Netflix has announced a live-action re-imagining of Nickleodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender with the show’s original creators involved and released the first piece of concept art.
Announced over on Netflix’s “See What’s Next” and NX twitter accounts, the adaptation is set to begin production in 2019 with creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko signed on as executive producers, who insisted that this version will feature a “culturally appropriate, non-whitewashed” cast, referring to the disastrous M Night Shyamalan film adaptation that was widely criticized for its whitewashing of Asian and Aboriginal characters.
In a public statement, Konietzko and DiMartino said they “can’t wait to realize Aang’s world as cinematically as we had always imagined it to be,” and that the new series is 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.” (Thanks, io9!)
The announcement comes at an interesting time as the animated series recently (at least in Canada) came to Netflix, along with a new series from Avatar’s head writer Aaron Ehasz, The Dragon Prince. The last time we saw anything from the Avatar universe was the sequel series, Legend of Korra, which ended in 2014 when Nickelodeon stopped airing it on television and released the final season online instead.
Fans are understandably wary, as the aforementioned M Night Shyamalan film is so maligned that the fanbase often refuses to acknowledge its existence, and Nickelodeon has treated the series relatively unkindly in the past – here’s hoping the Netflix team gives Team Avatar the love it deserves.