The Last Confirmed Airbender Universe – The Guilfordian


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On February 21, 2005, the world was introduced to a 12-year-old bald boy with the fate of the world in his hands.

Running for three seasons over three years, “Avatar: The Last Airbender” gained huge success. The philosophical – and at times dark – themes combined with witty humor deeply touched the audience.

“I have a deep nostalgia for it and it really changed my childhood,” said Dorian Brindle, major in forensic biology.

After the show ended, the “Avatar” universe expanded with “The Legend of Korra”, which expanded into the future with the next Avatar and included even more complex themes. Comic book series have also been released. Some followed Aang and his friends after the defeat of Firelord Ozai (the main antagonist of the series), and some told the stories of secondary characters or even previous avatars.

And of course there was the infamous 2010 live-action movie.

“It was horrible, it should never have been done,” said Zoe Wang, a sophomore at Early College Guilford.

Notorious for its terrible portrayal of the cultures the series drew inspiration from, and even worse for its acting and special effects, the film is hated by all Avatar fans. Many criticize “The Legend of Korra,” but none will praise the original action movie.

Now there’s confirmation of a new Netflix live-action series, helmed by Albert Kim. The drama surrounding this live-action project is that the series’ original executive producers, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, dropped the show due to “creative differences,” according to a blog post written by DiMartino.

Many question the series’ integrity in terms of alignment with the original series and still have reservations after the previous live-action film.

“The last live-action ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ sucked and I hated it, so if they can at least do better than that, I feel like I’ll be on board,” said Bridle.

But that’s not to say the original producers haven’t got anything else in the works. DiMartino and Konietzko will work in a new “Avatar Studios” within Paramount Plus to create three animated films, which will be released in 2024, 2025 and 2026. The first of the films was originally supposed to follow Avatar Kyoshi, but there has had rumors of the film’s plot changing to follow Gaang, Avatar Aang and his friends.

With the release of the original series at a time when many students were the target audience, Guilford College has no shortage of “ATLA” fans.

Environmental studies major Roman Robinson described it as “the greatest animated childhood show of all time”. Robinson discovered the series as a teenager during its brief stint on Netflix a few years ago.

“The show is complex enough to touch the minds of adults, but also remains simplistic enough to appeal to children,” he said.

Like many others, he’s eager to see where the new series and movies might go in terms of building on pre-existing lore.

“I’m interested to see how they’ll adapt the storyline to create a new quest and how they’ll convey the inflection of the elements visually,” Robinson said.

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