It’s been a little more than five months since news broke that Avatar: The Last Airbender creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko had exited Netflix’s upcoming live-action series adaptation. With 2021 still having that “new year smell,” two members of the original “Avatar” voice cast are sharing their thoughts on the matter- and you might not like what they have to say but they make excellent points, Netflix.
“I just don’t know how you fulfill that any better than [the animated] show did,” said Dee Bradley Baker (Appa, Momo) during a virtual reunion panel. “I’m open to whatever they do with the live-action series, which I know nothing about, but it’s like, ‘Well, how do you do this better than the way that it was rendered on this show?’ I don’t know how you do that! I hope you can.” Olivia Hack (Ty Lee) added, “Especially when you’re doing the exact same series, but as a live-action. You’re not adding onto it or expanding the universe. You’re doing the same thing, which feels redundant, but I don’t know.”
In August 2020, DiMartino dropped a ten-ton implication that the streamer’s commitment to their vision didn’t remain as strong as when it first started. “Unfortunately, things did not go as we had hoped,” he wrote on his website. “Look, things happen. Productions are challenging. Unforeseen events arise. Plans have to change. And when those things have happened at other points during my career, I try to be like an Air Nomad and adapt. I do my best to go with the flow, no matter what obstacle is put in my way. But even an Air Nomad knows when it’s time to cut their losses and move on.”
While DiMartino wished the upcoming series well, he wanted to make it clear that it will not be what he and Konietzko envisioned: “And who knows? 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.” Konietzko wasn’t so diplomatic in his Instagram post, where he says that duo believed that “we would not be able to meaningfully guide the direction of the series,” also referencing what he felt was Netflix backing away from its earlier creative promises. The award-winning Nickelodeon animated series ran for three seasons (from 2005-2008) and spawned the sequel series Legend of Korra, which aired for four seasons (from 2012-2014).
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