‘The Legend of Korra’ Ending Could Have Been So Different

The second life of Avatar: The Last Airbender and its sequel series The Legend of Korra has been a beautiful thing for fans to witness. Despite the original Avatar series premiering on Nickelodeon 15 years ago, the Avatar universe is timeless. So when both series made their Netflix debuts this summer, it brought in plenty of new fans who had never seen the show, and prompted retrospective looks at the series with 2020 vision.

What is ‘The Legend of Korra’s relationship to the events of ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’?

The Legend of Korra takes place 70 years after the end of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Aang and Sokka have since passed on, and the world eagerly awaited Avatar Aang’s successor.

While the premise of ATLA centered around Aang being the last airbender of his kind, Korra begins with a look into the future of the Air Nomads. Her airbending teacher, Tenzin, is Aang’s son; his children Jinora, Ikki, and Meelo are Aang’s airbending grandchildren.

In addition to Katara, a few other familiar faces from the original series make an appearance in their old age.

'The Legend of Korra'
‘The Legend of Korra’ | Courtesy of Nickelodeon

Who is Avatar Korra?

Born in the Southern Water Tribe, Korra is the Avatar after Aang destined to restore balance to a world in severe need of it. Katara, the master waterbender from the original series, is a wise old woman in The Legend of Korra, and often counsels Korra in moments when she needs it most.

Korra had two very different romantic relationships

Book 1 of The Legend of Korra ends with Korra establishing a romantic relationship with Mako, a member of her group and teammate on the Fire Ferrets pro-bending team. Their relationship becomes strained in Book 2 and eventually falls apart, but they don’t hold on to any grudges and continue to work together as a group, fighting evil wherever it arises.

In the series’ last season, viewers get a closer look at Korra’s relationship with expert engineer Asami Sato. Asami became a part of the group in the beginning of the series, but the biggest look into the relationship between Asami and Korra in particular was when they were both chasing after Mako.

Book 4 takes place three years after the events of Book 3, and the group of young heroes has spent that time away from each other. Korra regularly exchanged letters with Asami as she recovered from injuries, and the two strengthened their friendship as a result.


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Korra and Asami’s (semi) happy ending

In the final moments of The Legend of Korra, it becomes clear that Korra and Asami’s relationship had transformed from platonic to romantic. The two held hands and walked into the Spirit World together, longingly looking in each other’s eyes as the screen faded to black. But that wasn’t the ending the show’s creators had in mind.

In a statement published on Tumblr at the time, Avatar co-creator Michael Dante DiMartino confirmed what everyone had inferred from that ending: Korra and Asami were indeed a couple.

“Our intention with the last scene was to make it as clear as possible that yes, Korra and Asami have romantic feelings for each other,” DiMartino said. But he also revealed something else shocking: they weren’t allowed to portray this moment exactly how they wanted.

Co-creator Bryan Konietzko echoed a similar sentiment himself, but pointed out that they weren’t able to portray the moment as fully as they wanted. “We approached the network and while they were supportive, there was a limit to how far we could go with it,” he said.

For Avatar superfans curious about what “Korrasami” looks like, the Korra comic books pick up right where the series left off, and portray their romantic relationship in its full glory.