Netflix has announced that the animated series “Avatar: The Last Airbender” will be reimagined as a live-action series exclusively for the streaming giant. Production is expected to commence next year.
The story is set in a world divided into four nations — the Water Tribe, the Earth Kingdom, the Fire Nation, and the Air Nomads — each represented by a natural element for which the nation is named.
Benders have the ability to control and manipulate the element from their nation. Only the young Avatar is the master of all four elements. The ruthless Fire Nation wants to conquer the world but the only bender who has enough power, the Avatar, has disappeared … until now.
Co-creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko will return to oversee the live-action series based on the Nickelodeon cartoon which ran for 61 episodes from 2005 to 2008. In a statement to The Wrap, DiMartino and Konietzko say:
“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. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to build upon everyone’s great work on the original animated series and go even deeper into the characters, story, action, and world-building. Netflix is wholly dedicated to manifesting our vision for this retelling, and we’re incredibly grateful to be partnering with them.”
The property was adapted into a $150 million live-action film in 2010 by filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan. That movie earned over $319 million but was met with incredibly bad reviews (6% on Rotten Tomatoes) and a whitewashing controversy.