Avatar: The Last Airbender cast worries Netflix remake will be “redundant”

Image: Avatar: The Last Airbender/Nickelodeon
Image: Avatar: The Last Airbender/Nickelodeon /

Netflix is making a live-action version of Avatar: The Last Airbender, but the original cast wonders if it’s necessary when the original show is so good as is.

All three seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender arrived on Netflix in May 2020 and I promptly watched the entire series for the very first time, and I was blown away. Avatar: The Last Airbender is by far one of the most poignant and well-executed children’s shows I’ve ever seen.

The show began in 2005, but we have yet to have a live-action adaptation that fans that anybody liked. M. Night Shyamalan did adapt the first season as a movie in 2010, but it’s widely considered to be terrible. Then, in 2018, Netflix announced that it was produce a live-action TV series based on the show, and even got animated series creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko on board as showrunners. But the series hit a rough patch when that duo ended their involvement with the production last summer.

Over the weekend, the original voice cast of Avatar: The Last Airbender had a virtual reunion, and the conversation turned to Netflix’s show. As it turns out, the cast aren’t any more certain how they feel about it than the fans.

Dee Bradley Baker, who played Appa and Momo, wonders how Netflix will make the series unique if it’s just a remake of the original:

"I just don’t know how you fulfill that any better than this show did. 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."

Similarly, Olivia Hack, the voice of Ty Lee, wondered about the creative integrity of the remake:

"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. I’m not saying anything."

While I’m interested to see how the live-action series comes together, I agree that it seems rather redundant. It feels like Netflix is just trying to profit off of the recent surge in the show’s popularity. Each season of Avatar: The Last Airbender was well-written and drove the plot forward while exploring themes like justice, war, imperialism, destiny and oppression. In short, Avatar was so good that I’m not sure how making a live-action adaptation will improve it in any way.

In lieu of a shot-for-shot live-action remake of the show, I would much rather see a new series set in the Avatar universe. There were so many Avatars before Aang and Korra that I’d love to learn about, like Kuruk, whose beloved was stolen by Koh the Face Stealer, or Kyoshi, whose elaborate costume was a clever nod to her parents, as well as the inspiration for the Kyoshi Warriors.

On the other hand, it would be great to see who becomes Avatar after sequel series The Legend of Korra, especially after the spiritual connection between all of the Avatars was unintentionally severed. Even if another series didn’t focus on the Avatar, I’ve always wanted to learn more about the different styles of bending portrayed on the show! The series created a world that is so expansive that a new storyline could focus on any number of characters, events, or time periods. Whatever ends up happening with the final product, I will watch it all the same.

If you want to see the entire reunion from start to finish, then you can download it in its entirety here.

Next. 25 moments Netflix’s remake of Avatar: The Last Airbender MUST get right. dark

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