Avatar: The Last Airbender

‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ is getting a live-action do-over thanks to Netflix.  The original animated series was highly acclaimed and won numerous awards, including an Emmy and Peabody, thanks to its dense mythology, filled with three-dimensional characters, and rich animation style. Its fanbase is completely devoted.  The series even inspired a sequel, ‘The Legend of Korra’ which is almost as beloved.  Now the brand is getting a new life, as a live-action series on Netflix.

The new version will feature the creators of the original animated series, Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko on board as showrunners.  Though the new project will be produced in partnership with Nickelodeon (which aired the original, as well as ‘The Legend of Korra’), it will only be available on Netflix.  Production will begin in 2019.

In a statement, DiMartino and Konietzko said:

“We’re thrilled for the opportunity to helm this live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender. We can’t wait to realize Aang’s world as cinematically as we always imagined it to be, and with a culturally appropriate, non-whitewashed cast. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to build upon everyone’s great work on the original animated series and go even deeper into the characters, story, action, and world-building. Netflix is wholly dedicated to manifesting our vision for this retelling, and we’re incredibly grateful to be partnering with them.”

This will be the second live-action adaptation of ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’.  In 2010, Paramount released a live-action film, simply entitled ‘The Last Airbender’ (to avoid confusion with… and legal action from the James Cameron film ‘Avatar’) and was directed by M. Night Shyamalan, and featured a somewhat whitewashed cast.  The film was both a critical and financial failure and “won” five Razzies at the annual Golden Raspberry Awards, which “honors” the worst movies of the year.  It has a dazzlingly poor 6% ranking on Rotten Tomatoes.

Despite that flop, the ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ franchise has never lost its place in the hearts of its fans.  And it appears that all parties are determined that this series will be nothing like the terrible movie.

Melissa Cobb, vice-president of Kids & Family Content for Netflix attested:

“We are committed to honoring Bryan and Mike’s vision for this retelling and are thrilled to support them on creating a live-action event series, bringing Aang’s epic world of elemental magic to life for global audiences on Netflix.”

Nickelodeon’s  Senior Vice President, Animation Production and Development, Chris Viscardi added:

“Avatar: The Last Airbender continues to grow and resonate with fans around the world due its combination of relatable characters with all their foibles and a fully realized world of epic, high-stakes stories and adventures. This partnership with Netflix is part of our broader efforts at Nick and Viacom to tap into our enormous library of culturally resonant properties to produce new interpretations, and we can’t wait for people to see Netflix’s live-action version of Avatar.”

Are you excited about the idea of a live-action series based on ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’?