Avatar: The Last Airbender fans have been enjoying the show's revival all summer long on Netflix, while others discover the Nickelodeon cartoon for the first time. The show is so popular it got a sequel series, The Legend of Korra (which hits Netflix on August 14), and M. Night Shyamalan adapted it into a (universally despised) live-action movie in 2010.
The film — which was planned as the first of a trilogy before getting shelved by Paramount and Nickelodeon — was met with an abysmal reception and is still looked down on to this day. However, Shyamalan’s perceived failure in bringing The Last Airbender to life in live-action hasn’t stopped others from attempting to do the same.
Back in 2018, Netflix revealed a live-action Avatar series with original creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko set to return as executive producers and showrunners. The series seemed to be coming along just fine until Konietzko and DiMartino revealed that they had officially left the live-action's production in June (and announced it two months later). Konietzko specifically cited that Netflix had promised to support his and DiMartino's creative vision for the series, but did not "follow-through."
There's no telling how The Last Airbender live-action will proceed from here on out, especially with the creators no longer involved in the project at all. That said, the show must go on, so here’s everything we know about the upcoming live-action show, including release date details, plot, cast, and more.
When is the live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender's release date on Netflix?
The live-action remake of The Last Airbender doesn’t yet have a scheduled release date. Per TheWrap, production on the series was due to start in 2019. However, the show is still in the pre-production stages of development and has not moved forward as far as we know.
As of May 2019, Bryan Konietzko updated fans, explaining that he and his team had moved into the next phase of production, but that things were moving slow.
“We’re writing, planning, and testing. Though there’s plenty that’s new for us in this live action process, we’ve been on this long rollercoaster ride twice before and a lot of the climbs and twists and turns feel familiar. Right now, everything seems slow, and we’re itching to speed up; before we know it, everything will be moving too fast and happening all at once.”
In hindsight, the slow progress on the live-action series may have been because of what was going on behind-the-scenes with the creators and Netflix.
As of January, ProductionWeekly reports The Last Airbender is expected to begin production this year. However, it’s likely the current health crisis and Hollywood-wide production shutdowns have delayed the series once more.
Who's in the cast of the live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender on Netflix?
No casting announcements have been made as of yet. That said, the creators are committed to casting actors who are ethnically and culturally appropriate. Here’s what Michael Dante DiMartino said in a statement (via Variety):
“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.”
Per Konietzko, an open casting call was supposed to happen in 2019, but it was delayed. In an Instagram update from March, he stated that he appreciated everyone’s enthusiasm for the casting call, but that production hadn’t reached that stage yet:
“In my original post about it, I had said it would likely happen in late 2019 — *likely* but not guaranteed, and obviously we have not reached that stage yet or else you would have heard about it from me, Netflix, etc. We’re working on some awesome stuff, but we’re still in development/pre-production.”
Despite the original creators leaving the series, one can hope that the casting for the show will be ethnically appropriate no matter what.
What is the plot of Netflix's live-action Avatar remake?
Presumably, the live-action series will follow the same storyline as its animated predecessor. It’s possible that it won’t be an exact retelling, but the main plot will likely remain intact.
Avatar: The Last Airbender is set in a fictional world, but borrows aspects from East Asian and South Asian cultures, among a few others. The plot centers on Aang's journey as the Avatar, the only person with the ability to bend all of the four elements (water, earth, fire, air). After the Fire Nation attacks and takes control of the other three nations — the Earth Kingdom, Water Tribe, and Air Nomads — Aang and his friends, Katara, Sokka, and Toph work together to defeat the Fire Nation once and for all.
Is there a trailer for Netflix’s Avatar live-action remake?
No, not yet. Fans shouldn't expect to get a trailer for the series until it's months into production, at the earliest. In the meantime, you can always rewatch the original animated series.
How many seasons will The Last Airbender live-action have?
The animated series had a total of three seasons, so it’s possible the live-action show will have the same number. But that's just our best guess.
Where can I watch Avatar: The Last Airbender right now?
You can watch all three seasons of the animated series on Netflix right now. And, if you’re feeling fancy and want to relive the live-action movie (for some reason), M. Night Shyamalan’s film is also available to stream on Netflix.