As reported in February, Avatar: The Last Airbender creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko inked a major deal with Nickelodeon to produce way more Avatar-related television and film projects through Avatar Studios, with most of them heading to the recently rebranded Paramount+. With Ang, Korra and the rest of the crew set to return, The Last Airbender fanbase has been salivating over the news of a potential shared universe for projects new and old, and execs from the franchise’s home base Nickelodeon recently spoke on such current developments.
The Nickelodeon deal was a result of just how popular both Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra have remained since their respective endings, with both series dominating DVD sales and streaming traffic in recent years. With The Last Airbender universe set in motion once more, the franchise is poised to return with a theatrical film that is currently in development. To that end, Nickelodeon president Brian Robbins recently spoke with Deadline about the proposed shared universe, saying:
We are in the early stages of developing and exploring what we are calling an entire Avatar Airbender universe. Mike and Bryan are hard at work, and I think that universe will encompass definitely a theatrical film, animation, certainly multiple TV series and probably multiple films. I think we will be ready very soon to tell the world what is coming first but we are not there yet because we’re in the early stages of creative development.
Given Brian Robbins’ words, series creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko are clearly prepared to tell more epic stories within the Avatar: The Last Airbender universe that could encompass all kinds of storytelling angles. It will be fun to see what the creators produce through this deal, since there are so many possibilities when it comes to exploring the world of Avatar.
When it comes to Avatar: The Last Airbender in particular, Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko have many options. They can go back and revisit beloved characters such as Ang, Korra and Katara for new adventures, such as potentially exploring a particular character’s life before the events of the original series. A new show could also delve into the time between Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra to lay out more of when went down during that span. Even better would be if the creators decided to appoint a new Avatar or two to explore more of that world, either through a new movie, a new show, or both!
The Paramount+ and Avatar Studios partnership seems to be a better creative deal for Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko than their relationship with Netflix, where the new live-action Avatar series is being produced. At first, the Netflix deal seemed to share a true connection to the source, but many Avatar: The Last Airbender fans (including myself) began to see it as a double-edged sword. There was an excitement for a new series (even if it was live-action), but some felt it really wasn’t needed, given how The Legend of Korra concluded.
Fans mostly set their differences aside since Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko were attached to the live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender, at least until the news broke that DiMartino and Konietzko were leaving the project over “creative differences.” Given the details released about the live-action series, the two were probably right to back away from the project. Hopefully the new film, along with other projects, will build on The Last Airbender legacy instead of tarnishing it. It'll be fun to talk about either way!