The water. Earth. Fire. Air. Although it’s been years since Netflix announced plans to adapt Avatar: The Last Airbender in a live-action series, someone has finally mastered the elements enough to bring the series to life. On Thursday, the streamer revealed the first wave of casting for the tentpole series, along with the creative team that brought it to life.
Spearhead Avatar: The Last Airbender are showrunner Albert Kim (Sleeping hollow, Nikita) and executive producers Dan Lin (Lego movie), Lindsey Liberatore (CW Walker) and Michael Goi (Swamp thing). Goi, Jabbar Raisani (Lost in space) and Roseanne Liang (Shadow in the cloud) will direct the series, with Liang also serving as a co-executive producer. Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, creators of the original series, were scheduled to reprise their roles in the new adaptation, but left the series in August 2020, saying they “would not be able to significantly guide the direction of the series. series”. (The duo are currently working on several animated Avatar projects for Nickelodeon.)
This direction appears to have been for the cast and creation team of the live-action series to better reflect the racial and ethnic origins of the characters as they are portrayed in the animated series. As Lim explained in a blog post for Netflix, “A live-action version would set a new benchmark in performance and attract a whole new generation of fans. It was an opportunity to present Asian and Indigenous characters as living and breathing people. Not just in a cartoon, but in a world that really exists, very similar to the one we live in. The show lives up to the mission statement with its core cast.
Four key roles have already been chosen for the production. Gordon Corimer, who recently appeared as Joe on CBS ‘ The stall, will play Aang, the 12-year-old Avatar thawed from a block of ice and sent on a mission to save the world. Kiawentiio (Anne with an E) and Ian Ousley (13 reasons why) will complete the community of Aang as go-getters of the Katara and Sokka Water Tribe. Following them will be the Fire Nation prince in exile, Zuko, played in the adaptation by Pen15is Dallas Liu.
In the blog post, Lim also explained why he felt compelled to accept the adaptation and the reluctance he felt to translate something as expensive as Avatar: The Last Airbender in real action, which did not go well in the past.
My first thought was, “Why? What could I do or say with the story that was not done or said in the original? A: TLA had only grown in popularity and popularity over the past fifteen years, which speaks volumes for the completeness and resonance of a storytelling experience. So if it ain’t broke, why fix it?
But the more I thought about it, the more intrigued I became. VFX technology has advanced to the point where a live-action version can not only faithfully translate what has been done in animation – it can bring a rich new visual dimension to a fantasy world. We will be able to see flexion in a real, visceral way that we have never seen before.
Additionally, Netflix’s format allowed us to reimagine a story that was originally told in standalone half-hour episodes as an ongoing serialized narrative. This meant that the story points and emotional arcs we loved in the original could have even more room to breathe and grow.
Lim also promised that “we will expand and develop the world, and there will be surprises for existing fans and those new to the story,” but said his main focus was authenticity, both by adapting the story and finding the right people to make the adaptation.
“Authenticity is what keeps us going, both in front of and behind the camera, which is why we have assembled an unprecedented team – a group of talented and passionate artists who work tirelessly to bring this rich and amazingly beautiful world to life.
Netflix hasn’t announced a release date for Avatar: The Last Airbender, but with a cast and crew on board, the show feels closer than ever.