Here’s What I Would Like To See In the Netflix Live-Action Adaption of Avatar: The Last Airbender

Netflix recently confirmed that they would be taking on the project of adapting the beloved cartoon of our childhood into a live-action series.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Why would they even think about doing another live-action remake after the disaster that was the 2010 M. Night Shyamalan The Last Airbender movie? Listen, I got questions too. But there may be some hope after all. The original writers of the show Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko have confirmed that they will be executive producers in this adaption.

Avatar: The Last Airbender which first premiered on Nickelodeon in 2005 tells the tale of a boy named Aang who takes on the role of being the Avatar; an individual who has the ability to control all four elements (Water, Earth, Fire and Air). Together with his comrades, Aang will save the world from the reign of the Fire Nation.

Shyamalan’s film was heavily criticized for its awful narrative, its sloppy use of special effects, the disinterested actors, and most importantly, the casting choices. Although there is no solid evidence that states that anyone in the Avatar universe is considered Asian, it is evident that the general themes, characters, and the world are inspired by Asia. For example, it is widely accepted that the Fire Nation is a Japanese-inspired culture with minor inspiration from Chinese and Korean culture. Despite the heavy Asian-influenced cast of characters in the cartoon, most of the movie’s cast was of Caucasian descent. This sparked a lot of backlash as many noted that there were not many Western-influenced cultures in the Avatar universe that would justify the mostly Caucasian cast. It was notoriously a horrible movie.

Not to fret though, DiMartino and Konietzko are playing a huge role in the casting process and making careful choices to ensure to prevent the “white-washing of the cast”.

And with that, most people like to forget about the movie, sweeping it under the rug. However, when the announcement came up for the new live-action adaptation, there were mixed reactions. There were feelings of confusion, disgust, and even excitement to see that their favourite show finally has some life again.

Despite this though, I am still thrilled that Avatar is still alive and kicking! This live action is an excellent opportunity to improve on the base series and elaborate on everyone’s back-stories. Here’s what I would like to see in the new live-action series. Be aware there are spoilers for the series.

1. Airbenders

In the series, we never see the Air Nomads (due to them being destroyed by the Fire Nation 100 years before) aside from Aang’s memories of his mentors and his friends. It would be really nice if we can get some lore on the air nomads as to how they lived, and although it was elaborated outside of the show, how someone can get that cool arrow tattoo.

2. Katara and Sokka’s Mother

I would really love to see the relationship between Katara and Sokka’s mother Kya, and her children. It is evident that she loved Katara wholeheartedly, (because she basically sacrificed herself for Katara so the Fire Nation raiders wouldn’t kill her) but we never see her relationship with Sokka. I would love to see the family dynamic between their father, and mother; the peaceful times before the fire nation wreaked havoc on their village.

3. Zuko’s Mother

Yes, there is a whole graphic novels series about Zuko finding his mother and reconciling with her. BUT she’s only in a handful of scenes in the entire series, and it was kind of left open-ended ESPECIALLY in the ending when Zuko was confronting his father. Maybe they could integrate the graphic novels in the live-action somehow?

4. Aang’s Parents

Okay, so I’m just listing people’s parents. But that’s how much we need to elaborate on these characters! We NEVER see Aang’s parents in his flashbacks. Where did they go? Do they even exist? I think it’s important for Aang’s development to look into his childhood was to see who raised him (although he was mainly raised by the monks).

5. The Dai Li

Avatar Kyoshi created the Dai Li for the sole purpose of protecting Earth Kingdom citizens from the corruption of the outside world. Over time, it became more about controlling the minds of its citizens rather than protecting them from harm. I’m really interested in seeing the history of the Dai Li, and how they became corrupt.

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