As a collective group, fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender will never be fully free of the scar tissue left by the M. Night Shyamalan live action film from 2010, one that failed to capture a sliver of the appeal of the original animated series, and a seeming lesson that no, that should never be tried again.
That sentiment was amplified when Netflix announced they would indeed be making a live-action Last Airbender series, and though it did start with the original creators of the show onboard, they eventually left to work on new animated content for the series.
Things started to look up once casting announcements began, no longer a weirdly white-washed cast, but picking appropriate actors for the roles including many that looks stunningly like the animated versions to the point it was almost unnerving.
Now, we have our first trailer for Netflix’s The Last Airbender, which will debut in 2024, and I think, finally, fans are starting to believe. I know I am. See below:
I mean it looks…excellent. The cast is fantastic, at least in terms of visually fitting the parts, the budget appears to be as sprawling as it needs to be, and reception to the first trailer here has been overwhelmingly positive.
There’s also renewed faith that Netflix may actually get this right given the release of One Piece, another live-action anime adaptation that could have gone very wrong, but actually ended up being something that fans loved with its excellent casting and channeling of the appeal of the original series. While this isn’t the same team, it seems like Netflix as a whole may have finally learned how to do this right, and we are far from the days of awful Death Note adaptations.
If this hits, it will hit. That’s at least three seasons if it’s 1:1 from the original, though it could go longer if it’s broken up. And hell, if they can make live action Aang and company work, why not live action Korra down the road? Now we’re getting ahead of things based on a single trailer, but it really does look that promising. The source material is there, all that’s needed it a proper adaptation with the right cast and realization of the visuals and themes to make it work. The blueprint is obvious, and it feels like they are well on their way to actually getting this right. We can only hope, as the fanbase will not survive another Shyamalan incident.