The Metal Clan refers to the citizens and residents of Zaofu, many of whom are renowned for their metalbending abilities. The clan is led by Suyin Beifong, the city's founder and matriarch, and her family. In 174 AG, Kuvira annexed Zaofu to her Earth Empire and by subjugating its citizens and imprisoning the Beifong family, save for Opal, she became the leader of Zaofu. After her arrest, the Metal Clan was once again under Suyin's leadership.
Sometime after 142 AG, Suyin Beifong purchased a large plot of land in the Earth Kingdom which she eventually developed into her home. In order to enact her vision, Suyin enlisted the help of Baatar, an architect whom she later married. With their combined efforts, the couple created Zaofu, which made history as the first city in the world constructed primarily out of metal.
The two had five children, whom they raised in their estate. The eldest son, Baatar Jr., would eventually become an engineer and assist Baatar in his numerous construction projects. The second child, Huan, grew up to become a skilled metalbender and a gifted artist capable of fashioning crude metal into different sculptures. Suyin and Baatar also had a daughter, Opal, who acquired airbending abilities following the Harmonic Convergence in 171 AG. The couple's youngest two children, Wei and Wing, invented the metalbending game of power disc during their youth.
Suyin went on to establish Zaofu's credibility as one of the safest settlements in the world by training an elite guard and hiring Aiwei, a "truth seer" capable of using seismic sense to detect whenever an individual is lying. She also enlisted the help of a personal chef who became responsible for the Metal Clan's culinary needs. The family often hosted Toph Beifong for brief periods of time, as she visited the city frequently until her decision to travel the world in search of enlightenment.
In 171 AG, the Metal Clan provided refuge for Varrick after he escaped from prison in Republic City. The mogul eventually agreed to lead Zaofu's new technology division under Suyin's request. Shortly after, the family welcomed the arrival of Avatar Korra and her company, whom they hosted in guesthouses located near the estate. Suyin insisted that the group stay in the city while Korra trained Opal in the art of airbending. The Avatar's visit also marked the first time that Suyin's family met her half-sister Lin Beifong, who accompanied Korra in her search for airbenders.
The Metal Clan faced an attack from Zaheer and his cabal shortly after the Avatar's arrival to Zaofu. The four criminals inevitably escaped despite the clan's attempts to subdue them, although the group's attempted kidnapping of Avatar Korra was thwarted in the process. It was eventually revealed that Aiwei assisted the Red Lotus in entering the city, forcing him to flee the city as a fugitive.
The Metal Clan was later called upon to assist Team Avatar in using their radio transmitter to warn the people at the Northern Air Temple of the Red Lotus' approach. Unable to sit idly by, Suyin ordered the preparation of her airship to head toward the temple herself with the full force of the Metal Clan's security to back her up.
After the insurrection of the Red Lotus, Kuvira convinced Baatar Jr. behind Suyin's back to leave Zaofu and join her in stabilizing the situation in Ba Sing Se and the rest of the Earth Kingdom. Despite Suyin's warnings, the two departed from Zaofu along with numerous members of the city's elite guard and several of its wealthy citizens.
In 174 AG, Kuvira marched her army down to the gates of the city, as it was the last remaining state to be annexed to her Earth Empire. After Suyin, Wei, and Wing's attempt to take out Kuvira failed, the army commander promised that the citizens of Zaofu would come no harm if the rest of the Beifong clan surrendered. Avatar Korra negotiated on their behalf and accepted a one-on-one duel with Kuvira for the fate of the city. After the Avatar lost, Kuvira claimed Zaofu to be under her control and ordered the Metal Clan to bow to her if they wished to be treated fairly as citizens of her Earth Empire. Those who refused were to be arrested as traitors, which was the fate of Baatar and Huan.
Three months later, Metal Clan guards stood watch over a temporarily released Kuvira and a brainwashed Asami when they were taken to Zaofu by Avatar Korra. The former Earth Empire leader incapacitated two of her guards when she escaped the clan's supervision but was later formally released into the Metal Clan's custody by President Zhu Li Moon after her trial.
The Metal Clan is known around the world as the individuals responsible for creating the city of Zaofu, a settlement made entirely out of metal. The title given to the clan refers to a majority of its members having the ability to metalbend, a gift which the members used to advance numerous aspects of life, including fine arts, architecture, and recreation. The clan's matriarch used metalbending to develop a form of theater involving dance and bending, while Huan influenced the use of metal as a medium for sculpting. Conversely, Baatar and his eldest son developed public works projects constructed entirely out of metal, contributing new designs that keep Zaofu the most innovative city in the world. In terms of athletics, Wei and Wing used metalbending to develop a new sport which involves the use of the art during gameplay, similar in nature to the ancient game of airball.
- Lin was offered a place in the Metal Clan, though she declined.
- The Metal Clan's clothing is meant to represent a "modern update" of traditional Earth Kingdom garb and a "fashion statement" displaying pride at being a Zaofu citizen.
- The clothing of the Metal Clan was inspired by real-world 1920s concepts of the "City of the Future".