Less than a week ago the internet was sent reeling when it was revealed that Avatar the Last Airbender creators Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko would be exiting the production of Netflix’s live-action adaptation. The reason cited was the usual line of ‘creative differences’. A reason that can encompass everything under the sun.
Most fans immediately disowned the new Avatar series. To the point, fans started a petition to have the series stopped. As there was no clarity of what the creative differences were some fans held out hope that the series would be good.
However, FandomWire apparently reached out and spoke to multiple sources at Netflix and learned the apparent reasons for the creator’s exit. And they are everything that fans feared.
One of the most understandable creative differences comes down to money. DiMartino and Konietzko wanted the adaptation to be as faithful as possible. However, in a world where characters can create fire jets, tornadoes, and landslides; that faithfulness comes at a steep cost.
Reportedly Netflix was not happy with how much the budget for the live-action Avatar adaptation was growing. Netflix apparently felt they had already given the production as much money as it needed. DiMartino and Konietzko insisted more was needed to truly bring the series to life.
Diversity of Cast
While a low budget can be forgiven a far bigger issue is the casting. Netflix reportedly wanted to have the option to consider white actors for the cast. This was a non-starter for Dimartino and Konietzko; who insisted the show not have a single white actor. The inclusion of white actors into a series based entirely on eastern culture and mythology was one of the biggest criticisms of the 2010 M. Night Shyamalan’s live-action Avatar movie. A wrong that Dimartino and Konietzko wanted to right.
Tone and Rating
Budget and casting ate two issues that, while difficult, some fans would likely be able to look past and still enjoy the series. The biggest and most damning issue however comes down to tone. Reportedly Netflix wanted to separate the new live-action Avatar from the animated version by going for a darker and more mature tone. A tone that would involve aging up Aang, Zuko, Sokka, and Katara, and including more romance, sex, and blood. Because clearly that is what the multi-Emmy award-winning show was missing. Sex scenes.
DiMartino and Konietzko however were apparently adamant that the show remain aimed at kids and families.
If all of this sounds familiar to you it should. Death Note plagued by these issues. That show had the same issues that Avatar has had. The changes made to Death Note ultimately led to a version that in the eyes of many was a complete butchering of the original source material. The adaptation was mocked by fans and the internet alike. Spawning the infamous manga, anime, Netflix meme. A meme meant to mock how bad any live-action Netflix adaptation would end up.
As these come from a secondary source it is impossible to know if these are indeed fact. Until it releases there is still the possibility the Netflix show will live up to expectations. Netflix has already an official statement declaring that they will continue the series as planned:
“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.”https://www.theverge.com/2020/8/12/21365329/avatar-last-airbender-netflix-live-action-michael-dante-dimartino-bryan-konietzko-departure
However, if these rumors for the creators leaving are indeed accurate then I can’t imagine Avatar fans being happy with the eventual results. Until then we will continue to bring you news about the show as it develops.