Aang, the young hero at the center of Nickelodeon’s “Avatar: The Last Airbender” series is finally getting his chance to grace the big screen in his true, two-dimensional form.

What’s going on

Entertainment Weekly reports that Nickelodeon is launching a new creative division called Avatar Studios that will create animated content in the world of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and “The Legend of Korra.” The announcement was made during the ViacomCBS’ Streaming Event presentation on Feb. 25.

Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, the creators and executive producers behind the animated series, will head the studio as co-chief creative officers, Entertainment Weekly reports, and their first project is an animated “Avatar” film that is set to start production in 2021.

According to Deadline, Avatar Studios content will air on Paramount+ and Nickelodeon in addition to third-party platforms and theatrical releases.

Key quote

“It’s hard to believe it’s been 19 years since we created ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender,’” DiMartino and Konietzko said in a statement (via Entertainment Weekly), “But even after all that time, there are still many stories and time periods in Aang’s world that we are eager to bring to life. We are fortunate to have an ever-growing community of passionate fans that enjoys exploring the Avatarverse as much as we do.”

About the ‘Avatarverse’

“Avatar” is a Peabody award-winning series that ran on Nickelodeon for three seasons between 2005 and 2008. The animated show takes place in a world where humans have power to control the elements (air, fire, earth and water), and its story centers around a young hero named Aang who, with help from a few friends, is tasked with saving the planet from certain destruction.

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Entertainment Weekly reports that the series is acclaimed for its “storytelling, world-building influenced by Asian and Native cultures, and handling of darker subjects like misogyny and imperialism.” After the success of “Avatar,” a sequel series titled “The Legend of Korra” aired on Nickelodeon in 2012 and ran for four seasons.

Both “Avatar” and “Korra” were added to Netflix in 2020 which prompted the series’ reentry into the pop culture zeitgeist. Forbes reports that “Avatar” spent several months on Netflix’s Top 10 between May and July of last year. The show is currently the twelfth highest-rated TV program on IMDb.

Other ‘Avatar’ projects

According to Entertainment Weekly, Netflix started developing a reimagined live action series of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” with DiMartino and Konietzko in 2018, but the duo stepped away from the Netflix project in August stating they lost control of its creative direction.

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In 2010, M. Night Shyamalan directed a live-action film titled “The Last Airbender” based on the animated series. The film received a dismal 5% critics score on the movie review site Rotten Tomatoes, earned the Razzie award for “Worst Picture” the year of its release and, according to ScreenRant, is widely considered one of the worst movies of all time. 

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