Netflix Breaks The Ice, Unveils First Trailer For Live-Action ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ Series

Aang (Gordon Cormier) stands ready to protect a Water Tribe village in Avatar: The Last Airbender (2024), Netflix
Aang (Gordon Cormier) stands ready to protect a Water Tribe village in Avatar: The Last Airbender (2024), Netflix

With the official premiere of Netflix’s live-action take on the psychokinetic world-at-war of Avatar: The Last Airbender just months away, the streaming giant has taken their first step in preparing for the upcoming war of the elements by releasing the series’ first trailer.

Avatar: The Last Airbender. Gordon Cormier as Aang in season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

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Unveiled on November 9th as part of the 2023 edition of Netflix’s annual ‘Geeked Week’ preview event, the first trailer for the live-action Avatar series presents audiences with a montage of shots taken from across the series’ fantastical storyline.

The first trailer for Netflix’s live-action ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ adaptation

Beginning with a shot of the Fire Nation’s genocidal attack on the Air Nomads, the trailer then cuts across such scenes as Katara (Kiawentiio) and Sokka (Ian Ousley) discovering Aang (Gordon Cormier) entombed in ice, the opening of the gates to the Earth Bender city of Ba Sing Se, and – in making her live-action debut – a fully-costumed Suki (Maria Zhang) watching over the training of her fellow Kyoshi Warriors.

Further, this block of scenes is overlaid with a speech, ostensibly being delivered to Aang by his master Gyatso, which declares, “Time is a funny thing. The past, the future. It all gets mixed up. There’s only one way to keep it straight. Always remember who you are.”

Avatar: The Last Airbender. Maria Zhang as Suki in season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

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Following a shot of an airborne Aang descending upon an active volcano, presumed to be Mt. Makapu given the seimilar event seen in the original animated series, the montage presents one final slate of teases, the most notable of which include Prince Zuko’s (Dallas Liu) flame-filled confrontation with Fire Lord Ozai (Daniel Dae Kim), Aang’s activation of his Avatar powers, and a glimpse of Princess Azula’s (Elizabeth Yu) reserved psychopathy.

Finally, the trailer concludes with the live-action debut of Team Avatar’s resident furry friends and arguable mascots, the sky bison Appa and the winged lemur Momo, and a confirmation of the series’ February 22nd, 2024 release date.

Avatar: The Last Airbender. (L to R) Gordon Cormier as Aang, Ian Ousley as Sokka, Kiawentiio as Katara in season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

However, while the bits of the series seen in the trailer admittedly look source material accurate, excited fans would do well to temper their expectations for the live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender given that the franchise’s original creators, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Koneitzko, cut their ties with the series due to creative differences between them and Netflix regarding its direction.

“When Bryan and I signed on to the project in 2018, we were hired as executive producers and showrunners,” explained DiMartino in an open letter published to his personal blog. “In a joint announcement for the series, Netflix said that it was committed to honoring our vision for this retelling and to supporting us on creating the series. And we expressed how excited we were for the opportunity to be at the helm. Unfortunately, things did not go as we had hoped.”

Avatar: The Last Airbender. (L to R) Paul Sun-Hyung Lee as Iroh, Dallas Liu as Prince Zuko in season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

“I realized I couldn’t control the creative direction of the series, but I could control how I responded,” he further detailed. “So, I chose to leave the project. It was the hardest professional decision I’ve ever had to make, and certainly not one that I took lightly, but it was necessary for my happiness and creative integrity.”

“And who knows?” he added. ‘Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Avatar has the potential to be good. It might turn out to be a show many of you end up enjoying. 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.”

Likewise, in a statement published to his personal Instagram account, Koneitzko similarly asserted, “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.”

“To be clear, this was not a simple matter of us not getting our way,” said Koenitzko. “Mike and I are collaborative people; we did not need all of the ideas to come from us. As long as we felt those ideas were in line with the spirit and integrity of Avatar, we would have happily embraced them. However, we ultimately came to the belief that we would not be able to meaningfully guide the direction of the series.”

Avatar: The Last Airbender. (L to R) Kiawentiio as Katara, Ian Ousley as Sokka in season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

As noted above, Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender is currently set to set the world alight – for better or worse – on February 22nd, 2024.

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