Netflix’s Avatar: Will it hold up?

Aang with his pet Appa, as seen in the 2007 series.

Photo by Nickelodeon

Aang with his pet Appa, as seen in the 2007 series.

Sage Ye, Staff Writer

“Water. Earth. Fire. Air. Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony. Then, everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked.” This line may ring a bell to many people. Avatar, the Last Airbender is a 2000s cartoon, its title presenting nostalgia for young adults growing up during that time. Over the summer, Netflix decided to stream the series on its platform, and plans to make their own live action version of the beloved show. 

Avatar is an animated show that debuted on Nickelodeon in February 2005 and ended in July 2008. It takes inspiration from Japanese anime, and is preceded by the sequel series, Legend of Korra. The show itself follows the story of a young boy named Aang, who goes on a journey with his friends to end a war. Aang is an Avatar, a title given to one individual who can control the elements of water, earth, fire, and air.

The series, which has only grown in popularity since Netflix made it available to a large audience, has amassed tens of millions of fans worldwide. This has brought the series a lot of new attention, and earned itself a significant name in television pop culture. The show itself has gotten extremely positive reviews from both audiences and critics alike, earning itself a 9.2/10 IMDB score as well as 100 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. 

While the series itself has gotten great reviews, recent news on the new Netflix live action series has found some fans concerned and the news received negative feedback from a large number of the audience. Multiple sources state that Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, two of the creators behind the original series, have stepped off the production of the live action Netflix adaptation due to ‘creative differences.’ This evidently angered some fans, as it could prove that this new series will have an unfaithful adaptation. 

Fans compared it to the movie, The Last Airbender, made in 2010 and directed by M. Night Shamylan, with a similar live action approach to remaking the cartoon. This movie, however, turned out to be a total misstep, as it earned a massive amount of negative reviews and overall a disappointment to the fanbase of the original cartoon. In light of the recent news, fans have anticipated similar mistakes to be made in the upcoming Netflix live action remake. 

In general, fans are not excited. “I watched (the original cartoon) a while ago, so I didn’t remember much, only that it was really fun and exciting to watch,” said Tory Welch, a Junior here at LFA. “But I really don’t think the new one will be that great, but I’m hoping for the best.” 

Critics of the upcoming series mostly looked at the firing of the two original creators of the show. Tyler Madeley, faculty at LFA, had begun watching the Avatar over the summer, and is almost finished. “I think that the original creators created one of the most popular, most entertaining, and most thorough cartoons ever, and the fact that they stepped away from this show or were fired tells me it’s not going to be great.” Madeley said. 

The overall attitude of fans towards the upcoming show has been doubtful and unfavorable. However, some fans who have been watching the show due to boredom and anticipating new related content also have been optimistic in hoping that whatever Netflix has in store for them can take a different direction than the original show and still have its own shining qualities.