For fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender, the words “live action” may trigger instant feelings of dread (what with M. Night Shyamalan’s terrible live-action movie). But a new series from Netflix might actually be good, at least based on the little information we have so far.
On the plus side, the new series is being led by the original Avatar creators, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, who seem pretty determined to undo everything wrong with the previous film (which was accused of whitewashing the cast and also just kinda sucked as a movie). Early concept art also looks good, even if it is just concept art from some guy no one’s ever heard of before.
Then again, fans of the original animated series may be disappointed to learn that two of the biggest contributors to Avatar: The Last Airbender won’t be involved at all. Specifically, Aaron Ehasz (the original cartoon’s head writer) and Giancarlo Volpe (who directed more episodes than anyone else with 19 directing credits), won’t be involved in this live-action adaption, a PR representative for Ehasz’s new studio Wonderstorm confirmed to Inverse.
This doesn’t come as a huge surprise, considering that Ehasz and Volpe are hard at work on their new show The Dragon Prince. However, for anyone worried that the new live-action series won’t match the epic quality of the original cartoon, it’s not exactly great news.
Netflix first announced the news on Tuesday with a tweet from its “See What’s Next” account, revealing simply that the show exists and sharing some beautiful concept art.
Shortly afterwards, another Netflix Twitter account NX, followed up with confirmation that The Last Airbender’s original creators are directly involved in this new adaptation.
DiMartino and Konietzko also released a longer statement (via io9), which should help reassure some worried fans:
“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.”
Based on everything we know so far about this Last Airbender live-action adaptation, we’ll be joining Avatar fans around the world in what’s likely to be a cautiously optimistic celebration at the news that Aang and the rest of Team Avatar will be returning in live-action once again.