The creators of Nickelodeon’s iconic classic, “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko have exited Netflix’s upcoming live-action adaptation. The duo was working as executive producers and show-runners on the series which was announced in 2018. That is, before today.
“Bryan Konietzko and I made the difficult decision to leave the production”
DiMartino announced the news on Wednesday morning in an open letter on his social media.
“Many of you have been asking me for updates about the ‘Avatar’ live-action Netflix series,” DiMartino wrote. “I can finally tell you that I am no longer involved with the project. In June of this year, after two years of development work, Bryan Konietzko and I made the difficult decision to leave the production.”
“When Bryan and I signed on to the project in 2018, we were hired as executive producers and show-runners. In a joint announcement for the series, Netflix said that it was committed to honoring our vision for this retelling. And to supporting us on creating the series. We expressed how excited we were for the opportunity to be at the helm. Unfortunately, things did not go as we had hoped,” DiMartino said in his open letter.
“Even an Air Nomad knows when it’s time to cut their losses and move on”
“Look, things happen. Productions are challenging. Unforeseen events arise. Plans have to change. And when those things have happened at other points during my career, I try to be like an Air Nomad and adapt. I do my best to go with the flow, no matter what obstacle is put in my way. But even an Air Nomad knows when it’s time to cut their losses and move on.”
Fortunately, DiMartino reassured fans that he is still involved in the “Avatar” universe. Which has seen renewed interest since “The Last Airbender” became available on Netflix. With “Legend of Korra” set to join it this week.
Is the project still moving forward?
DiMartino went on to note that Netflix’s adaptation has “the potential to be good.” However, he stressed that, whatever happens with the series, it wouldn’t be what he and Konietzko “had envisioned or intended to make.” He stated that the decision was the hardest professional decision he had ever made. But said it was “necessary for my happiness and creative integrity.”
According to an individual with knowledge of the situation, the project is still moving forward at Netflix. With Nickelodeon, Dan Lin, and Lin’s company Rideback still attached.
“We have complete respect and admiration for Michael and Bryan and the story that they created in the ‘Avatar’ animated series.” A Netflix spokesperson said in a statement. “Although they have chosen to depart the live-action project, we are confident in the creative team and their adaptation.”
Sources close to production revealed that there had been creative differences. Between the duo, Netflix and other individuals involved in the project over how to best adapt the animated series into a live-action show.
Avatar, Legend of Korra and M Night Shyamalan’s adaptation
The live-action version of the hit Nickelodeon animated series was first ordered at Netflix in September 2018. The animated version aired for three seasons on Nickelodeon. From February 2005 to July 2008. The series received substantial acclaim during its run, picking up multiple Annie Awards, Genesis Awards. A Primetime Emmy Award, and a Peabody Award. The series followed main protagonist, Aang and his friends, who must save the world by defeating Fire Lord, Ozai. And ending the destructive war with the Fire Nation. A total of 61 episodes aired. It’s sequel series, “Legend of Korra,” aired for four seasons from 2012-2014.
The TV series was also adapted for the big screen. Director, M Night Shyamalan brought it to life in 2010 but the film bombed at the box office. Critics had also slammed the film for its plot, screenplay, and acting but most notably for whitewashing the characters.