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Lebanon Trail High School News

The Vanguard

Lebanon Trail High School News

The Vanguard

Everything you should know for the upcoming Netflix Adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender


In the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender, nations are divided into the four elements—Fire, Air, Water, and Earth. Historically, Avatars were in charge of maintaining the peace between the nations. However, after a tragic event, Aang—our protagonist—disappeared from the face of the earth. Taking advantage of his absence, the Fire Nation launched an attack, setting off their century-long campaign to achieve worldwide dominance. Consequently, the show, written by Michael Dante DiMartino, Aaron Ehasz, Bryan Konietzko, and John O’Bryan, follows our long-lost master of all four elements as he makes his grand reappearance and undertakes a mystic quest to save the world from the grips of war and death.


The original show aired on Feb. 21st, 2005, on Nickelodeon and quickly gained a large and supportive fanbase, reaching international status as the episodes got translated into different languages. Due to the show’s immense success, Paramount Pictures co-produced and distributed a live-action film written by M. Night Shyamalan. Live-action adaptations have an infamous reputation of being exceptionally good at disappointing fans, so the ATLA (Avatar: The Last Airbender) fandom was immediately skeptical and weary. 


However, despite the fans’ skepticism, development for the movie started in January 2007, and the casting and pre-production process happened in 2008. The movie’s cast, which consisted of Noah Ringer as Aang, Dev Patel as Prince Zuko, Nicola Peltz as Katara, and Jackson Rathbone as Sokka, was a topic of much controversy for the fans. Firstly, there was a lot of discourse over the complete disregard for the characters’ backgrounds during the casting process, seeing as white actors were cast to play Asian characters, and Indian and Iranian actors portrayed the villains of the story. Rightfully, the general dislike of these casting decisions was a major indicator to the fans that the film would most likely not meet expectations and tarnish the story’s true essence. 


As production moved forward and clips and teasers were revealed, distaste and anger grew amongst the fandom. There were many reasons for the fans to be disappointed, ranging from the story-line to special effects, and when the movie premiered on June 30, 2010, fans—or at least the people that were still watching the movie—had their first and final glimpse at M. Night Shyamalan’s horrendous attempt to bring the beloved story to the big screen. 


After the disastrous movie, ATLA fans were content with simply rewatching the cartoon and reading the comics. It wasn’t until September of 2018, when Netflix announced that they would be making another adaptation, that fans heard anything in regards to another live-action. However, due to the lackluster interpretation of the 2010 film, fans were not holding their breath after Netflix’s announcement. 


Production for the show was set to begin in 2019 with the series’ original creators, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, as executive producers and showrunners. However, after several disagreements with the studio, they both decided to step down from the project, leaving it in the hands of Albert Kim. Nevertheless, before their departure, both men had promised to conduct proper and culturally aware casting for the show, meaning that they would not repeat the same awful mistake of white-washing the characters this time around. Consecutively, in August of 2021, Gordon Cormier, Kiawentiio, Ian Ousley, and Dallas Liu were chosen to interpret Aang, Katara, Sokka, and Zuko respectively. Albert Kim, who is also a writer for the show, said it was a “chance to showcase Asian and Indigenous characters as living, breathing people. Not just in a cartoon, but in a world that truly exists, very similar to the one we live in.” Throughout the latter half of 2021, other actors and actresses joined the project to interpret the rest of the show’s characters. Lastly, production and filming finally began on Nov. 16th, 2021, in Vancouver, Canada. 


Fans got a first glimpse of the show at Netflix’s Tudum fan event in June 2023, where they released some pictures of the four main characters—Aang, Katara, Sokka, and Zuko—and a teaser that featured the four elements. 


Now, only days before the show’s premiere on Feb. 22nd, 2024, fans are on the edge of their seats as they wait to see the end product of years worth of work and dedication, wondering if this live-action will do our beloved “Gaang” justice.  


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About the Contributor
Carmen Laveglia Marin
Carmen Laveglia Marin, Staff Reporter
Carmen, a senior, loves to read and write books. She has enjoyed writing- especially fantasy- since she was eight, and she couldn’t wait to join Newspaper when she heard about it. Carmen also wants to pursue journalism in college, so she believes that Newspaper is the perfect opportunity for her. She also likes to practice her theatre scenes in her free time.
Contact Info - [email protected]

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