Netflix is teaming up with Nickelodeon to create a live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series. The series will see original creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko join the project as executive producers and showrunners.
Avatar: The Last Airbender originally aired on Nickelodeon between February 2005 and July 2008 for a total of 61 episodes. The show followed the adventures of Aang, the last Airbender, and his friends Katara, Sokka, and Toph as they tried to bring balance to the world and defeat the leader of the Fire Nation, Fire Lord Ozai. Along their adventures they would cross path with Lord Ozai’s children Azula and Zuko. The series won an Emmy in 2017 as well as a Peabody Award. Retail sales of The Last Airbender: The Complete Series is nearing $5 million since it was first released this year.
The series would go on to spawn a number of comics and graphic novels including The Lost Adventures which is a graphic novel collection of comics that were previously published in Nickelodeon Magazine as well as found with the Avatar: The Last Airbender DVD collections between 2005 and 2011. It also includes a number of Free Comic Day issues.
There was also a series of graphic trilogies published by Dark Horse Comics which acted as a continuation of the television series. These stories were written by Gene Luen Yang with artist Gurihiru. Faith Erin Hicks and Peter Wartman took over the series this year. The books include The Promise, The Search, The Rift, Smoke and Shadow, North and South, and Imbalance.
This isn’t the first time, the show has seen a live-action adaptation. Director M. Night Shyamalan put together a live-action feature, The Last Airbender, in 2010 that starred Noah Ringer as Aang, Dev Patel as Prince Zuko, Nicola Peltz as Katara, Jackson Rathbone as Sokka, and Cliff Curtis as Fire Lord Ozai.
Creators DiMartino and Konietzko were excited about the opportunity to adapt the animated show into a live-action series:
“We’re thrilled for the opportunity to helm this live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender.”
They also promise they won’t white-wash the characters:
“We can’t wait to realize 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.”
Netflix’s Melissa Cobb, who is the VP of Kids and Family Content commented on how committed the streaming giant is to DiMartino and Konietzko’s vision for the show:
“We are committed to honoring Bryan and Mike’s vision for this retelling and are thrilled to support them on creating a live-action event series, bringing Aang’s epic world of elemental magic to life for global audiences on Netflix.”