Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Surprising News Just Dropped For Netflix's Live-Action Avatar: The Last Airbender

Some huge news just dropped for Netflix's upcoming live-action adaptation of the beloved animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. Despite early involvement with the development of the series, Avatar creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko have both withdrawn from the project (via IGN).

DiMartino was the first to announce the high-profile departure in an open letter posted to his website. In the message, Dimartino writes, "In June of this year, after two years of development work, Bryan Konietzko and I made the difficult decision to leave the production ... Look, things happen. Productions are challenging. Unforeseen events arise. Plans have to change. And when those things have happened at other points during my career, I try to be like an Air Nomad and adapt. I do my best to go with the flow, no matter what obstacle is put in my way. But even an Air Nomad knows when it's time to cut their losses and move on."

The surprising news will no doubt lead to some level of anxiety among fans of the property. Avatar fandom has been burned before, and news of creative differences between the series' creators and Netflix executives placed in charge of the project certainly calls to mind the universally loathed M. Night Shyamalan attempt to bring the series into the third dimension. That said, there's ample reason for hope that this personnel change will not doom the project — as well as an exciting silver lining buried within the dark stormcloud of DiMartino's announcement.

DiMartino assures fans that he's not finished with the Avatar universe

While Avatar fans have ample grounds for skepticism, this kind of personnel change is actually quite common in Hollywood. Bringing a series into a new medium is always a challenging task, and sometimes the original creative minds behind the property have to step back so that new influences can prevail in the finished product.

DiMartino seems to acknowledge this fact in his letter, writing, "Netflix's live-action adaptation of Avatar has the potential to be good. It might turn out to be a show many of you end up enjoying. But what I can be certain about is that whatever version ends up on-screen, it will not be what Bryan and I had envisioned or intended to make." That statement comes far short of a condemnation of Netflix's creative choices. It's entirely possible — even likely — that a quality product will emerge from this conflicted development process even without additional input from DiMartino and Konietzko.

In an addendum sure to invite much fan speculation, DiMartino also says that he isn't finished working in the Avatar universe. "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."

Let the possibility of a brand new Avatar story straight from DiMartino and Konietzko be a soothing balm for this otherwise unwelcome news.