Nickelodeon’s animated seriesAvatar: The Last Airbendermight go down in history as one of the best TV shows of all time, but when M. Night Shyamalan adapted it into a live-action film, it was a legendary flop. Today, Netflix has announced it will give “Avatarbut with actual humans in it” another go. But this time, there’s hope that the project might actually begood —the originalAvatarshowrunners, Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, will be executive producers on the new adaptation.
The Last Airbender,which aired on Nickelodeon in 2005, tells the tale of a young boy, Aang, who must master the control of the four elements and rally four nations of elemental warriors to defeat a tyrannical villain. Shyamalan’s film adaptation was widely criticized for a wide variety of reasons — a clunky narrative, awful dialogue, wooden acting — but also because its main characters, mostly martial artists who live in Asian-inspired cultures, were largely played by white actors. (At least, the heroes were. The villains were primarily darker-skinned actors of various racial backgrounds.) DiMartino and Konietzko want to avoid that misstep this time around.
“We’re thrilled for the opportunity to helm this live-action adaptation ofAvatar: The Last Airbender,”the pair said in a press release. “We can’t wait to realize Aang’s world as cinematically as we always imagined it to be, and with a culturally appropriate, non-whitewashed cast. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to build upon everyone’s great work on the original animated series and go even deeper into the characters, story, action, and world-building.”
While production won’t begin until 2019, for now, we’ve got some concept art that depicts the protagonist with Appa, the six-legged flying bison who Aang and his friends ride as they travel around the world on their quest.