Jack De Sena and Dante Basco worked together for years as Sokka and Zuko on Avatar, but they also competed to play a major DC character.
Avatar: The Last Airbender’s original Sokka apparently once beat out Dante Basco – the voice of Zuko – for one of the latter actor’s dream roles. The two starred alongside one another for three seasons of Avatar, and have joined forces on several other projects since. But in a field as small as professional voice acting, stepping on your friends’ toes is occasionally, unfortunately, inevitable.
At face value (or rather, voice value), Basco and Sokka actor Jack De Sena seem like completely different types. Basco has gained fame through his career for his iconic, slightly raspy, lower-register voice, while De Sena has made a career off of playing younger comic relief characters like Sokka, or more recently, Callum on The Dragon Prince. Zuko and Sokka occupy very different roles in Avatar, each perfectly fitting the talents of their respective actors. However, the two stars apparently competed for a role once that was very near and dear to Basco.
During a recent appearance on the Avatar: Braving the Elements podcast, which is hosted by Basco and Korra voice actor Janet Varney, De Sena revealed some of the animated roles he’s always wanted to play, with Batman being at the top of the list. Basco quickly responded by reminding his former costar that De Sena once beat him out for the role of Robin in a DC animated film – a role the Zuko actor apparently has always wanted to play. Read their full exchange below.
BASCO: “I’ve always wanted to play Robin, and I’ve auditioned for Robin so many times, on camera and on mic, and guess what? I lost it one time to guess who?”
DE SENA: “Yeah boy!”
BASCO: “Jack De Sena.”
The film in question was the 2014 DC animated feature JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time, directed by Avatar: The Last Airbender alumnus Giancarlo Volpe. Though De Sena did beat out Basco for the prestigious role of Robin, the Zuko actor did still get cast in the film as DC hero Karate Kid. And while there’s surely a level of friendly competition present, it’s clear after hearing the two stars talk that they have nothing but respect for one another.
With new, as-yet-unnamed Avatar universe projects in the works from Nickelodeon’s new Avatar Studios, it’s possible that Basco and De Sena haven’t worked together on the franchise for the last time. The studio is currently working on the early stages of a new Avatar animated feature film, which some fans have theorized could focus on the main characters from the original series as adults. There are also a number of new Avatar shows in development from the studio, promising tons of stories from all over the franchise timeline over the coming years. Though Basco missed out on playing Robin, maybe he’ll have a chance to play Zuko one more time.
Source: Avatar: Braving the Elements
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