Update: Avatar: The Last Airbender live-action Netflix Show loses original creators

Shortly after the good news was released for the Avatar fans that the sequel series, Legend of Korra, would soon be available to stream from Netflix, news about the live-action series has followed. However, this update was not what the fans wanted to hear.

As we knew, original Avatar: The Last Airbender creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino have been actively involved in the franchise's developments. They both continued to work on the sequel series together and, when that ended in 2014, mentioned they were interested in pursuing the franchise further if given the opportunity. In September 2018, they revealed that they were moving on to their next project in the Avatar world. They would be executive producers and showrunners for a live-action Netflix Avatar series. After a disappointing live-action film release based on the show in 2010, fans were ready for another live-action attempt and were thrilled to have the original creators so involved. 

On August 12th, 2020, it was released that Bryan and Michael have walked away from their roles in the project. A statement was released that they choose to leave due to creative differences and visions for the show. Netflix also released a statement saying, "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."

The project will continue on without them, however, they still support the project in spirit. When asked his opinion on Netflix's vision for the show DiMartino said that fans may still enjoy it and it has the potential to become successful. He also stated, "...whatever version ends up on-screen, it will not be what Bryan and I had envisioned or intended to make. Netflix said that it was committed to honoring our vision for this retelling and to supporting us on creating the series. Unfortunately, things did not go as we had hoped."

During DiMartino's open letter to his fans explaining his choice, he shares wisdom passed on from the beloved character Uncle Iroh. After ensuring that this is not the end of his journey creating within the Avatar universe, he finishes the letter stating, "...'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."

Fans have voiced their opinions that, though they are glad the project has not been canceled, it will not be the same without the original creators guiding and honoring what they connected with so closely during both the original animated series and its sequel. After two years Netflix still has not released casting, concept art other than the one from the original announcement, or teasers. We do know that as of the end of 2019 they were still writing and casting. It was released that unlike the film adaptation, casting involved seeking out a "...mostly Asian cast and a 12-14 [year old] Asian kid to play Aang," to create a "culturally appropriate, non-whitewashed cast". Following this timeline, production would have been pushed out into 2020. Unfortunately, due to the unprecedented times, like most productions, their timeline was more than likely pushed further behind. This could result in the production not starting until as far as 2021. With so little information released about the show, there still is a lot of speculation of what the creative differences will result in. From the beginning, Netflix has been clear with their intentions of this being a "retelling" of the Avatar story, not specifically a remake or a sequel like Korra. Fans can only wait patiently for more information to be revealed.

Source(s): cnet.commichaeldantedimartino.com, and menshealth.com