Netflix is giving Avatar: The Last Airbender another shot at live-action glory. The streaming service on Tuesday shared concept art (pictured above) for what it’s calling “a reimagined, live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series” based on the beloved animated show about a young hero blessed with the power to manipulate the element of air. Original series creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino will return as showrunners.
“We’re thrilled for the opportunity to helm this live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender” Konietzko and DiMartino said in a statement. “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.”
Avatar ran for three seasons on Nickelodeon (2005–2008), winning a handful of accolades along the way, including a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation in 2007. Its popularity led to the creation of The Legend of Korra, a spinoff series about the reincarnated form of the original show’s protagonist. Korra also found a great deal of success on Nickelodeon, airing for four seasons (2012–2014) and earning plenty of praise, including a Daytime Emmy Award in 2013. (Korra was also recently featured in TVLine’s ranking of the 10 most satisfying LGBT+ reveals in animation.)
If the idea of a live-action version of the Airbender story sounds familiar to you, that’s because Paramount Pictures attempted to turn the series into a film franchise in 2010, written and directed by twist master M. Night Shyamalan. Despite performing decently at the box office, the film was not exactly beloved by fans and critics. In fact, Konietzko and DiMartino — whose input on the film was not accepted — have gone so far as to say they wish the movie didn’t exist.
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