Beloved Nickelodeon animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender will receive a Netflix-exclusive live-action series, Netflix announced today. Original writers Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, who will return to lead the series, released the following statement (via Polygon) alongside the series' announcement:
"We’re thrilled for the opportunity to helm this live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender. 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."
The announcement comes on the heels of The Dragon Prince, a newly released Netflix animated series from Avatar: The Last Airbender writer Aaron Ehasz. It's still early days, but many agree that Netflix and Ehasz have managed to capture some of Avatar's trademark magic with The Dragon Prince, which paints the series' upcoming live-action adaptation in a more hopeful light.
Lord knows it could use a little hope. After all, the last live-action take on the series, M. Night Shyamalan's 2010 movie The Last Airbender, was universally, erm, disliked. Which is to say it is still regarded as one of the worst movies ever made, even among people who aren't familiar with the original animated series. Encouragingly, DiMartino and Konietzko's statement feels like a direct response to the movie's biggest problems: in particular, people criticized its whitewashed casting and its shallow interpretation of Avatar's rich world.
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