Netflix’s ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ EP Confirms Live-Action Series To Further Deviate From Animated Original: “There Will Be Some Condensing That Has To Take Place”

Aang (Gordon Cormier awakens from the ice in Avatar: The Last Airbender Season 1 Episode 1 "Aang" (2024), Netflix
Aang (Gordon Cormier awakens from the ice in Avatar: The Last Airbender Season 1 Episode 1 "Aang" (2024), Netflix

As if the first season didn’t already butcher the source material enough, Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender executive producer Jabbar Raisani has revealed that due to only having a limited of episodes left to adapt it, the live-action series’ second season will be further “condensing” the story presented in the animated original.

Aang (Gordon Cormier taps into his Avatar state in Avatar: The Last Airbender Season 1 Episode 8 "Legends" (2024), Netflix
Aang (Gordon Cormier taps into his Avatar state in Avatar: The Last Airbender Season 1 Episode 8 “Legends” (2024), Netflix

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Raisani, who previously served as the first season’s VFX supervisor before being promoted to its co-runner alongside fellow series EP Christine Boylan following the April departure of original series showrunner Albert Kim, provided this insight into the adaptation’s future while speaking with The Direct‘s Russ Millheim during the 2024 edition of the Palseyfest television festival.

Sokka (Ian Ousley) comes to attention in the presence of Princess Yue (Amber Midthunder) in Avatar: The Last Airbender Season 1 Episode 8 "Legends" (2024), Netflix
Sokka (Ian Ousley) comes to attention in the presence of Princess Yue (Amber Midthunder) in Avatar: The Last Airbender Season 1 Episode 8 “Legends” (2024), Netflix

Pressed on the topic of how the upcoming and final two seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender will approach the task of adapting the rest of its source material, Raisani asserted, “I think it’s a lot like season 1. There’s a lot of content in the animated series. And we will be looking at all that content. But we don’t have the number of episodes that we have in the animated series.”

“So,” he concluded, “certainly, there will be some condensing that has to take place.”

Azula (Elizabeth Yu) demands her father's (Daniel Dae Kim) respect in Avatar: The Last Airbender Season 1 Episode 7 "The North" (2024), Netflix
Azula (Elizabeth Yu) demands her father’s (Daniel Dae Kim) respect in Avatar: The Last Airbender Season 1 Episode 7 “The North” (2024), Netflix

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Currently, it is unknown just how many episodes will be ordered for each respective season.

However, given that Season 1 consisted or just eight-episodes, an educated guess suggests that Season 2 and 3 will feature roughly the same amount, if not slightly more or less.

Katara (Kiawentiio) is bested in Water Bending by Pakku (A Martinez) in Avatar: The Last Airbender Season 1 Episode 7 "The North" (2024), Netflix
Katara (Kiawentiio) is bested in Water Bending by Pakku (A Martinez) in Avatar: The Last Airbender Season 1 Episode 7 “The North” (2024), Netflix

While this update may come as a disappointment to many, it’s unlikely to come as a surprise, as the series’ first season was built upon this idea of ‘streamlining’ the original story.

In perhaps its most significant deviation from and “condensing” of Aang’s original storyline, rather than presenting the young Air Bender as an avoidant hero who slowly comes to terms with his duty to protect the world, the live-action series instead sees him rushing to protect the Northern Water Tribe after receiving a vision of it being attacked (a change which, it should be noted, makes absolutely zero sense, as the only reason the Northern Water Tribe eventually attacks said Tribe is because they discover Aang is residing within their borders. If he wanted to prevent the attack, shouldn’t he choose to outright avoid going there all together?)

Aang (Gordon Cormier) prepares to take on a Fire Nation ship crew in Avatar: The Last Airbender Season 1 Episode 8 "Legends" (2024), Netflix
Aang (Gordon Cormier) prepares to take on a Fire Nation ship crew in Avatar: The Last Airbender Season 1 Episode 8 “Legends” (2024), Netflix

Asked during a Februrary 2024 with IGN‘s Alex Stedman “Despite all the remixing, is the point A and the point B still the same as the original?”, the aforementioned Kim explained that while “the state of the world and the stakes of the world are still the same”, the series’ production team had “decided to make Aang’s narrative drive a little clearer”.

“In the first season of the animated series, he’s kind of going from place to place looking for adventures,” he detailed. “He even says, ‘First, we’ve got to go and ride the elephant koi.’ It’s a little looser as befits a cartoon. We needed to make sure that he had that drive from the start. And so, that’s a change that we made.”

“We essentially give him this vision of what’s going to happen and he says, ‘I have to get to the Northern Water Tribe to stop this from happening,'” said the former showrunner. “That gives him much more narrative compulsion going forward, as opposed to, ‘Let’s make a detour and go ride the elephant koi,’ that type of thing. So that’s something, again, that’s part of the process of going from a Nickelodeon cartoon to a Netflix serialized drama.”

Aang (Gordon Cormier) accesses the Avatar State in Avatar: The Last Airbender Season 1 Episode 8 "Legends" (2024), Netflix
Aang (Gordon Cormier) accesses the Avatar State in Avatar: The Last Airbender Season 1 Episode 8 “Legends” (2024), Netflix

As of writing, Netflix has yet to announce an official release date for either the second or third seasons of their Avatar: The Last Airbender adaptation.

NEXT: Netflix’s ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ Star Kiawentiio Reveals Live-Action Series “Took Out The Element Of How Sexist Sokka Was”

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