Slumdog Star Patel Joins Airbender Cast

Slumdog Millionaire star Dev Patel has signed on to play Zuko in M. Night Shyamalan’s feature-film adaptation of the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Patel steps into the role after Jesse McCartney bowed out due to a scheduling conflict between his musical career and the martial arts training camp required before the film starts shooting in March, Variety reports.

The film stars newcomer Noah Ringer in the lead role of Aang. Also starring in the film are Nicola Peltz (Harold), Jackson Rathbone (Twilight) and Jessica Jade Andres. Paramount is producing in conjunction with Nickelodeon, which produced and aired the animated series. The Last Airbender is set to premiere July 2, 2010.