Long ago (around seven years ago), Avatar: The Last Airbender fans thought the animated adventures of this elemental universe had come to an end with the Legend of Korra finale. But everything changed when Nickelodeon announced Avatar Studios, helmed by series co-creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante Dimartino, with more animated tales in the Avatarverse on the way. Although the journey here wasn’t an easy one, fans hope this decision will bring balance to their beloved world.
Avatar: The Last Airbender followed the adventures of Aang, the avatar meant to bring peace to the world, and his allies trying to end a war that the Fire Nation began. The show was a critical smash that won 15 Annie Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award, and even a Peabody Award. After it came to an end in 2008, Aang’s adventures directly continued through various comics. Fans were also treated to a sequel series, The Legend of Korra, that ran between 2012 and 2014. But it was during that run that the creators ran into some issues.
There were numerous behind-the-scenes problems that plagued The Legend of Korra. And halfway through the third season, Nickelodeon opted to air the remaining episodes of the series online instead of airing them on TV. Despite Korra’s complex themes, fantastic villains, and character development (which included Korra starting a relationship with her equally complex female friend Asami), it seemed like the network wasn’t supporting the show. Years after it concluded, fans became hopeful again about a live-action series.
Netflix announced that it would launch a live-action show set in the Avatar: The Last Airbender universe. Although Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante Dimartino were originally involved in getting the series off the ground, they left the project after two years. For fans who suffered through the M. Night Shyamalan’s Last Airbender movie, which also did not have the involvement of the creators, hearing the news about the Netflix project was a bad omen. But after the recent success of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra on Netflix—the 15-year-old series even broke some streaming records—Konietzko and Dimartino are finally returning to the franchise in the creative chair.
Their first order of business will be creating a new animated film. The story could adapt an Avatar: The Last Airbender comic storyline, expand upon the lives of characters from either animated series (like our favorite boomerang user Sokka), or center around an entirely new character. But no matter where the franchise goes next, fans can rest easy knowing the original creators will lead them back in the Avatar-verse they know and love.