Update (5:30 p.m. ET): Netflix has issued a statement with regards to original series creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko’s decision to exit the streamer’s upcoming Avatar: The Last Airbender adaptation.
Earlier today (August 12), original Avatar: The Last Airbender series creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko revealed to fans far and wide that they had made the difficult decision to exit the highly anticipated live-action series adaptation coming down the pipeline at Netflix.
Now, Netflix has issued a statement with regards to DiMartino and Konietzko’s decision to depart from the project.
“We have complete respect and admiration for Michael and Bryan and the story that they created in the Avatar animated series,” a Netflix spokesperson told Hypable. “Although they have chosen to depart the live action project, we are confident in the creative team and their adaptation.”
Though the original series creators have departed from the Netflix adaptation due to creative differences, Netflix still plans to move forward with their planned live-action series.
Despite DiMartino and Konietzko’s exit, Nickelodeon, Dan Lin, and the team at Rideback remain on board behind the scenes on the project.
Original Story (3:47 p.m., ET):
The planned live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series coming down the pipeline at Netflix will have to move on without original series creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko.
In separate statements sent out on Wednesday (August 12), Michael DiMartino and Brian Konietzko revealed that they have both chosen to part ways with Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series.
That both DiMartino and Konietzko will no longer be involved is bad news in and of itself for fans of the beloved Nickelodeon animated series.
To make matters worse, in separate statements, both original series creators revealed that they chose to walk away from the project because they didn’t feel as though their vision for the live-action adaptation was being supported by the online streaming giant.
“When Bryan and I signed on to the project in 2018, we were hired as executive producers and showrunners,” wrote DiMartino via his website. “In a joint announcement for the series, Netflix said that it was committed to honoring our vision for this retelling and to supporting us on creating the series. And we expressed how excited we were for the opportunity to be at the helm. Unfortunately, things did not go as we had hoped.”
DiMartino went on to explain that the decision to leave after two years of trying to work with Netflix on the adaptation was a difficult one to make. Ultimately, it seems as though it came down to some pretty major creative differences.
“I realized I couldn’t control the creative direction of the series, but I could control how I responded,” continued DiMartino. “So, I chose to leave the project. It was the hardest professional decision I’ve ever had to make, and certainly not one that I took lightly, but it was necessary for my happiness and creative integrity.”
Meanwhile, Konietzko took to Instagram to share his own statement in which the series creator expanded on why things didn’t work out.
“When Netflix brought me on board to run this series alongside Mike two years ago, they made a very public promise to support our vision. Unfortunately, there was no follow-through on that promise,” wrote Konietzko. “Though I got to work with some great individuals both on Netflix’s side and on our own small development team, the general handling of the project created what I felt was a negative and unsupportive environment.”
Though both DiMartino and Konietzko have chosen to walk away, both showrunners left Avatar: The Last Airbender fans with a glimmer of hope in their statements, saying that it’s still possible that the team they’ve left behind will be able to create something both new and old fans can enjoy.
Regardless, today’s news is a huge blow to the fanbase. Especially given that this isn’t the first time an adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender has gone astray.
Many might recall M. Night Shyamalan’s disastrous 2010 live-action take, ridiculed by fans and critics alike for its poor adaptation of the source material, its shoddy CGI work, and its white washing of the characters.
When Netflix first announced plans to create an Avatar: The Last Airbender live-action series back in 2018, many were cautiously optimistic that perhaps this was a chance for a studio to do right by the source material. That optimism was, of course, fueled by Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko’s involvement with the project.
Now that both original series creators have walked away, it’s understandable that many will likely be worried that whatever Netflix does manage to create won’t do the original series justice.
Either way, it looks as though Avatar: The Last Airbender will just have to wait and see, and hope for the best at this point.