Netflix will produce a live-action re-telling of Avatar: the Last Airbender
Netflix announced Tuesday that Avatar: the Last Airbender will return to screens everywhere. This time, it is all live action.
Who’s In Charge?
To avoid another colossal disappointment like the one M. Night Shyamalan produced in 2010, Netflix is going back to the beginning. The producers of the new live-action series will be the original creators, Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. They will partner with the original network of the show, Nickelodeon.
“We’re thrilled for the opportunity to helm this live-action adaptation of Avatar: the Last Airbender,” DiMartino and Konietzko said in the announcement. “We can’t wait to realize Aang’s world as cinematically as we always imagined it would be, and with 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.”
The Move That Must Not Be Named
Shyamalan’s movie was unpopular with fans of the original animated series for several of the reasons that the creators mentioned. The cast was mostly white when the animated show fully expresses their inspiration from Asian and Inuit cultures, an implication that the characters reflect those ethnicities. Of course, it’s not our world, so they never explicitly state it, but most characters have complexions, features, and names that are distinctly not white.
The only people of color cast in the Shyamalan’s movie were the Fire Nation, which fans pointed out is damaging and hurtful representation.
Another issue was that the story lost most of what made it great. The characters did not have the qualities of their animated counterparts. The bending was slow and clunky. Overall, it was a disappointing movie on several fronts.
What Can We Expect?
The called the new show a re-telling, so we can expect much of the same canon. With a series, they will not need to cut out the many adventures of the Gaang like they did in the movie. This also means they can add scenes to show us more depth and take us further into the world of Avatar.
As the creators said, the cast will not be white but will reflect the cultures the series represented. This is a huge relief and could be a great opportunity for young actors of color.
With the Netflix backing, this hopefully means better graphics because they’ll have a better budget. I think we can expect the bending to be slick and cool. They certainly did a great job with the alchemy in the Fullmetal Alchemist live action movie, so hopefully, the bending comes out just as true to the original.
Ultimately, I’m cautiously excited about this series. Most fans seem to share the sentiment since the movie very much let us down before. Hopefully, with the right people behind it, this series becomes just as beloved as its source material.