Water, earth, fire, live-action Netflix adaptation?

Monika Song looks at whether or not a live action Avatar series is really what the world needs right now

Monika Song
24th July 2020
The original Avatar has already proven its worth but can Netflix’s live-action reboot live up to the legacy?
Credit: IMDb

Earlier this year Netflix released a series of productions related to the Avatar universe. The original series Avatar: The Last Airbender (ATLA) was made available in May along with the live-action film adaptation from 2010. The streaming platform has also announced that the popular spin-off series The Legend of Korra will be available later this August. 

There is no doubt that these series revivals serve to generate interest for Netflix's own take on the Nickelodeon animated series. In 2018, they announced the production of a live-action TV show. With the bad taste of the live-action film still in the mouth of many, it is difficult to muster any pleasant anticipation for this show.

Is the world ready yet for another Avatar?

The first live-action attempt was a huge disappointment in almost every imaginable way

Credit: IMDb

It has been ten years since the first attempt at a live-action production was made. The film was a huge disappointment in almost every imaginable way. The main characters were whitewashed to the point of being unrecognisable. One cannot fathom why a remake of an animated series based on Asian characters would not cast any Asian actors and actresses. The only Asian characters were placed in the margins to be rescued by the white heroes. Had it been a few years earlier, they probably would not even have bothered with casting any non-white characters.

However, there is still a great ray of hope left for the new adaptation. This time it will be produced by the original creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino. Not only have they assured  “a culturally appropriate, non-whitewashed cast” but also a reimagined concept of Avatar. Unlike the botched movie, they have promised more in-depth take on the characters and the Avatar universe.

We can only hope this second attempt at a live-action adaptation does the original justice.

Like the original animated series, there will be three seasons which certainly gives the writers more chance in developing a continuous storyline than the rushed three films (of which two never made it!). Those who have seen the live-action film might remember the rushed ingenuine conversations and the many, many plot holes. We can only hope this second attempt at live-action does not miss the opportunity of recreating real-life emotions and using good special effects and do justice to its source material.

But no matter what, it cannot be worse than the 2010 film.

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