For as long as a phenomenon like Avatar: The Last Airbender exists, there will always be an attempt to recreate it magic. Notably, a few have already tried and failed, but that hasn’t stopped Netflix from stepping up to the plate.
Since 2019, Netflix has been hard at work on a new live-action Avatar remake — and the streamer definitely has its work cut out for it. Avatar fans have been burned before (the less said about M. Night Shyamalan’s Last Airbender film, the better), and are understandably protective over the beloved Nickelodeon series. It doesn’t help that Avatar creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino were once collaborating on the Netflix adaptation, only to depart in 2020 over creative differences and start a production studio of their own. Will Netflix be able to carry on without them — or will its Avatar: The Last Airbender remake go the way of the streamer’s Cowboy Bebop?
Fans and novices won’t have to wait much longer to find out. After four years of development, Netflix’s Avatar is nearly here. The eight-episode series will bow sometime in 2024, and in the meantime, Netflix has unveiled its first official trailer. Check it out below.
Netflix’s Avatar adaptation apparently has “more creative freedom” than most — and though it is taking a few liberties with the source material, the main beats are still more or less the same. The series is set in a fictional fantasy realm divided into four nations. A chosen few are born with the ability to manipulate the elements, be it air, water, earth or fire. Only the Avatar — a being that’s reincarnated in a new form each generation — has the power to master all four. Each Avatar has been tasked with bringing balance to the world, but the latest incarnation, a 12-year-old airbender named Aang (Gordon Cormier), has been missing for nearly a century.
By the time Katara (Kiawentiio) and her brother Sokka (Ian Ousley) discover Aang frozen in an iceberg, Aang has become the last airbender. His people were wiped out by the totalitarian Fire Nation, and he’s the only one capable of saving the world from the same fate. Katara and Sokka join Aang as he works to master the three remaining elements, occasionally facing off with Zuko (Dallas Liu), the crown prince of the Fire Nation who needs to capture the Avatar in order to end his exile.
Based on the trailer, Netflix seems to have poured plenty of money into this series, with a thrilling, action-packed approach that fits the epic series. It’s bright, colorful, and thankfully, the bending looks more accurate to the show than the movie adaptation. that we shall not name.
If Netflix has its way, Avatar will probably run for three seasons, not unlike the animated series. That gives Aang time to master water, earth, and fire, and for fans to (hopefully) fall in love with a new cast of characters.
Avatar: The Last Airbender hits Netflix on February 22, 2024.
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