Make that two live-action versions of Avatar: The Last Airbender that will not involve the show’s original creators.
Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, who co-created the beloved animated series, have departed Netflix’s live-action adaptation after initially boarding the project as executive producers and showrunners.
As DiMartino revealed in an open letter to fans on Wednesday, he and Konietzko stepped down in June following creative differences with Netflix. Though the streamer had “said that it was committed to honoring our vision for this retelling and to supporting us on creating the series,” DiMartino wrote, “unfortunately, things did not go as we had hoped.”
“Look, things happen. Productions are challenging. Unforeseen events arise. Plans have to change. And when those things have happened at other points during my career, I try to be like an Air Nomad and adapt,” he continued. “I do my best to go with the flow, no matter what obstacle is put in my way. But even an Air Nomad knows when it’s time to cut their losses and move on.”
Though DiMartino expressed hope that Netflix’s final product “might turn out to be a show many of you end up enjoying,” he added his certainty that “whatever version ends up on-screen, it will not be what Bryan and I had envisioned or intended to make.”
UPDATE: Netflix responded on Wednesday with the following statement to our sister site Variety: “We have complete respect and admiration for Michael and Bryan and the story that they created in the Avatar animated series. Although they have chosen to depart the live action project, we are confident in the creative team and their adaptation.”
Netflix’s live-action Avatar project was first announced in September 2018, described as a “reimagined” version of the 2005-08 Nickelodeon series about Aang, a young hero attempting to fulfill his destiny as the element-bending Avatar. The show was previously adapted into a live-action 2010 film written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan; DiMartino and Konietzko’s input on that version was not accepted, and they’ve gone so far as to say they wish the movie didn’t exist.
Avatar fans, how are you feeling about Netflix’s live-action project now that DiMartino and Konietzko are gone? Tell us in the comments below.