by Sebastian Guccione
Earlier this month, Paramount launched its streaming platform, Paramount +, and to help promote it, they invested in an entire studio dedicated to creating content in the Avatar: The Last Airbender world. Paramount and Nickelodeon, the network that ran the original show and owns the rights to it, are sister companies that are both owned by ViacomCBS, meaning Paramount + will have Avatar content exclusive to its streaming platform. This could potentially be a big deal for the company. Both the original series and its spinoff, The Legend of Korra, when licensed to Netflix, rose to the #1 most watched show on the platform, showing that even though Avatar first debuted in 2005, interest in it is still stronger than ever.
More good news for Avatar fans is that both of the original creators of The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra are going to be spearheading the studio as executive producers. This may come as a relief to some fans, especially since the last Avatar project that was announced before Avatar Studios was a live-action series created by Netflix, which the creators were initially a big part of but have since parted ways with, citing a lack of creative control as their reason. As of now, the series has not been canceled and will continue to fruition.
However, fan response online has been cynical towards Netflix and for good reason. The Avatar world does not have a great track record with live action projects created without the original producers of the show. The 2010 M. Night Shyamalan live action adaptation, The Last Airbender, is considered one of the worst films of all time with a 5% on Rotten Tomatoes. It was so bad that it became a meme, and the joke is that fans of the show refuse to acknowledge its existence. Between a white-washed cast, awful editing, and changing the main character’s name and signature tattoos, the film could not have been a bigger bust. It also showed there would be huge challenges to adapting the animated show into live action.
Fans can rest assured that the new Avatar Studios will be producing exclusively animated content. The first project scheduled to release is an animated film, which is expected to be followed by a wide range of content, including a new series. While we do not yet know the specifics of if the new content will feature old characters, take place in the time before the original show, adapt the comic books that accompany the series, or be something entirely different within the Avatar world, the signs all point to Avatar Studios being very promising.