We can’t really have any good things this year, can we? While we’ve been caught up in the excitement of both Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra coming to Netflix, fans of the franchise have had one other bright spot to look forward to: the live-action adaptation of The Last Airbender being developed by Netlfix. It was going to be everything that the film that should not be named didn’t: good effects, faithfulness to the source material and, best of all, the direct involvement of Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino, the creators and showrunners of the show as well as its sequel series. Unfortunately, after two years of development, the duo have departed from the show citing the two deadliest words in show business: Creative Differences.
In an open letter posted on DiMartino’s website, he wrote that despite public assurances that Netflix would follow their vision, “things did not go as planned.” Despite all efforts to adapt, in DiMartino’s words, “like an Air Nomad,” his frustrations grew as he realized he did not have a say in the creative direction of the series as had been promised. The creative duo are no stranger to executive meddling, as both The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra famously were in constant battle with Nickelodeon over everything from time slots to violence to even swimsuit design. While details remain scant on the issues with the upcoming live action adaptation, it became too much for Bryke. While DiMartino is hopeful that the new show might be good or even enjoyable for fans, “whatever version ends up on-screen, it will not be what Bryan and I had envisioned or intended to make.”
The Fandomentals has reached out to Netflix, but as of this writing they’ve not replied to our request for comment.
Where does that leave us? Well, DiMartino assures us that he’s not abandoning the franchise he helped create: “These stories and characters are important to me and the renewed interest and excitement in Avatar and Korra has been inspiring to see.” As to the show itself, there’s still a long way to go before we get any details on it. Even now the most we have is the promotional shot at the top of this page. But without Bryke helping guide it, and with deviations from their vision such that they felt the need to abandon ship, it’s impossible to know what the final product will look like.
Image via Netflix