Avatar: The Last Airbender gave us many beloved characters during its three-season run, but none may be more surprising than the merchant who occasionally showed up to have his livelihood destroyed. Now, the actor who gave us “Cabbage Man” says he’d love to come back for Netflix’s adaptation. It wouldn’t be hard to reprise the role: He only has one line!
Actor James Sie talked to Slate as part of an oral history of Avatar: The Last Airbender’s Cabbage Man, the beleaguered merchant who became a fan favourite. The unnamed character was supposed to be a one-off gag in the season one episode “The King of Omashu,” but he ended up appearing in several episodes of the show — as well as the follow-up series, The Legend of Korra.
Sie shared how strange but amazing the fandom has been of this small side character. He’s seen people dressed up as Cabbage Man at comic conventions, and has even received fan mail. He said it’s the role he’s most recognised for nowadays — all for uttering those two famous words whenever his one-vegetable cart was demolished. During the interview, Sie was asked whether he’d want to come back for the live-action Netflix show in the works, to which he gave a resounding: “My cabbages!” I’m kidding, he obviously said yes.
“Of course, now I’m more at the age of what the cabbage merchant was then. I will cultivate that little beard if they need me to,” Sie said. “And because my face is quite expressive, I’m perfect for a live-action version of an animated show. I’m ready.”
Right now, all three seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender are available to watch on Netflix as we wait to hear more about what the new version will look like. There haven’t been a lot of updates about Netflix’s adaptation since it was first announced in September 2018, but it’s supposedly still in the works (at least it will be after post-pandemic filming resumes). And given how we’re still waiting to see who will be bringing Aang, Katara, Zuko, and the other stars to life, it might seem premature to already be advocating for Cabbage Man’s casting. To that I say: Don’t you dare go destroying the cabbages of my heart.
We need Cabbage Man. This is my dream, my goal, and my purpose. That’s why #CabbageManNetflix is officially a-go. To me, my cabbages! Shout it from the rooftops. Share your favourite cabbage recipes. Unite under the banner of a vegetable that’s really hard to make taste good. Oh, and watch Avatar: The Last Airbender if you haven’t already, because it’s great.