Netflix Announces Live-Action Avatar: The Last Airbender Series

Image: Netflix

Following the success of The Dragon Prince, Netflix has decided to give Avatar: The Last Airbender a second lease of life with a live-action reboot.

Avatar Co-creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino have said in a press release that the live-action series is a "once-in-a-lifetime chance to build upon everyone's great work on the original animated series". They also noted that the casting will be "a culturally appropriate, non-whitewashed cast":

“We’re thrilled for the opportunity to helm this live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender. We can’t wait to realise Aang’s world as cinematically as we always imagined it to be, and with 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. Netflix is wholly dedicated to manifesting our vision for this retelling, and we’re incredibly grateful to be partnering with them.”

There's no other details available right now, but we'll keep you posted as more comes to light.


    Loved the anime, not holding my breathe on this one. Haven't seen a live action that come close to being enjoyable.

      I'll just add: I also haven't seen a good anime adapted to live action before, especially by Netflix :/

        I liked Bleach, though the actor playing Byakuya wasn't pretty enough :)

          Really enjoyed it as well. Hope we get more but not holding my breath. Wanted to see a Bankai or 2 :(

      I hate to be that guy, but TLA wasn't an anime. Though they were very public about admitting how much it was inspired by anime. I'd also like to add that the Rurouni Kenshin trilogy of live-action films were fantastic!

        Yeah they were amazing. Well worth the watch.

    Hopefully they use this to continue the story and not a 'reboot/retelling' of what we've already gotten.

      Unfortunately it's a remake. They even used the word retelling in that press release.

    How do you go from releasing a 3D animated series to saying "Let's do a live action of our most popular work, especially when the movie went down so well"? If they wanted to reboot the series now that they've gotten some more animation experience under their belt I could understand but live action?

    Whatever they do it would be nice if they stayed away from the existing story and adapted the post-series comics.

      Fairly sure that Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino aren't involved in The Dragon Prince. Aaron Ehasz (one of the writers on The Last Airbender) is the one behind that show.

      Netflix is apparently just throwing money at everyone involved in Avatar. I'm okay with that.

    Would rather new stories set in the Avatar universe. TLA was perfect and shouldn't be redone.

      I'd rather see a follow up to LOK, we've had an air and water avatar, time for an earth and fire.

    I just want to know what happened to Zuko's mother.

      There are official comics that tackle stuff after The Last Airbender including what happened to Zuko's mother. Pretty sure that's covered in The Search (the second three-parter).

    Controversial opinion: I liked Korra more than TLA and think the industrial setting of that series would be much more interesting to adapt to live action.

      Yep, I wish we got more of Korra. She was awesome!

      It's funny how different peoples' tastes can be. :)

      I found Korra fascinating for tackling issues of class and privilege and the impact of supernatural powers integrating with an industrial world, and it was fun seeing a different perspective, but eventually as the series progressed, I found myself less and less able to relate, and less interested in the characters. Which really surprised me, because normally I'm entirely done with the trope of 'children who save the world', but despite the path-less-trod story being told, I really had to force myself to finish watching the second season, at which point I gave up trying to force myself to do something I wasn't enjoying.

      Though I didn't realize yours was the controversial opinion - I thought popular opinion was that the more 'mature' Korra was the better series.

        The problem with Korra, in my opinion is that her personal growth was not smooth. In the first half of the series she kept rethreading the same mistakes and having to learn the same lessons over and over. Then, in the second half, she all of a sudden flips from day to night and is not very believable.

        I found the series generally enjoyable, but she kept annoying me in ways only Katniss Everdeen had done before. Also, I was not happy with the "villain per season" treatment.

          But life can be like that. Stumbling over multiple hurdles (or the same one repeated) only to go through an experience that either profoundly alters a person or teaches them where they were going wrong for so long which is followed by a successful streak that (if lucky or smart enough to capitalise on it) compounds that's person's good fortune. Or not. Either has been done more times than you, me and every Kotaku other reader have had hot meals. I don't see what's so unrealistic about it, aside from the fireballs n stuff of course!

            You are entirely right; however, in an authored narrative, it is just so unsatisfactory! (or is it just me?) I just cannot help but get annoyed and roll my eyes. And probably it'd be the same if I got to see my own life from a vantage third point: "get your effing act together you moron! How can it be possible that you are still making these mistakes, give me a break!"

        Absolutely is the unpopular opinion.
        Because while it had some cool ideas most of them were terribly executed, the characters overall were generally less likeable, the forced romance subplots sucked even more than ATLAs and korra never seemed to learn anything. Also season 2 being just generally quite bad, season 4 with sudden turbo mechs and a giant robot.
        Overall i really enjoy korra (as much as ATLA) but its absolutely worse in most ways when considering actual quality.

          I guess my perception was influenced by everyone in my digital vicinity praising Korra for its wokeness while I was feeling distinctly 'meh' about it, without seeing much of the 'popular' view on it.

            I mean, it was certainly pretty talked about and watched while it was on so everyone was pretty hype while it was airing. But when its all done and you actually look at it, you are like oh that was kinda bad in a lot of ways.
            I enjoyed it like i enjoy a big action movie, it was fun had some cool things in it. But it really didn't have that same quality that ATLA did, which was both enjoyable and very well done in most aspects.

      I loved the setting, particularly the artwork in the background of the show. But character/story wasn't even close to being a pale shadow of TLA's for me.

    Fuck!!! Somebody kill me before i have to see this guaranteed abomination.

    Hopefully they can at least pronounce the main characters name right this time.
    There is literally no chance of this being good. I guarantee it wont be 20 episode seasons like the cartoon and that extra time for side stories and "filler" that fleshed out the characters and world is what actually made the show good. Losing all that makes the show just decent instead of great, then think of all the other fuckups that will surely happen making it live action, so that will then drop it from decent to bad.
    Characters not having their proper voice, not gonna look like their characters other than costume, fuck this is gonna be garbage

    Also "a culturally appropriate, non-whitewashed cast" That in itself isn't bad, but the fact they go out of the way to announce is a sign of worse things, everything is going to be very PC (and yes i know ATLA actually is that sort of show, but it was just part of the show back then and felt well done, i dont trust bryan and michael or anyone else to not have it be forced as fuck and over the top).
    Plus the characters were drawn not looking like the country of influence anyway and with white voice actors, so honestly this is pretty stupid. They clearly made fire nation influenced from japan and earth kingdom on china water tribe on inuits, but they never made anything about our main characters feel anything other than white, especially so for katara and sokka
    Also semi related to this point, how i said above about voices wont be the same, all the voice actors were white for the main teenage gang, so now is zuko gonna sound japanese, toph chinese, aang tibetan(?), and so forth.

    IF netflix wanted some ATLA they should have just animated the comics and added in some extra episodes of new material if they wanted more.

      Damn, that's a lot of assumptions. I'd rather wait till we have more evidence before making any significant judgments about where things could go.

        First paragraph has no assumptions. They WONT be having 20 episodes per season, there is literally no chance. So you are going to be losing all the character building that happens in the "filler" (OK technically an assumption but its not because we all know im right on that point). The last part is right too, they aren't going to be played by their voice actors so they wont sound right.

        The more questionable paragraph about no white washing still isnt really assumptions, they literally said that.
        The characters are all drawn looking kinda white (features wise) and all have white voice actors. So if they are going to get actors of the nationality of each nations influence (like i said china for toph, japan for zuko etc) they wont look or sound like the characters from the show.

          It's a lot of assumptions to think these changes can only lead to a negative result. They could get an excellent cast, and episodes could be 40-50 minutes long each these a things we don't know the outcomes of yet. Just chill and don't be so pessimistic when you don't know what is happening behind the scenes, if and when it goes to shit which it may or may not then you can flip out if you want.

            You are right on the assuming the length part technically, but i just dont see how they could ever spare the budget needed for that. Either it will be shorter (and shit), or it will be full length and the fighting CGI and sets/costumes will be absolute ass, there is no way they will spend twice as much money per season on this than they do on the marvel netflix shows (which is what would be needed).
            Though on this point i would be the happiest person ever to be proved wrong.

            But on the other point i'd say that is pretty much straight up a negative, that the cast likely won't sound or look like the characters, because even if in the orginal show the world was influenced by many eastern areas/ideas/cultures, clearly they never designed the characters in that way. (though i guess even if they didn't anti whitewash it it would still be hard, so idk)

      Wow, melodramatic much? You do realise nobody is forcing you to watch this right? Btw, I'm a white guy who's inner voice has an unusual accent (I don't know why either, it just always has and no, I'm not kidding). But I hope your assumption of what it sounds like doesn't offend you too much ok?

        That's actually genuinely interesting to hear about your inner voice. Like do you pronounce words differently in your head to how you would speak them?

        But honestly your comment is moronic. "nobody is forcing you to watch this so it doesn't matter if they make changes that could very easily negatively impact the show".
        We know what the characters sound like now and yes its unlikely they'll sound super similar no matter who they get, but even less likely if they go for actors of different nationalities to who voiced them in the first place.

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