Avatar: The Last Airbender Producers Provide Bittersweet Update On Live-Action Netflix Show

Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender

Longtime fans and newcomers alike have had the opportunity to enjoy Avater: The Last Airbender, which is available to stream in crystal clear high definition on Netflix. But of course, many fans have been waiting patiently for word on Netflix’s live-action TV adaptation. While news has been scarce as of late, original show creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko have now provided an update that’s sure to disappoint fans.

Both Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko announced that they have departed Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender remake. The two were originally announced to be involved back in 2018 and were set to serve as showrunners and executive producers on the series. DiMartino announced the news in a lengthy statement on his website:

Many of you have been asking me for updates about the Avatar live-action Netflix series. I can finally tell you that I am no longer involved with the project. In June of this year, after two years of development work, Bryan Konietzko and I made the difficult decision to leave the production.

DiMartino would go on to explain that the split between the creatives and the streamer stems from creative differences, as the project was not coming together the way the pair had hoped:

When Bryan and I signed on to the project in 2018, we were hired as executive producers and showrunners. In a joint announcement for the series, Netflix said that it was committed to honoring our vision for this retelling and to supporting us on creating the series. And we expressed how excited we were for the opportunity to be at the helm. Unfortunately, things did not go as we had hoped.

As he went on, Michael Dante DiMartino would continue to express his disappointment with the way things turned out, but he seems to have accepted that things change. He also wished the project well and stressed that this wouldn’t mark the end of his involvement with the franchise:

I also want to be clear that this doesn’t mean the end of my involvement in the Avatar universe. These stories and characters are important to me and the renewed interest and excitement in Avatar and Korra has been inspiring to see.

Bryan Konietzko shared similar sentiments in a lengthy statement posted to his Instagram account. He also noted that while he was able to work with some great people, he felt the overall handling of the project created what he believed to be a “negative and unsupportive environment.” You can read his original post below:

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Despite this recent development, Netflix still has faith in the creative team behind the project, per THR. A Netflix spokesperson also released a statement addressing the creative shakeup:

We have complete respect and admiration for Michael and Bryan and the story that they created in the Avatar animated series. Although they have chosen to depart the live-action project, we are confident in the creative team and their adaptation.

Anticipation for this reimagining of Avatar: The Last Airbender was at a serious high among fans, with some even going as far as to send in auditions for the show. The loss of DiMartino and Konietzko is definitely a major blow for the long-gestating project, and it does leave a bit of uncertainty for the show moving forward. We’ll keep posted on new updates as they arrive.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.