After many cycles of rumors and whispers and negotiations, Netflix officially announced that it will be adapting Nickelodeon classic and Asian-inspired cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender into a live action series!
Understandably, fans of the franchise were extremely concerned that the project could devolve into a similar disaster as M. Night Shyamalan’s disastrous 2010 interpretation, which saw multiple characters of color cast with white performers.
The original series imagines a world of elemental nations with each drawing on real life inspirations from cultures of color. For example, the Earth Kingdom has many parallels to Imperial China’s dynasties in the way of architecture, history, and several characters. The Shymalan version managed to reduce the entire Earth Kingdom to non-speaking extras.
The finished project had both longtime fans and newer audiences angry and biting with the film receiving an absolutely abysmal 6% on review collecting site Rotten Tomatoes. All agreed that it was one of the worst movies of the year and that casting those white actors was totally not worth it.
This time, the original series’ creators promise to be playing a much bigger role to make sure things stay both faithful and not racist. In a post Crazy Rich Asians world, anything can happen after all!
Releasing an official statement, Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko announced the project and promised that it would not commit the crimes of its predecessor. The duo did not hold back in their scathing criticism for the Shymalan spin on it either.
We’re thrilled for the opportunity to helm this live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender. We can’t wait to realize Aang’s world as cinematically as we always imagined it to be, and with a culturally appropriate, non-whitewashed cast.
Now, the talent search is beginning, and something tells me one won’t need to look in an iceberg to find gifted Asian performers.