Jul 25 2014 3:35pm

Korra Isn’t Cancelled! The Legend of Korra at SDCC

Avatar Legend of Korra SDCCIt’s been a troubling week for fans of Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Legend of Korra. On Wednesday it came out that Nickelodeon had pulled five episodes of the show from its schedule, following particularly low viewership numbers.

Prophecies of doom were immediate. Assurances came from show creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko that the show wasn’t cancelled, and was instead moving to a digital-only release schedule. Speculation remained hot going into today’s San Diego Comic-Con panel, where they promised additional info.

Panelists include Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko, Janet Varney (Korra), David Faustino (Mako), P. J. Byrne (Bolin), Seychelle Gabriel (Asami), John Michael Higgins (Varrick), and Mindy Sterling (Lin Beifong).

  • Korra being moved to digital is “part of this huge sea change in the whole industry.” Korra’s online presence has always been better, so moving to digital is a logical choice. “The important thing is the show is not cancelled!”
  • Bryan and Michael treated the audience to an advanced screening of Book Three, Episode Eight, “The Terror Within.”
  • Highlights from the episode include Bolin and Opal sharing some raw veggie wraps, Mako and Bolin fighting in their underwear, sinister lavabending, sage tick-prevention advice from Varrick, and a Red Lotus witch hunt. You can see the whole thing on air tonight.
  • Janet Varney, on being asked to rate Korra’s job as the Avatar: “I think this episode we just got to watch is a great example of how much she’s come to understand that she’s the Avatar, but that doesn’t mean she can do her job alone... I’m proud of her—she’s wonderful and strong and human.”
  • Seychell Gabriel, on the friendship between Korra and Asami: “My parents actually told me how cute Asami and Korra are together. I’m really happy, especially when two girls don’t let a guy get between them. I’m happy for them, and I think they’re stronger together and the make Team Avatar stronger for it.”
  • “GET OVER IT, MAKO!” –Michael Dante DiMartino, speaking for all of us.
  • John Michael Higgins thinks of Varick as “part Rupert Murdoch, part Thomas Edison, part Bozo the Clown.” We’ll learn more about Varrick’s childhood in an upcoming episode.
  • The panel heats up as they discuss a blind date between Varrick and Lin Bei Fong.
  • Dee Bradley Baker joins the cast for a rounding rendition of THE SECRET TUNNEL SONG! SECRET TUNNEL! SECRET TUNNEL! THROUGH THE MOUNTAINS! Secret secret secret secret TUNNEL, YEAH!
  • They show off season three concept art, including a punk P’Li inspired by Lisbeth Salander and a Red Lotus rock band.
  • Scenes from later episodes show Mako and Bolin more than a little overmatched.
  • Creators say this may be their last SDCC panel, but you can find them later this year at New York Comic-Con.

All of our ongoing San Diego Comic Con 2014 coverage can be found here.

Chris Nelly
1. Aeryl
This is terrible news. This decision will deny the awesomeness that is Korra to those amongst the lowest income levels, or located in rural areas.

Broadband coverage in the US is notoriously sketchy and expensive, priced out of most low income families price range, but pretty much all basic cable packages provide Nickelodeon. They are also the people most likely to have out of date technology, like older laptops, that won't be able to stream content from the website, even if they have broadband service.

In addition, WHO wants to watch this incredible animation on a smaller monitor or tablet screen, when they could watch it on a TV.

The problem with the show isn't that people ONLY want to watch it online, it's that Nick didn't market it AND prevented people from watching online. Nick's response should instead be, to halt airing new episodes and do a HUGE advertising push to rerun the ones that have already aired, coinciding with SDCC and all that attention, while ALSO making them available legitimately online.
Francisco Guimaraes
2. franksands
I feel for the people that still enjoys Korra. Myself, I was really pissed with book 2 and I'm finding book 3 extremely meh. Good luck to them.
3. dpt24
What I really don't understand about this is that there was suppose to be such a huge Korra push, and then Nick just gave up! I mean, they're getting a video game, and one that based upon its developer could be really good, and now it's getting relegated to online only? My only hope, and this is slim, is that in the future the Avatar/Korra universe can be taken somehwere like Netflix and have an adult version created that has to pull no punches for Nick, while keeping the fun and whimsy of the show alongside the stellar characters, wrting, and cultural setting.
4. Lsana
I have to say, this is sounding awfully Spinal Tap-esque:

"Korra isn't cancelled, it's just being taken off the TV. And it isn't becoming less popular, it's appeal is just more selective."
5. Shuckler
avatar the last airbender was the best show on nickelodeon ever period. I will NEVER change my opinion. 2 was Korra and 3 were the first three seasons of spongebob. The ONLY thing holding back the succsess of Korra and ATLA are themselves. This could be one of the most successful series of all time. i would be GLAD if a different network picked this up such as Toonami or NETFLIX. This would make ATLA and Korra the greatest thing ever. Just give them freedom and give thema better timeslot. or maybe advertise it at all. Korra doesn't deserve this and neither do we.
Chris Meadows
6. Robotech_Master
I blogged about it here.

Really, this is kind of a first. I think it's the first time any TV network has pulled a show off the air in the middle of the season not to "cancel" it, but to make it a digital exclusive. If ever there was a sign of the digital transitioning times, this has to be it.

I'd also like to point out that you can still watch it on TV, if you have a streaming device such as a Chromecast. Indeed, if you were to buy one particular kind of device solely for watching Korra, you could say you got an Avatar Roku. (Yeah, I went there. :) )

The funny thing to me is that all through last season, fans of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. worried that the show's low ratings could lead to it getting canceled because those ratings didn't include the streaming numbers. But here, Nick pulled Korra from the air because it was so popular in streaming.
Chris Nelly
7. Aeryl
I'd also like to point out that you can still watch it on TV, if you have a streaming device such as a Chromecast.

Sure, and I can watch it on my XBox.

Still doesn't address the fact that this technology is prohibitively expensive, thus making the show less accessible to those with lower incomes.
Scott Silver
8. hihosilver28
I don't see cable as an accessible medium to those with lower incomes. I know more people who have internet and no cable than cable and no internet.

I still think Nickelodeon has botched how they've handled every single aspect of Korra since the leaks, but I don't necessarily think that this limits the audience...well, in the US at least. Since there's been a bunch of reports of people outside the US are not able to watch the episodes on
Chris Nelly
9. Aeryl
I don't see cable as an accessible medium to those with lower incomes. I
know more people who have internet and no cable than cable and no

And how many people of LOW income with children do you know?

I am speaking from my own experience. I know of NO ONE with children, that doesn't maintain at LEAST a basic cable package, that includes all of the "kid" channels, Nick, Nick JR, Nicktoon, Disney, Disney kids, Disney XD, Cartoon Network, and Boomerang.

They may ALSO have internet, but it tends to be DSL, NOT Broadband, which have the speeds necessary to watch to watch High Res video, like LOK.
Scott Silver
10. hihosilver28
That's fair enough. Though, growing up, we only had cable for 3 years and then it was just internet. And I don't know many people of low income with children.

It just surprised me a little, because I decided to just do internet because it was cheaper than getting cable too.
Chris Nelly
11. Aeryl
For most parents, they are hesitant to allow children internet access to watch conent online, whereas cable is easier to enable parental controls, so I can see this being a big factor in whether opt out of cable.
12. Ana.Lee
@Aeryl -

There are 8 of us that live in my house - 4 adults and 4 children. We DO NOT have cable t.v. We have internet and Netflix. Oh, btw - we are a low income family. So now you know of one family who is low-income & does not have cable.
Chris Nelly
13. Aeryl
@12, And what devices do you use? What bandwidth do you have? Because that is part of my point, that the Nick App is only available through certain devices, and the online streaming feature is terrible at high bandwidths on
14. Ace Hamilton IV
"but it tends to be DSL, NOT Broadband,"

DSL is broadband, too.
15. Avatar Fangirl
Nickelodeon is just ruining it for themselves! Soon they will lose viewers all because they want to go digital. LOK is just as good as ATLA and deserves to be treated like any other cartoon on Nick. On the other hand, I cannot wait until season 4 starts! Let's just hope Nickelodeon re-evaluates their decisions.
Chris Nelly
16. Aeryl
@15, They don't rerun it either, which is another of their huge problems towards how they treat the show, they aren't giving it the opportunity to grow the audience who missed it on the first run.
17. KorraFan
I do hope Korra gets more of a chance for a come-back; I think online actually is good but bad in the same thing; I Hope theres a fourth season soon because there is now more answers needed! eeerg; and I feel bad for Zaher. (spelling? / spoiler.) he lost the true love of his life:( creepy , but sad. I hope Cartoonnetwork or some other big franchise(Dear lord lets hope not for Disney, though it may be cool if she became a disney princess.. she'd be the most bad arse.) But Nick has shot their second best successor in the ground. ( First unfortunitlly being sponge bob.) I think it's time Nick gave the rights to another franchies ; at least they'll treat our Avatars right!

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