Avatar: The Last Airbender is having quite the resurgence of late. After the original, animated show came out more than 15 years ago, it only seems to be increasing in popularity. That’s led to more programs and movies in development on multiple streaming platforms. So it’s maybe going to start getting a little confusing about which version of The Last Airbender is happening where. It looks like the Netflix live-action show is set to try to distinguish itself from the animated version. According to insider Daniel Richtman Netflix is trying to make a “darker, mature and sexier” production. I suppose with that in mind, we’ll clearly be able to see the differences.
Right now, Avatar: The Last Airbender is gearing up for two remakes/reboots. The one on Netflix is going to be a live-action version that will follow the adventures, presumably, of the titular character Aang. Making a live-action version has been in the works for the platform for a number of years now with multiple starts and stops. From this latest news, it very much appears they are still in the planning stages if they are still working on the overall tone of the show.
Other than this recent rumor about how the direction of Avatar: The Last Airbender will be shaped, not really all that much is known about the show. Early on, there was significant excitement over the production because the original creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko were on board to be showrunners. This was going to lend continuity from the original and bring their singular vision that made the animated series such a popular show then and even now. But the two left the Netflix production over creative differences and actually just signed on with Paramount+. That deal will have them expanding the animated universe through a number of movies and shows. They are going the full franchise route on the new platform.
This news has left the Netflix production of Avatar: The Last Airbender in a little bit of limbo. Without the two main creatives, they haven’t yet signed on new voices to helm the show. It’s clear though that whoever takes the mantle will be tasked with clearly separating the live-action version from whatever appears on Paramount+. It stands to reason that the latter will closely resemble the original, making this Netflix rumor line up with a pivot in overall tone.
We do already have an Avatar: The Last Airbender live-action version in the books already. And it nearly submarined the franchise completely. The 2010 M. Night Shymalan production was able to double up its $150 million operating budget with over $300 million at the box office. But critically, it was a total bomb, scoring a comically-low 5% on Rotten Tomatoes. It failed to convert the animated version into a robust film franchise.
But Netflix has seen solid returns on Avatar: The Last Airbender since they began airing the original series, leading to renewed interest all around for the franchise. That’s why Paramount+ is on board with a big investment and why Netflix wants to bring about a live-action version. The latter appears very much in the development mire though maybe beginning to work out the general tone will help spur some movement on that end.