Avatar Fans Disappointed By Netflix Looking Forward To Next Year

By Jacob VanGundy | Published

The first season of the Netflix adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender has come and gone, with some fans enjoying it and others finding it disappointing. Fortunately, for those who found the adaptation underwhelming, an animated Avatar movie with the original show’s creators overseeing its production is set to be released in 2025. The movie will be the first of several projects under the Avatar Studios production company established in 2021. 

Netflix’s Avatar Compared To The Original

While not the disaster of the 2010 live-action Avatar movie, the Netflix adaptation has received a mixed reception. It has a 59 percent rating among critics on Rotten Tomatoes with a 75 percent audience score, whereas the original show’s Rotten Tomatoes scores are near perfect, with 100 percent among critics and 99 percent among fans. It’s not that the live-action version is an awful show, it’s that it doesn’t live up to the high standard set by the animated show.

Behind The Scenes Drama

For those who followed the behind-the-scenes stories from the Netflix version of Avatar during its production, it’s hard not to think that the most contentious changes in the show could have been avoided with further involvement from the original show’s creators. There was early excitement for the live-action show when it was announced that Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino would be involved, but that optimism faded when they left the project mid-production. It’s hard to imagine they would have sanctioned flattening Sokka’s character arc or the changes to “The Cave of Two Lovers.” 

A New Animated Movie

The, currently untitled, Avatar movie from Avatar Studios will follow the original show’s characters like Aang, Sokka, Katara, Zuko, and Toph setting it in between Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. Unlike the Netflix adaptation, this movie will likely be inside of the continuity of the original show and its sequel series instead of establishing a new universe. By telling a new story with familiar characters in an established world, it can build on the reputation of the original instead of trying to recreate the plot. 

A Sequel Film

It’s obvious that fans of Avatar want more from that universe and to see more of the characters they love. A movie following the original cast is a better way to meet those needs than the Netflix adaptation. The movie can pick up the threads of the original, continuing character arcs and continuing to fill out an already developed world, much like other movie sequels to series such as El Camino and Breaking Bad.

Fans Love The Animation

Returning to an animated medium is also a huge win for many fans of the original Avatar: The Last Airbender, which was praised for its incredible visual style. While the Netflix adaptation did a decent job of recreating bending effects in a live-action show, there are limits to what visual effects can do with real actors compared to high-quality animation. For many, a live-action Avatar is going to miss a key element of what made the original great.

There’s Always Next Year

The Netflix version of Avatar: The Last Airbender disappointed many fans, but the possibility for a great new Avatar story is coming next year. With the original creators directly involved and a return to animation, the upcoming movie shows a lot of promise. With any luck that will just be the start as multiple unannounced projects from Studio Avatar are in the works.