The Last Airbender was one of the first North American-made shows to take on the concept of serialized anime. The original anime series aired on Nickelodeon between 2005 and 2008 and, more than a decade later, it still retains a loyal fan following. It’s actually surprising that a franchise with so much clout when it comes to anime and comic books doesn’t have a lot of presence when it comes to live-action.
There are a lot of mixed feelings out there about Netflix’s upcoming live-action version of The Last Airbender. The live-action film of 2010 is infamous for being one of the worst movies ever made and fans are still smarting from the legacy it left in its wake.
The production over at Netflix presents a chance to reverse that trend, and even the most cynical fans are grasping for upcoming news of the series. Here’s a quick summary of what we know about The Last Avatar according to Netflix.
When Will Production On the Series Begin?
Despite the fact that talk of a live-action TLA series has been floating around for years, and Netflix has been committed to the project since 2018, production has yet to begin on the series. Originally the shooting was set to begin in 2019 but that didn’t go as planned.
The change in schedule is due in some part to COVID restrictions. It’s also because the original creators, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, left the project in 2020 over creative differences with the decision-makers at Netflix. However, despite some previous turmoil, the filming will start in November of this year.
When Is The Release Date?
There’s no official word on a definitive date for the release yet, which isn’t surprising since filming hasn’t even started. However, this seems to be the most pressing question and fans are making guesses based on current production schedules, so there are some estimates.
Production is expected to finish in April of 2022. Fans can expect to see the first few episodes of Season 1 as early as 2022, but more conservative estimates say 2023.
Rumored release date: 2022
Who Is The Director?
It’s not likely that one director will handle every episode, and in the case of a series that has several episodes, there are usually at least two or three names in the final credits. However, it has been confirmed that Michael Goi has been signed on for at least a season or two.
Goi has been involved as a Director and a Cinematographer on shows like American Horror Story and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. He’s one of the first big names to be confirmed in the creative or production aspect of the project.
What Is The Plot Like?
The live-action series is expected to follow the same episodic structure and storyline as the original series. Whether or not it will follow the same plot exactly is yet to be seen, but we can expect to see the same first few episodes that feature Katara and Sokka’s home as the setting.
Other characters from the original series, such as Zuko and the Kiyoshi Warriors have also been confirmed as part of the plot. The story will also start with the same premise of the Avatar being lost for a hundred years.
Is There Any News On The Cast?
At this point, there is little more than conjecture and rumor. Apparently, the roles of Zuko, Katara, and Sokka had been cast in May while the auditions for Aang remained open until later. News releases have also confirmed that both candidates for the roles of Aang and Zuko are of South Asian descent.
Fans are still smarting from the whitewashing of the characters in the 2010 adaptation, and the producers and directors felt the backlash, so we hope that mistake won’t repeat itself. In more encouraging news, APTN has confirmed that PoPing casting was “searching North America for a 16-year-old Indigenous male and a 14-year-old Indigenous female to star in a series that will be streamed on a U.S. streaming service” in May of this year.
Are The Original Creators Involved?
The creators of the previous series, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, were originally recruited as showrunners and executive producers, but have since left to focus on their work at Avatar Studios. The composer of the much-heralded score, Jeremy Zuckerman, is rumored to be returning but that has yet to be confirmed.
Most of the staff that’s been confirmed are names that are new to The Last Avatar but experienced in the world of serialized drama and animation. Albert Kim and Marc David Alpert, who worked on Nikita, are also working on the live-action version of The Last Airbender.
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