Avatar: The Last Airbender creators exit Netflix live-action adaptation

John Staub / Netflix

The creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, have left Netflix’s live-adaptation project, citing creative differences in a “negative and unsupportive environment.”

Two years ago in 2018, Netflix announced plans to create a “reimagined” version of the beloved animated series, with the two creators at the helm as executive producers. Since then, there’s been a deafening silence around the project with not much news around its production.

However, it seems the first bit of meaningful news out of the project in a long time isn’t what hopeful fans of the show were expecting.

DiMartino and Konietzko issued separate statements hours apart from each other explaining why they had left the Netflix project.

“Netflix said that it was committed to honoring our vision for this retelling and to supporting us on creating the series… Unfortunately, things did not go as we had hoped,” DiMartino said. “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.”

Series partner Konietzko echoed similar sentiments but went a bit further about the environment within Netflix surrounding the latest version for the Last Airbender.

“When Netflix brought me [and DiMartino on board], they made a very public promise to support our vision. Unfortunately, there was no follow-through on that promise.” he said. While early discussions might have been optimistic for Konietzko, “the general handling of the project created what I felt was a negative and unsupportive environment.”

This comes on the heels of the original series debuting, again, on Netflix in May. The positive reception to the show spanned generations as nostalgic adults reminisced while newer generations tuned in for the first time.

Back in 2018, longtime fans of the franchise were apprehensive about the streaming giant’s live-action plans. The burn from 2010’s film still left many uneasy, but knowing that the original creators were attached to the new show was encouraging, to say the least.

DiMartino and Konietzko are still hopeful that Netflix’s direction will be to the liking of old and new viewers, although they will no longer be working on it.

The two will still be involved in their Avatar universe. As Konietzko said, he’s still going to explore Avatar “projects that give me the most fulfillment, and where I am afforded trust and respect.”

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