‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ Creators Walk Out of Netflix’s Live-Action Remake and Now All Hope is Lost
Fans of the beloved animated series “Avatar: The Last Airbender” were distraught and baffled when the creators announced on Wednesday that they left its imminent Netflix live-action reboot.
The Great Divide: News of Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko’s departure came when the former showrunners posted on social media that they made the decision to leave in June. In 2018, Netflix brought the duo on board as executive producers. The streaming giant said it would honor DiMartino and Konietzko’s vision, but the rift resulted in that difference in direction.
“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,” Konietzko posted on Instagram. “ Unfortunately, there was no follow-through on that promise.”
Calling the “general handling of the project…a negative and unsupportive environment,” he continued, saying that ultimately believed “we would not be able to meaningfully guide the direction of the series.”
DiMartino in a separate Instagram post echoed the sentiment, stating how creative differences and changes affected their decision.
“I realized I couldn’t control the creative direction of the series, but I could control how I responded,” he wrote. “So, I chose to leave the project.”
In an email statement to Vox, Netflix responded, “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,” and will continue to partner with Nickelodeon.
The Darkest Day: When Netflix added the original “Avatar: The Last Airbender” to its roster, the animated series took the platform by storm. Becoming more accessible to longtime and new fans, and remaining in the top ten for weeks. Especially since the show comes from a heavily pan-Asian background, drawing from Asian history and “Japanese, Chinese, Indian, and Inuit aesthetics,” according to SyfyWire; now, with the creators vanishing, there are looming fears of the live-action series turning into another M. Night Shyamalan “The Last Airbender” disaster.
Labeling the fallout as having “major red flags,” Screenrant noted, “If they felt they needed leave, it could only be because the changes were too drastic and betrayed their vision for Avatar: The Last Airbender.”
Netflix in 2018 also promised there were would not be any white-washing, according to IndieWire, but fans are skeptical, resulting in an outcry of meme-filled mourning.
Uncle Iroh wisdom: Although Netflix’s ambition to create live-action remakes may be more persistent than the fire nation, DiMartino offered some hope. The “renewed” wave of “interest and excitement” in “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and its sequel series “The Legend of Korra,” have been inspiring to him. Like the Air Nomads, he thought it would be best to detach himself from this adaptation, but this does not mean the end for his involvement in the Avatar universe and lore.
“And who knows?” he wrote. “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.”
Channeling the spirit of Iroh himself, he quoted, “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.”
This news comes one day before “The Legend of Korra,” will be available to stream on Netflix.
Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.
Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.
However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.
We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community.
Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for everyone’s support. We love you all and can’t appreciate you guys enough.