The beloved Nickelodeon cartoon series Avatar: The Last Airbender is getting another reincarnation: this time as a live-action series at Netflix. The original creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko are attached as executive producers and showrunners, and are promising to do this one right–with some pointed commentary at the 2010 live-action film.
“We’re thrilled for the opportunity to helm this live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender,” DiMartino and Konietzko said in the announcement. “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. 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.”
That statement is a not-too-subtle jab at the M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender, which was criticized in part for a whitewashed cast. The movie was generally panned for more than just casting problems, though, and was widely criticized for an overstuffed story and stiff, languid action sequences–a far cry from the fluid martial artistry depicted in the animated series.
Avatar: The Last Airbender premiered on Nickelodeon in 2005 and ran for three seasons, gaining a passionate fanbase. It followed the adventures of Aang, the latest incarnation of the legendary Avatar–the one being on the planet who could master all four essential elements. He emerged to a world that had been ravaged by war, including a violent purge of his own people, the Airbenders. It was followed by a sequel series, The Legend of Korra, which featured a fiery young woman as the new Avatar reincarnation after Aang passed away. The series has also spawned a wide variety of graphic novels and an upcoming young-adult novel.