Netflix’s Last Airbender remake is “different” from M. Night Shyamalan’s movie

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

Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of the most popular animated shows of all time. Its fandom is legion, and has never stopped growing since the series first aired in 2005, partly due to a recent resurgence on Netflix. To take advantage of the evergreen popularity of the show, Netflix is remaking the series in live-action. But don’t worry, it won’t follow in the footsteps of that movie.

A live-action remake of Avatar seems like a great idea, but history tells us that it can be dangerous. Yes, I’m talking about M. Night Shyamalan’s infamous The Last Airbender movie released in 2010. Currently standing at a mere 5% on Rotten Tomatoes (which is generous, if you ask me), the movie was a total flop. From terrible casting choices to lazy special effects and a condensed story, it’s a movie best forgotten about. Even the Avatar fandom likes to pretend it never happened.

Despite its troubled live-action history, Netflix is confident that the remake will be a hit. There’s heaps of money going into this version, with a reported $15 million budget per episode. As always, money doesn’t guarantee success. But if you were worried that the upcoming remake would have the same pitfalls as the movie, you can relax. At least, star Utkarsh Ambudkar, who plays the eccentric King Bumi in the new series, is confident that it will satisfy fans.

The Last Airbender remake star (basically) says the new show will be better than the movie

“I think people are really gonna be pleased when they see the series,” Ambudkar told CBR. “It’s done super well. Everybody who’s part of the show loves it. They’re going to do it justice.”

While he respects M. Night Shyamalan’s attempt, Ambudkar believes Netflix’s version is inherently different from the movie:

"I’m not trying to diss my own people, but… M. Night, I got your back, I ride or die for you, but we’re doing something different with this one. That’s the most diplomatic way I can say it, and I’m really excited for people to see the action."

One of the biggest concerns about the upcoming series is that original Last Airbender co-creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko departed the project early on in the process. Without their direction, it’s understandable that there’s immediate apprehension towards the remake. Instead of working on the live-action version, DiMartino and Konietzko have formed Avatar Studios, where they intend to further expand the animated universe with both movies and TV shows.

Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender doesn’t have a release date yet, but we should expect to see it his screens sometime next year. Here’s hoping it’s a success!

Next. Avatar: The Last Airbender remake casts King Bumi, cabbage merchant, and more. dark

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