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Avatar: The Last Airbender (Live-action TV show)

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They're giving a live-action Avatar another go, after that movie which doesn't exist. It's being run by the original animated show's creators/showrunners and will be on Netflix, in partnership with Nickelodeon. They specifically mention a culturally-appropriate, non-whitewashed cast and that Netflix are backing them in their vision to go even deeper into the characters, story, action, and world-building.

 

Also this concept art

 

DMblXFh.jpg

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The fact that the original creators are involved is encouraging, but I'm not sure what there is to gain from this, beyond the novelty of seeing scenes and characters recreated in live-action. It's not as if the original series has significant flaws that need correcting. If this was an announcement for a continuation set in the same world, set either centuries before Aang or decades after Korra, I'd be instantly excited, whether it was animated or live-action.

 

Netflix seem to have a good relationship with former Avatar/Korra staff when it comes to producing Netflix original animated series: Lauren Montgomery and Joaquim Dos Santos (king of the fight scene!) have been working on Voltron: Legendary Defender, and writer Aaron Ehasz has been working on The Dragon Prince. So you'd imagine that if Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko approached Netflix wanting to work on an animated series (especially as Nickelodeon seem willing to share the Avatar brand), they'd snap them up.

 

So there must be a good reason why they want to work in live-action. But for me, all I can think is that going to live-action means losing those visual jokes where it switches to complete cartooniness, which were some of my favourite gags in the series:

 

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It's an odd one. I'm of a similar position to the folk who think the animations are practically perfect, and after enjoying Voltron enormously I've been having hopes that maybe we'd get a new Avatar series on Netflix. 

 

Maybe it'll happen one day.

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Same, it's difficult to see what can be added to the show that wasn't already in there.. I mean they can revise and tidy up a few elements, but tinkering with it too much risks losing the brilliance of the original.. which for me is right up there with the best TV shows of all time - kids series or otherwise..

Even some of the lore additions they made in Korra didn't really work too well..

 

Spoiler

their vision to go even deeper into the characters, story, action, and world-building.

 

..I don't feel like the show lacks any of these things..  the characters are all well defined and consistent, the action is already incredible (and not going to be easy to replicate on a TV budget!) and the technology, peoples and different cultures of the world are shown in plenty of detail during the series..

 

I mean if it introduces people to the world who wouldn't watch a kids cartoon then fine.. but it's not as though the original is something that most adults would run screaming from either.. Wonder if the show will be half hour episodes.. or will they be padding out 22 minutes of animation to regular tv show length..? :unsure:

 

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The casting would have to be spot on and I think it will be difficult to find the right children actors with the dramatic and comedic chops required in the series.

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Bump, apropos of nothing. Been rewatching the original series a bit and yeah, quite concerned about whether a live action adaptation is possible at all. The idea of bending is uniquely suited to the context of a cartoon primarily aimed at children really - you get to have brilliant fight scenes with high stakes and intense emotions, without it ever coming across as too violent or making the more whimsical elements feel out of place. I don't know why you'd just throw that advantage away.

 

I have a feeling a "remaster" would be more appropriate, basically. This would still add value because I imagine a lot of people (children particularly) wouldn't be prepared to watch it as it is currently on Netflix, with the 4:3 aspect ratio etc. I see Into the Spider-Verse as being a target they could aim for in terms of quality - it very much has its own look and identity, and has the kind of playful visuals that any Avatar adaptation would need to make its gags work.

 

Live action probably means an astronomical budget would be required to do it justice, and the casting would be incredibly difficult. Trying to cast Aang and Toph means finding two 12 year olds (or at least children who can pass for that age) who have brilliant dramatic and comedic chops, as has been said. But, and I think this is the part that makes it extra difficult, they would also need to be able to pull off the physical aspects of the role believeably. With a cartoon you can just have actual martial artists doing motion capture / reference for rotoscoping (as I suspect they did for the original series). There's also the need to avoid whitewashing of course, which probably applies regardless of how they choose to produce the show, but it's another criteria that makes finding the right child actors seem extra difficult, and I would say bordering on impossible.

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Yeah, it's perfectly suited to animation and is crying out for a big budget touch up, the original voice cast is perfect as it is.

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I've just finished watching the series as it was on Netflix and I was amazingly surprised, it's great.  

 

Rather than a remake so to speak in live action I'd prefer something going into the events afterwards as I believe there a comics/novels that told stories after the series and before Korra?

 

I'm now off to watch Korra to see if it's as good.

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1 minute ago, tenrou said:

I've just finished watching the series as it was on Netflix and I was amazingly surprised, it's great.  

 

Rather than a remake so to speak in live action I'd prefer something going into the events afterwards as I believe there a comics/novels that told stories after the series and before Korra?

 

I'm now off to watch Korra to see if it's as good.

 

It is!

 

It's possibly better!

 

 

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I think Avatar had a better overall arc, has some utterly fantastic action scenes though.

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Avatar is better than Korra, but both are phenomenal. 

 

I'd want the live action show to show the years after the cartoon and before Korra as well. No point retelling what's already been told, especially when it's as perfect as it is. 

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Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante Martino have announced that they are no longer involved with this.

 

 

 

https://www.michaeldantedimartino.com/an-open-letter-to-avatar-the-last-airbender-fans/

 

Quote

Many of you have been asking me for updates about the Avatar live-action Netflix series. I can finally tell you that I am no longer involved with the project. In June of this year, after two years of development work, Bryan Konietzko and I made the difficult decision to leave the production. 

 

When Bryan and I signed on to the project in 2018, we were hired as executive producers and showrunners. In a joint announcement for the series, Netflix said that it was committed to honoring our vision for this retelling and to supporting us on creating the series. And we expressed how excited we were for the opportunity to be at the helm. 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. 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.

 

I started to reevaluate what is truly important in my life and what I wanted to do with what’s left of it. I took some advice from Uncle Iroh. I looked inward and started asking myself the big question: “Who are you and what do you want?”

 

I also sought wisdom from Stoic philosophers who were big on differentiating between what is within our control and what isn’t. I realized I couldn’t control the creative direction of the series, but I could control how I responded. So, I chose to leave the project. It was the hardest professional decision I’ve ever had to make, and certainly not one that I took lightly, but it was necessary for my happiness and creative integrity. 

 

And who knows? Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Avatar has the potential to be good. It might turn out to be a show many of you end up enjoying. But what I can be certain about is that whatever version ends up on-screen, it will not be what Bryan and I had envisioned or intended to make.

 

I also want to be clear that this doesn’t mean the end of my involvement in the Avatar universe. These stories and characters are important to me and the renewed interest and excitement in Avatar and Korra has been inspiring to see.

 

Writing this letter has left me with a very heavy heart. I know many of you will be disappointed and frustrated by this news. I get it. I share your disappointment and frustration. I also recognize this creative setback is small compared to the problems we’re all facing as a society right now.

 

Thankfully, Iroh offered some wisdom for that, too: “Sometimes life is like this dark tunnel. You can’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if you just keep moving you will come to a better place.”

 

May we all keep moving and come to a better place.

 

Thanks for reading and for your continued enthusiasm for the Avatar universe.

 

With gratitude,

Michael Dante DiMartino

 

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Doesn't bode well for the series when the creators leave over creative differences. I'd trust those two to get this right more than some Netflix suits. 

 

Can't say I was excited for this anyway - the original is so perfect - and a remake seemed to pointless (why not tell other stories? Avatar Roku? Avatar Kyoshi?). Guess we'll see what it turns into with those guys at the helm. 

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