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Creating another live-action remake of Avatar: The Last Airbender is a bold move. After M. Night Shyamalan’s dreadful live-action disaster, the idea of another live-action remake doesn’t sound too appealing.
In 2018, Netflix announced that a brand new live-action series of Avatar the Last Airbender is in the works. Now that The Last Airbender is on Netflix, the series is back in the spotlight, serving as a reminder of how fantastic the show really is.
Why risk tainting the series yet again by creating a sub-par remake of Avatar: The Last Airbender? Although the show’s original creators are driving the path of this Netflix Original series, we can only hope that Netflix doesn’t get involved creatively. If Netflix wants to avoid following in the footsteps of M. Night Shyamalan, it needs to avoid making these detrimental mistakes.
1. Veering From the Original Story
Some remakes just don’t do justice to the show or movie’s original story. When some outside influence starts taking “creative liberty” with the base plot, setting, or characters, the remake will inevitably fail.
Take a look at Netflix’s live-action remake of Death Note, for example. The original anime and manga take place in Japan, and portray the main protagonist, Light, as a criminal mastermind. Netflix decided to tear up those roots by setting the live-action remake in Seattle, of all places, and giving Light a completely unlikeable, immature personality.
“Revamping” a story that’s already great is an insult to fans, as well as the original creator. Avatar: The Last Airbender deserves a remake that closely follows the original plotline. Netflix needs to give the show’s co-creators, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, a voice.
2. Mispronouncing Names
If you’ve seen M. Night Shyamalan’s Avatar: The Last Airbender remake, you probably fumed at the way he changed the pronunciation of the characters’ original names. Aang, Sokka, and Iroh all have different pronunciations—why would a director change the pronunciation of the main protagonist’s name, as well as the name of two significant side characters?
With DiMartino and Konietzko leading the Last Airbender remake, we hopefully won’t have to worry about any mispronounced names.
3. Miscasting Characters
M. Night Shyamalan did a terrible job casting the actors and actresses for his remake. Most actors don’t look like the characters from the original series, as Shyamalan made the poor decision to whitewash nearly every main character. Any Avatar: The Last Airbender fan can tell you that each character has either a distinct Asian or Native cultural background.
Fortunately, DiMartino and Konietzko mentioned that they’re excited to create a remake that is “culturally appropriate” and “non-whitewashed.” If they follow through with their promise, the new remake will have a huge leg up on Shyamalan’s film.
4. Evaporating the Charm of the Show
Avatar: The Last Airbender is filled with plenty of humor and goofy moments. Recreating that level of charm in a live-action movie or series is difficult, which is why Shyamalan failed miserably. This resulted in an unfunny, overly serious film that doesn’t even feel like The Last Airbender.
To capture the charming side of The Last Airbender, Netflix needs the right actors and the right script. Creating too dark of a mood, or adding in a more “adult-oriented” tone would only ruin the remake.
5. Using Cheesy Visual Effects
By now, we should have the technology to create visual effects that actually look good. Yes, visual effects are expensive. but if done cheaply, the whole series could potentially be ruined—cheesy visual effects are just plain distracting.
The fact that The Last Airbender will need a lot of visual effects is worrying. Not only will Netflix need to create effects for each style of bending, but it’ll also have to add in a recreation of Appa and Momo. Without the right budget, the live-action series is at risk of having terrible CGI.
Will Netflix Do Right by Avatar: The Last Airbender?
There isn’t a release date for the new live-action series yet, which is a good thing. Netflix and The Last Airbender co-creators should take the time to map out the live-action series, and try to make it stay as true to the original series as possible.
Are you rewatching the Last Airbender series on Netflix? See if your favorite episode makes our list of the best Avatar: The Last Airbender episodes, ranked.