Netflix has announced it is reviving the popular Nickelodeon animated show “Avatar: The Last Airbender” as a live-action series. Original creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko will serve as showrunners and executive producers of the live-action program, which is set to begin production in 2019.
“Avatar: The Last Airbender” debuted on Nickelodeon in February 2005 and ran for three seasons, ending in July 2008. The series follows the adventures of Aang, an “airbender” who is capable of manipulating all four elements. Aang teams up with two friends, Katara and Sokka, on a mission to defeat the Fire Nation.
“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,” DiMartino and Konietzko said in a statement. “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 showrunners’ promise not to whitewash the live-action cast comes eight years after M. Night Shyamalan’s 2010 movie adaptation infamously cast white actors such as Nicola Peltz and Jackson Rathbone as characters of Asian descent. Shyamalan’s “The Last Airbender” is commonly referenced in discussions of Hollywood’s whitewashing problem.
Netflix’s “Avatar” is being produced in partnership with Nickelodeon. The series kicks off production next year. Check out concept art for the series below.