Netflix is hoping to do what M. Night Shyamalan couldn’t: make a decent live-action version of Avatar: The Last Airbender.
NIckelodeon’s animated series was widely critically acclaimed, but Shyamalan’s big-screen adaption, less so. Netflix’s take, however, looks a lot more promising, mainly because it has the original showrunners on board as executive producers.
The Last Airbender tells the story of a young boy named Aang who has to learn to control the four elements and rally four nations of elemental warriors to defeat a tyrannical villain.
As well as a clunky plot and dialogue and not being faithful to the cartoon, Shyamalan’s cinematic take on the show was criticised for ‘whitewashing’ (i.e. having Asian characters largely played by white actors). Which is something the new version’s creators are keen to avoid.
“We’re thrilled for the opportunity to helm this live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender,” they said in a statement. “We can’t wait to realise 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.”
Production will start next year.