appeared on the scream, it confirmed that The Rock was indeed the inspiration for The Boulder Avatar.
In addition, the production team of The Last Airbender even wanted the actor to voice the character on the show. The Boulder Avatar does bear a lot of similarities to The Rock. Some of these similarities include his massive and very muscular build, but perhaps the most striking quality has to be his wrestling persona.
They are extremely similar in that aspect. Just like The Rock is with his catchphrases and his persona in the ring, the Boulder is a very charismatic, boastful trash-talker, who prefers to refer himself in the third person much to the amusement of the audience.
Who Voiced The Boulder Avatar
The Boulder Avatar was eventually not voiced by The Rock but instead by Dwayne Johnson’s real-life friend, pro-wrestler Mick Foley. The team had indeed wanted Dwayne Johnson as the first choice to voice The Boulder Avatar but he wasn’t yet much of an established actor as at the time of production.
He was only just making a name for himself as a big movie earner when The Last Airbender was first airing in 2005. No doubt, a cameo role in Avatar: The Last Airbender would have been something of a major departure for the wrestler turned actor, but you can’t resist Dwayne Johnson’s influence on The Boulder.
One thing for sure is that The Boulder was an instantly iconic character on the Avatar: The Last Airbender show. There were several other characters in the supporting cast, but none hit it quite like this one did. From his repetitious assertions on how The Boulder was feeling to how The Boulder had a striking muscular build, it is no doubt that The Rock-inspired character made the Avatar: The Last Airbender universe a very colorful, vibrant and very macho one.
The Boulder Was Featured in One of The Best Episodes of Avatar Ever Made
The Blind Bandit was easily one of the coolest episodes of Avatar ever made. The first episode introduced the slow-motion bending that showed off how Toph would listen and then react. She would wait for fighters to make their move. The episode also introduced Toph, who ended up being a fan favorite. She added so much flavor to the show and the group.
One of the best things about the episode was the scene when tough face all of the guys at once. The level of earth bending we got to see in this episode was just amazing. Up until this point, the focus had been on water bending, fire bending, and even air bending. There had not been very much earthbending displayed in the first book.
I think a lot of people were fans of the show through season one but the episode with the Boulder locked people in as fans. It was this episode that let people know they would love this show for a long time.