‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’: Original Creators Back Out of Live-Action Remake, Fandom Reacts

Netflix struck gold when they optioned Avatar: The Last Airbender on their platform. The critically-acclaimed Nickelodeon show has a committed fanbase that grows every day. In fact, Avatar: The Last Airbender recently broke the record for the longest-running top 10 streak for a Netflix show. Possibly as a result of its success, Netflix decided to put plans for a live-action remake of the series into motion. Initially, fans were pleased to learn that the show’s original creators, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, would be working on the remake. However, the two recently announced a departure from the project over creative differences. 

‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ co-creator explains his departure

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In a move that shocked and saddened fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender, both Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko announced their departure from the Netflix live-action project over creative differences with the streaming platform. 

Both creators shared lengthy comments on their Instagrams discussing their decision to leave. 

Michael DiMartino wrote, in part, “When Bryan and I signed on to the project in 2018, we were hired as executive producers and showrunners. 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 this opportunity to be at the helm. Unfortunately, things did not go as we had hoped.”

“I realized I couldn’t control the creative direction of the series, but I could control how I responded. So, I chose 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,” he added. 

“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,” DiMartino explained. 

Bryan Konietzko writes about his choice

Avatar: The Last Airbender co-creator Bryan Konietzko also shared a departure letter on Instagram, explaining why the two felt compelled to leave the project.

“When Netflix brought me on board to run this series alongside Mike two years ago, they made a very public promise to support our vision. Unfortunately, there was no follow-through on that promise. Though I got to work with some great individuals, both on Netflix’s side and on our own small development team, the general handling of the project created what I felt was a negative and unsupportive environment,” wrote Konietzko.

Konietzko went on to explain that he was lucky to have a chance to work with “wonderfully talented people” who are remaining on board for the production, and that he’s hoping the show is something fans will appreciate nevertheless. 

‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ fans react to the news

Writer/director Michael Dante DiMartino (L) and writer/producer Bryan Konietzko created Avatar: The Last Airbender
Writer/director Michael Dante DiMartino (L) and writer/producer Bryan Konietzko departed the live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender project this week | Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Avatar: The Last Airbender fans are fiercely protective of the series, and many are shocked and saddened to see the two co-creators depart from the project. Many mentioned feeling as if it’s not worth looking forward to the live-action adaptation anymore. 

“If you and Michael aren’t a part they shouldn’t even be doing it. We’ve had enough disappointment,” commented one Instagram user, referencing the M. Night Shyamalan adaptation of the series. 

“What a shame, wish they wouldn’t finish the series without you guys. i appreciate your integrity, and I’ll keep supporting whatever new projects you both come up with!” added another user.

One Instagram commenter thanked the co-creators for staying true to their personal vision. 

“Mike and Bryan we will always support your creative decisions. It’s the least we can do because you both have contributed SO much to our lives and world views through Avatar. Of course it’s so sad but I’m looking forward to the things you two have in store. It’s a shame that Netflix didn’t allow for your full creative direction. And as a creator it’s terrible to have your creation being taken from your own hands like that. Thank you for your integrity with the Avatar universe and it’s characters,” they wrote.