Netflix Picks up Live-Action Avatar Reboot


Netflix’s concept art for an Avatar reboot in partnership with Nickelodeon.

Maggie Brown, Writer

Grab your flying bison and hold onto your cabbages; Avatar: The Last Airbender is coming back. Netflix has announced a live-action reboot of the beloved cartoon that’s set to start production in 2019. Avatar’s original creators, Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, have signed on as showrunners. “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, action, and worldbuilding,” said the pair. The streaming giant will reimagine Avatar as a CGI masterpiece.

The original series ran from 2005 to 2008, spawning a spin-off series called The Legend of Korra. It’s been a household name for years, but long-time fans are nervous about a live-action remake. In 2010, M. Night Shyamalan directed a critically panned adaptation.  It whitewashed the cast of characters and flopped hard at the box office. Luckily, DiMartino and Konietzko have more creative control over this version. “We can’t wait to realize Aang’s world as cinematically as we always imagined it to be,” they said, “[…]with a culturally appropriate, non-whitewashed cast.”

Netflix has only released the first piece of concept art, which features Aang and Appa. We don’t know how far the series will stray from the source material, but some fans are hoping for a more mature twist. Avatar dealt with some dark topics like genocide and abuse, but it always retained a goofy tone. After Korra’s historic ending, fans hope that the universe will keep growing along with them. Whatever Netflix has in store for the series, it’s sure to be one thrilling ride!