Avatar: The Last Airbender Creators Exit Netflix Live-Action Series

Credit: Nickelodeon

This news is definitely going to disappoint fans of the beloved animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. The live action adaptation has been in the works at Netflix since 2018 with series creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko as showrunners.

Or, well, they were showrunners. Yesterday, it was announced that the pair has exited the series. According to an open letter penned by DiMartino on his blog, it was a complicated decision, but they weren’t feeling respected by Netflix.

“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.”

He adds that he “couldn’t control the creative direction” of the series, so he decided to leave the project.

“It was the hardest professional decision I’ve ever had to make, and certainly not one that I took lightly, but it was necessary for my happiness and creative integrity. And who knows? 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.”

Konietzko released his own statement on his Instagram. He cited that he felt that he and DiMartino were in a “negative and unsupportive environment”.

“Mike and I are collaborative people, we did not need all of the ideas to come from us. As long as we felt those ideas were in line with the spirit and integrity of Avatar, we would have happily embraced them. However, we ultimately came to the belief that we would not be able to meaningfully guide the direction of the series.”

As with any split, Netflix also released their own statement. They plan on continuing with Dan Lin, Nickelodeon, and the Rideback team attached.

“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.”

There’s no timeline for when the adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender will be released.

Bec Heim