Side by side: See how Netflix's Avatar remake adapts the animated original

The new live-action version of Avatar: The Last Airbender has lots of shots drawn directly from the original Nickelodeon series. Old school fans are welcome here.
Avatar: The Last Airbender. Dallas Liu as Prince Zuko in season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Cr. Robert Falconer/Netflix © 2023
Avatar: The Last Airbender. Dallas Liu as Prince Zuko in season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Cr. Robert Falconer/Netflix © 2023 /

Netflix is ramping up to the release of Avatar: The Last Airbender, a live-action remake of the Nickelodean animated series of the same name. The original Avatar came out in the mid-2000s, but it still has lots of fans. Watching the trailer for the new show, it's clear that the folks at Netflix are fans, too, since a lot of shots, costumes, and character designs are drawn directly from the original show without much alteration:

That's not to say there won't be changes, of course. This is a whole new medium for the story. Rather than 20 half-hour episodes, the Netflix show will have eight hour-long episodes. We'll spend more time with characters in the villainous Fire Nation, and I'm sure we'll discover other differences as we watch. But it's clear the people behind the new series are making an effort to respect the source material.

For example, check out this shot from the trailer of our hero Aang, the titular last airbender, riding a ball of air and smacking into a statue. This was taken straight out of the introduction to the original show (hit play to see what I mean):

According to VFX supervisor Jabbar Raisani, including this shot was very purposeful. "It was really important to put this into the trailer, so fans know we have that in our minds," he told IGN. "We are making that show and here it is."

There are many, many more examples. Let's take a look at some, starting with the moment early in the series when Sokka and Katara, members of the Southern Water Tribe, find Aang frozen in an iceberg, where he's rested for the past hundred years:

After their adventure gets underway, Aang, Sokka and Katara will get around by riding on Aang's flying bison Appa:

Appa is basically the mascot of this franchise, so the new show needed to get him right. Viewers should want to hug him, much like Aang is doing here:

Together, this trio will traverse a world inspired by East Asian and indigenous cultures, flying high above cities like Omashu...

...which is ruled over by the old, eccentric, weirdly muscular, rock-chucking King Bumi:

The villains in Avatar: The Last Airbender mostly hail from the Fire Nation, a tyrannical kingdom that has been waging a war against the rest of the world ever since Aang was frozen in that iceberg. The Fire Nation is ruled over by Firelord Ozai, played by Mark Hamill in the original show and Daniel Dae-Kim in the live-action remake:

Ozai's son Prince Zuko is another important character. He's been banished from his homeland, but is hoping to buy his way back in by finding the capturing the Avatar:

Zuko is accompanied by his more mild-mannered Uncle Iroh, who tries to talk some sense into the hot-headed boy:

Even minor villains like June, sent by Zuko to track down Aang and company, will make an appearance:

None of this is a guarantee that Avatar: The Last Airbender will be good, but it tells me that the producers know and respect the original show.

Hopefully that bodes well for when the first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender drops on Netflix on February 22.

Every actor in Netflix’s Avatar: the Last Airbender remake (and who they’re playing). dark. Next. atla

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