Following the controversy surrounding “Avatar: The Last Airbender” film, showrunner and executive producer Albert Kim vowed that audiences will find “authenticity” in the live-action adaptation on Netflix.
“Throughout this process, our byword has been ‘authenticity.’ To the story. To the characters. To the cultural influences,” Kim said in a post on Netflix’s website.
Cast as among the four young leads are Gordon Cormier as Aang, Kiawentiio as Katara, Ian Ousley as Sokka and Dallas Liu as Zuko.
Kim stressed that the live-action version would “establish a new benchmark in representation and bring in a whole new generation of fans.”
“This 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,” he said.
“I also knew what I didn’t want to do. I didn’t want to change things for the sake of change. I didn’t want to modernize the story, or twist it to fit current trends. Aang is not going to be a gritty antihero. Katara is not going to get curtain bangs,” he added.
Fans of the classic animated series cast doubt over another attempt at retelling the adventures of Aang and his friends, especially since the 2010 movie drew flak for casting white actors in the hero roles.
“The original series is one of my favorite TV creations of all time. But pretending it didn’t have its issues with appropriation would be disrespectful to the cultures it took inspiration from. I’m excited and hopeful for this new series! Glad to see someone new taking the reins,” a Twitter user said.
“Please be good, Netflix. I still have my trauma with the movie version,” another Twitter user said.
“I sincerely hoped Netflix can give justice to it better than the movie, and I think so far, based on this cast, they are off at a pretty good start,” a user shared.
“I’m getting excited !!!!! I’ll always question what made the original creators leave this project but I’m interested enough to watch,” a user said.
Netflix first announced the news of the live-action adaptation in September 2018.
Initially, Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzo were the ATLA showrunners and executive producers, but they quit in August last year due to “creative differences.”
“What I can be certain about is that whatever version ends up on-screen, it will not be what Bryan and I had envisioned or intended to make,” DiMartino wrote in his website.
Other details about “The Last Airbender” such as the start of production and release date have yet to be revealed.
“Avatar: The Last Airbender” is a popular animated series that aired on Nickelodeon from February 2005 to July 2008.
It follows Aang and his friends as they enhance their skills and strive to end the Hundred Year War to restore peace among the four nations.