Netflix Just Renewed Avatar, But Can it Do the Story Justice?

The live-action Legend of Aang will continue in a second and third season.

Gordon Cormier as Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender

Avatar: The Last Airbender may be Netflix’s riskiest remake to date, not only because it’s trying to win over a sensitive fandom, but because it’s telling a beloved story on such a pressing time crunch. The original Avatar was animated for a reason: with three seasons focused on a cast of young characters, some of whom can control the elements, it’s not an easy story to translate to live-action. That hasn’t stopped Netflix from trying, and while the distributor’s take on the original series isn’t perfect, it does show some potential.

Fans and critics are more or less on board with Netflix’s live-action retelling. Since its premiere, Avatar has been the streamer’s #1 English-language show, raking in over 40 million views in a little over a week. Comparing the new series to its animated predecessor — and M. Night Shyamalan’s dismal attempt at a remake — has been a popular topic of conversation, and it seems like showrunner Albert Kim has a lot to learn before he’s ready to please everyone. Fortunately, Netflix seems keen to give him the opportunity.

Team Aang will get a new member in Avatar Season 2.


Avatar has officially been renewed for a second and third season. That means the series will get a chance to adapt the original cartoon’s final two seasons, bringing the Legend of Aang to its natural conclusion. Avatar follows the prodigy as he labors to master air, water, earth, and fire, and with air in the bag, he’s got three elements left (bafflingly, he didn’t learn any waterbending in Avatar Season 1) before he can realize his destiny and stop the Fire Nation from taking over the world.

As erratic as the first season was, the idea of more live-action Avatar is still exciting. “Book Two: Earth” follows Aang on an odyssey through the Earth Kingdom as he searches for an earthbending master and comes to blows with a new adversary, the Fire Nation’s Princess Azula. Book Two introduces one of the show’s greatest characters, Toph Beifong, and also kickstarts a redemption arc for its most complex hero, Prince Zuko. Avatar moves from strength to strength across this season, and it only gets better (and darker) in “Book Three: Fire.”

It’ll be interesting to see how some of the original Avatar’s best episodes — like “Zuko Alone” and “The Library” — translate to the Netflix remake. It probably won’t win everyone over, but it’s still nice to see the streamer going all-in on such a potentially lucrative project. With so much uncertainty surrounding streaming, a big series renewal is rare. Getting the chance to tell a full story on one’s own terms is even rarer. For all its flaws, Avatar deserves that chance. Let’s hope it doesn’t go to waste.

Avatar: The Last Airbender is streaming on Netflix.

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