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‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ is returning with its original creators

Published Feb 25th, 2021 3:43PM EST
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Image: Nickelodeon

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  • The creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra are creating a studio within Nickelodeon to make new shows and movies set in the world of Avatar.
  • Avatar Studios plans to begin work on its first animated feature before the end of 2021.
  • Avatar’s popularity surged when the show starting streaming on Netflix early last year.

One of the best surprises of 2020 was the sudden interest in the fantastic animated show Avatar: The Last Airbender and its sequel series, The Legend of Korra, when they hit Netflix. Avatar aired on Nickelodeon for three seasons from 2005 to 2008, and although it garnered plenty of accolades and attracted millions of viewers, there has never been an easy way to watch it online. As such, it didn’t surprise fans of the show when Avatar shot up Netflix’s Top 10 list in the days after being added to the streaming library last May. It stayed on that list for weeks.

Original creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko had long since walked away from the franchise, but back in 2018, Netflix hired the pair to helm a live-action remake of the series. In the midst of the cartoon’s resurgence in 2020, the two announced that they were each walking away from the project due to creative differences. But it turns out that DiMartino and Konietzko aren’t done with Avatar. In fact, they’ve only just begun.

This week, Nickelodeon announced the launch of Avatar Studios, which will be led by the show’s creators. This new division will be dedicated to expanding the world that DiMartino and Konietzko created with new animated series and movies based on Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. The very first project from Avatar Studios will be an animated feature film, and production is scheduled to start before the end of the year.

Here’s what DiMartino and Konietzko told Entertainment Weekly about the expansion of the Avatar universe:

It’s hard to believe it’s been 19 years since we created Avatar: The Last Airbender. But even after all that time, there are still many stories and time periods in Aang’s world that we are eager to bring to life. We are fortunate to have an ever-growing community of passionate fans that enjoys exploring the Avatarverse as much as we do.

And with this new Avatar Studios venture we have an unparalleled opportunity to develop our franchise and its storytelling on a vast scale, in myriad exciting ways and mediums. We are exceedingly grateful to [Nickelodeon president] Brian Robbins and [president of Nickelodeon Animation] Ramsey Naito for their enthusiasm and respect for the Avatar property and us as its stewards. From the start, they’ve supported our ambitious plans and created a positive, proactive environment for us.

We’re excited to be back at Nickelodeon where Avatar began, doing what we do best in the biggest way possible. We can’t wait to build the great teams and productions to make all of this fantasy a reality.

Nickelodeon and the creators weren’t ready to share any specific details about the stories they plan to tell, but we do know where we can watch the movies and series they plan to create — Avatar Studios will launch original content on Nickelodeon’s linear and digital platforms, on Paramount+, in theaters, and on third-party services.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.

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