Avatar: The Last Airbender’s Creators Just Left the Live-Action Netflix Adaptation

Our sentiments exactly.
Our sentiments exactly.
Image: Nickelodeon

Leaves from the vine. Avatar: The Last Airbender co-creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko have announced they will no longer be involved in the live-action adaptation due to a lack of support from Netflix. The series could still happen, but both creators said it would not represent the show they wanted to see brought to life.

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“Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Avatar has the potential to be good,” DiMartino said in a statement. “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.”

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DiMartino and Konietzko are the creators behind Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, considered some of the greatest animated shows of our time. Fans were thrilled when Netflix announced back in 2018 that both creators would be developing a live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender, bringing the world of Avatar to life in a way that M. Night Shyamalan’s film version failed to do several years prior. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case.

In separate statements, DiMartino and Konietzko confirmed they were leaving Netflix’s planned Avatar: The Last Airbender adaptation. Both of them claimed that Netflix did not come through in the way they were hoping for, leaving them with creative differences that could not be resolved. Konietzko noted that the studio failed to follow through on its promise to support their vision, and weren’t coming to the table with ideas that were “in line with the spirit and integrity of Avatar.”

“When Netflix brought me on board to run this series alongside Mike two years ago, they made a very public promise to support our vision. Unfortunately, there was no follow-through on that promise. Though I got to work with some great individuals, both on Netflix’s side and on our own small development team, the general handling of the project created what I felt was a negative and unsupportive environment,” he said.

DiMartino and Konietzko said there’s no indication the series has been cancelled. A Netflix spokesperson told io9: “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.”

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In the meantime, both creators said this isn’t the end of their work on Avatar, and they look forward to continuing the story of Aang, Korra, and their friends in future works.

“I know many of you will be disappointed and frustrated by this news. I get it. I share your disappointment and frustration,” DiMartino said. “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.”

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Avatar: The Last Airbender is currently available to watch on Netflix, and The Legend of Korra is coming to the streaming platform on August 14.

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This post has been updated with comment from Netflix.


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Video Editor and Staff Writer at io9. My doppelganger is that rebelling greeting card from Futurama.

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DISCUSSION

We don’t need a Live Action Avatar The Last Airbender adaptation. The original series is perfect and the less said about the M. Night. Shymalan movie the better.

What I want is for DiMartino and Konietzko to work on a new animated series. I’d love to get a prequel Story about Avatar Kyoshi or a series set between TLA and Korra focusing on Team Avatar when they were young adults around 10-15 years after the defeat of the Fire Lord.