People of the four nations, celebrate! After Netflix outraged fans of Nickelodeon’s classic series Avatar: The Last Airbender by making drastic changes to their planned live-action film based on the show, Nickelodeon has announced the launch of Avatar Studios, a new division within the company set to create original content spanning animated series and movies based on the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender and its spinoff, The Legend of Korra.
The best part of the news is that Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, who were the original creators and executive producers of the shows, will lead the new studio as co-chief creative officers, months after the duo left Netflix’s planned Avatar: The Last Airbender film citing creative differences. In a statement to EW, DiMartino and Konietzko promised to expand the world of the original series in new and exciting ways.
“It’s hard to believe it’s been 19 years since we created Avatar: The Last Airbender. But even after all that time, there are still many stories and time periods in Aang’s world that we are eager to bring to life. We are fortunate to have an ever-growing community of passionate fans that enjoys exploring the Avatarverse as much as we do. And with this new Avatar Studios venture we have an unparalleled opportunity to develop our franchise and its storytelling on a vast scale, in myriad exciting ways and mediums.”
The original Avatar: The Last Airbender show told the story of a world where humanity has split into four nations named after water, earth, fire, and air. Each nation has “benders” that can manipulate the element of their people. The only one who can bend all four elements is the mythical “Avatar”, a being who is reincarnated again and again over centuries, and tasked with keeping the peace between the four nations.
When a young child named Aang discovers he is destined to become the new Avatar, he initially runs away from the responsibility, but eventually grows to accept his role, and sets out on a journey to master the four elements, while also preventing a coup by the fire nation with the aid of his friends. The show’s complex mythology was one of the reasons for its immense popularity over two decades. According to DiMartino and Konietzko, they have been given full freedom by Nickelodeon to take the Avatar mythology in even more ambitious directions with future projects.
“We are exceedingly grateful to [Nickelodeon president] Brian Robbins and [president of Nickelodeon Animation] Ramsey Naito for their enthusiasm and respect for the Avatar property and us as its stewards. From the start, they’ve supported our ambitious plans and created a positive, proactive environment for us. We’re excited to be back at Nickelodeon where Avatar began, doing what we do best in the biggest way possible. We can’t wait to build the great teams and productions to make all of this fantasy a reality.”
Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra are available to stream now on Netflix. EW first revealed this scoop.