Netflix has ordered a live-action series based on Avatar: The Last Airbender.
The original series, which first aired on Nickelodeon in 2005, is widely hailed as one of the best animations of recent decades, winning several Annie Awards, Genesis Awards and a Primetime Emmy Award. The series was famously adapted for the big screen by M. Night Shyamalan, starting Dev Patel, but the movie was met with a very negative reception. Now, Netflix is having another stab at a live action take on the fantastical tale.
It takes place in a world where the four elements have come to divide the population into four nations: Water, Fire, Earth and Air. Special people with the skill to manipulate their element are known as “benders”. The story follows Aang, the last Airbender and also the titular Avatar, who is able to control all four elements through martial arts. Prophesied to bring balance to the world, he must defeat Fire Lord Ozai and end the Fire Nation’s raging war.
Produced with Nickelodeon, show has one special weapon of its own: original creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, who will serve as showrunners and executive producers.
“We’re thrilled for the opportunity to helm this live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender,” say Konietzko and DiMartino. “We can’t wait to realize Aang’s world as cinematically as we always imagined it to be.”
After a slew of recent projects and remakes have been criticised for whitewashing stories, they also note that it will have “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”, they add. “Netflix is wholly dedicated to manifesting our vision for this retelling, and we’re incredibly grateful to be partnering with them.”
Production on the series will begin in 2019. The first piece of concept art by John Staub is pictured above.