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‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ fans are calling for Netflix to cancel the live-action remake. Here’s why

The show’s original creators, who were signed on as executive producers for the new Netflix series, announced on Wednesday that they would no longer be involved because of creative differences

20180918 Concept art for “Avatar: The Last Airbender”.
Concept art for a new live-action series of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” on Netflix. The creators of the original animated series, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, announced earlier this week that they will no longer be working with Netflix on the live-action series. However, Netflix says they will continue developing the series with a new showrunner.
John Staub

Fans of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” have already been burned once before by a live-action adaptation that went awry. Now, fans of the hit animated series are calling on Netflix to cancel its plans for a new live-action series remake, according to CNN.

What’s going on?

  • Netflix announced that a live-action remake of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” was in the works in 2018, as the Deseret News reported at the time.
  • The creators of the original animated series — Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko — were confirmed to be involved as executive producers for the Netflix series.
  • On Wednesday of this week, DiMartino and Konietzko revealed that they have decided to leave the series, mostly due to creative differences with Netflix, according to Vox.
  • Since then, some “Avatar” fans have begun calling for a boycott of the Netflix series, and #CancelNetflixATLALiveAction was trending on Twitter on Friday.

What they’re saying

  • Konietzko wrote on Instagram: “When Netflix brought me on board to run this series alongside Mike [DiMartino] two years ago, they made a very public promise to support our vision. Unfortunately, there was no follow-through on that promise.”
  • “To be clear, this was not a simple matter of us not getting our way,” Konietzko continued. “Mike and I are collaborative people; we did not need all of the ideas to come from us. As long as we felt those ideas were in line with the spirit and integrity of ‘Avatar,’ we would have happily embraced them. However, we ultimately came to the belief that we would not be able to meaningfully guide the direction of the series.”
  • Meanwhile, DiMartino wrote in an open letter on his blog: “I realized I couldn’t control the creative direction of the series, but I could control how I responded. So, I chose to leave the project. It was the hardest professional decision I’ve ever had to make, and certainly not one that I took lightly, but it was necessary for my happiness and creative integrity.”
  • Netflix released the following statement, according to Variety: “We have complete respect and admiration for Michael and Bryan and the story that they created in the Avatar animated series. Although they have chosen to depart the live action project, we are confident in the creative team and their adaptation.”

Some context

  • “Avatar: The Last Airbender” aired on Nickelodeon from 2005-2008, according to CNN.
  • It was critically acclaimed and received several awards during its three seasons, including a Primetime Emmy and a Peabody Award, according to Variety.
  • The show appeared on Netflix earlier this year and has seen a resurgence in popularity over the last few months, according to Vox.
  • “Avatar” already has one live-action adaptation, a 2010 film from director M. Night Shyamalan, which was widely panned by both fans and critics, Vox reported.

Why are fans so worried?

  • Some fans are concerned that the new Netflix series, without the involvement of DiMartino and Konietzko, will follow in the footsteps of the Shyamalan movie, according to Vox.
  • When DiMartino and Konietzko first signed on to the project, they had promised fans that they would fix some of the problems of the movie, which included ensuring that there was “a culturally-appropriate, non-whitewashed cast,” according to Entertainment Weekly.
  • “The movie already showed us that Konietzko and DiMartino’s original vision — an anime-influenced story with sophisticated themes and slow, satisfying character arcs — could be jettisoned completely if the project fell into the wrong hands,” according to Vox. “Capturing the spirit of ‘Airbender’ appears to require a sensitive touch; from the sounds of the creators’ posts, it doesn’t sound like Netflix quite has that.”
  • Many fans shared their opinions on the live-action series and Konietzko and DiMartino’s departure on Twitter on Friday.