Netflix’s Modifications to Avatar Sound Like a Blended Bag

With Avatar: The Last Airbender premeiring later within the month, Netflix has steadily began to drag again the curtain on its adaptation of the 2005 cartoon. The present was by no means going to be an entire one-to-one of the unique, nevertheless it does really feel like among the additions and tweaks to the show—like tampering down Sokka’s sexist behavior—don’t solely get why they existed within the supply materials to start with.

One fascinating transfer the brand new present’s making is a remixing of storylines from the present. The most important is bringing in Zuko’s (Dallas Liu) household into the image a lot sooner—his father Ozai (Daniel Dae Kim) and sister Azula (Elizabeth Yu) have expanded roles right here in comparison with the small slices of them within the cartoon’s first season. Showrunner Albert Kim advised IGN it helps flesh out “why [Zuko’s] doing what he’s doing and set that within the context of his household dynamic, and the way he suits in together with his father and sister.” And it’s equally why Zuko’s duel together with his father—which was briefly proven in a flashback, leading to his scar and exile—will likely be extra offered in full right here.

Having Zuko’s household be extra outstanding right here—Kim stated Azula basically will get a prequel forward of her meatier materials in future seasons—is a transfer any newer adaptatioin would make. Different decisions are up for debate, although: as a substitute of being a child making an attempt to keep away from being the Avatar, Aang (Gordon Cornier) could have extra “narrative drive,” stated Kim. Reasonably than him, Katara, and Sokka getting swept up in weekly misadventures, he’ll get a imaginative and prescient early within the season that spurs him to go to the Northern Water Temple for a Waterbending grasp. The imaginative and prescient “provides him extra narrative compulsion going ahead,” which is only a fancy method of claiming there gained’t be a lot in the best way of worldbuilding detours that gave the unique Avatar its allure.

Image for article titled Netflix's Changes to Avatar Sound Like a Mixed Bag

Picture: Netflix

Of the adjustments, Kim stated he views the brand new present as “a remix, not a canopy.” Whereas he and the writers knew there have been sure characters and plot factors to do faithfully, they couldn’t be a slavish recreation. The important thing aim was “feeling your method all through the method,” whereas additionally “ensuring it feels prefer it was Avatar in spirit.” However among the updates on a personality stage really feel like they might miss the mark: Katara gained’t have “sure roles” within the group dynamic as a result of “some gender points didn’t fairly translate.”

Like with Sokka, the Water Tribe’s sexism and Katara’s position as staff mother are two elementary elements of the unique present that have been atively addressed and used to additional character arcs. They weren’t simply there for the sake of it, and by admitting a wish to “guard in opposition to that type of stuff,” it makes the difference’s writers really feel like they’re afraid of characters rising and being messy or annoying in spots. Nickelodeon’s Avatar was a present for youngsters, nevertheless it understood that youngsters could be imply and damaging, to themselves and particularly each other or these they love, one thing this new one is seemingly making an attempt to sand over as a result of character arcs have to be sacrificed for likability.

I liked the unique Avatar once I was 12 and rising up, and nonetheless do, nevertheless it wasn’t excessive artwork. So stuff just like the examples above, plus Kim saying it “can’t simply enchantment for youths,” can’t assist however get on the nerves. The brand new present wasn’t going to please everybody, as a result of nothing can. However in making an attempt to make the present hit for followers and likewise people who find themselves excessive on Sport of Thrones (which, there’s in all probability a better overlap of these two than we predict?), it looks like Netflix isn’t solely certain what it desires the present to be aside from “one other live-action Avatar.

We’ll discover out for certain when Avatar: The Final Airbender involves Netflix on February 22. IGN’s full dialogue with Kim and sequence director Jabbar Raisani could be learn here.


Need extra io9 information? Take a look at when to anticipate the newest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s subsequent for the DC Universe on film and TV, and all the pieces it’s good to learn about the way forward for Doctor Who.

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