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The Latest On Shyamalan's Avatar: The Last Airbender

We haven’t heard much about M. Night Shyamalan’s proposed live adaptation of the anime series Avatar: The Last Airbender for some time now. Actually, Airbender news seemed to stop flowing at precisely the same time Night finally managed to talk someone into financing the movie he really wanted to be doing: The Happening. Apparently though, The Last Airbender is not a dead project.

Tonight I received a cryptic email from a guy who seems as if he’s claiming to be someone close to the production.. Since it’s Friday night and everyone with any sense is out getting hammered and staying that way through the rest of the weekend, it is impossible for me to get any sort of confirmation on any of what he has to tell us. So, until confirmation arrives, please make it a point to take anything you read from here on out as extremely suspect. It’s a wild rumor.

It may not be entirely unfounded rumor though. Some of what he says does match up with some of what I’ve been hearing about the film, and some of it has even been rumored by multiple sources, so below is a breakdown of what our scooper says is information he gleaned from a casting notice for Avatar: The Last Airbender. Some of it has popped up elsewhere, some of it may be new. You decide:

- Production begins on Avatar: The Last Airbender in early 2009.

- Paramount is planning to make it a trilogy, with the first Shyamalan directed movie currently using the working title of Water.

- Rumored to already be attached to the movie: Jonathan Nguyen as the lead character “Aang” and Ether Brent as “Sokka”.

- Casting is currently under way for unknowns with prior experience and dexterity in Martial Arts being a plus.

That’s all we’ve got. At least it’s something. Until tonight I’d forgotten The Last Airbender existed. It’s a kid’s cartoon series after all, it seems a little beneath Shyamalan, even with his recent box office troubles. He’s under contract though, so there’s every reason to believe that whether or not this scoop pans out, at some point Avatar: The Last Airbender will be full steam ahead.

The American made cartoon uses Asian influences like elemental magic and martial arts to tell the story of Aang, successor to the line of Avatars. Avatars are magicians who have mastered the powers of all four elements: Water, earth, fire, and air. Aang and his friends must save the world from the evil Fire Nation, while evading pursuers. Hopefully using their magic powers doesn’t somehow involve lame card battles.