Maybe Avatar: The Last Airbender is better served by remaining an animation classic.
In a shocking turn, ATLA creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko announced their departure from the long-in-development live action Netflix remake on Wednesday. “When Bryan and I signed on to the project in 2018, we were hired as executive producers and showrunners,” DiMartino explain in a post on his blog (via Forbes). “In a joint announcement for the series, Netflix said that it was committed to honoring our vision for this retelling and to supporting us on creating the series. And we expressed how excited we were for the opportunity to be at the helm. Unfortunately, things did not go as we had hoped.”
It seems despite a promise of creative control, the pair did not gain autonomy from Netflix in regards to various aspects of the production. DiMartino avoided specifics, instead saying, “Look, things happen. Productions are challenging. Unforeseen events arise. Plans have to change … even an Air Nomad knows when it’s time to cut their losses and move on.”
“Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Avatar has the potential to be good,” he added. “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.”
DiMartino vowed the duo will continue to build out the Avatar world — presumably in comics and, hopefully, another animated project. It’s time for an Avatar with ancestral ties to the Earth Kingdom, isn’t it?
Meanwhile, the departure of DiMartino and Konietzko will no doubt inspire fear in the hearts of ATLA fans. The last time a live action adaptation occurred without them, it was M. Night Shyamalan‘s The Last Airbender — a truly poor adaptation of any source material, let alone ATLA. Perhaps it is better to let the original animated series stand as the only fully developed version of the story.