Avatar: The Last Airbender is an iconic cartoon series. It follows the journey of Aang, Sokka, and Katara, who attempt to save the world from the Fire Nation as they embark on heroic quests. As fans will remember, a few years ago, we watched a horrible live-action version of the series in theaters. It failed dramatically and left a bitter taste in every fan’s mouth.
However, it’s recently been announced that another TV version of The Last Airbender, led by the original creators, is headed to Netflix.
“We’re thrilled for the opportunity to helm this live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender,” said creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. “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.”
Can the streaming giant pull off what its predecessor couldn’t? We’ve put together a list of must-sees from the new version of the series.
First, for those unfamiliar, watch the trailer for the film:
1. More accurate depictions of the series’s characters
M. Night Shyamalan’s 2010 film fell short in this area.
Katara was no longer the bad ass water bender who fought against gender constraints and misogyny to prove herself as a warrior and leader.
Sokka was no longer funny at all, which was arguably the most important aspect of his character on the show. His humor relieved darker moments and helped Katara and Aang see the brighter side of things when all hope seemed lost.
Likewise, Aang didn’t really act like a child, even though he’s supposed to be, like, a 10-year-old.
The film couldn’t even get the main characters right.
2. Better bending skills
In the film, the Fire Nation had their power ripped away from them. Instead of having the ability to create fire, they only had the power to bend flames. How were they supposed to have taken over the world when their powers were the weakest? The Fire Nation was destructive due to their ability to create fire and destroy everything.
3. More focus on all of the characters
The movie was only about Aang’s story, but the original series was just as much about Katara and Sokka. There needs to be a balance between these characters; even though the title of the show is reliant on Aang’s existence, he would never have survived without Katara and Sokka’s guidance. Each of these three deserve the same amount of attention and respect.
4. A truly diverse cast
Perhaps the most infuriating thing about the film was its lack of diversity. So many characters were white-washed when, in reality, Katara and Sokka are Inuit and many of the other characters were of races that were completely disregarded.
The original show was so diverse and welcoming to all, but the film drastically changed this and made it yet another story about white people. Don’t we have enough of those? The lore of The Last Airbender is Asian, so let’s acknowledge the cultures of the people represented by this fantastic story.
5. Please just honor the original
So many aspects of the original Airbender story were modified to fit the director (Shyamalan), but with the creators of the original series on track to lead the Netflix series, I have hope this version will turn out great. I’d like to see a respectful reimagination of the original. Maybe this version will be even better because the creators will have a chance to fix any mistakes they might have made in the cartoon.
The Last Airbender is a special story to so many. Let’s hope a streaming giant like Netflix will allow more freedom.
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