The world of Avatar: The Last Airbender is beginning to expand and series creator Bryan Konietzko is so excited about the upcoming movie. Konietzko along with co-creator Michael DiMartino started the series in 2005 as a heartfelt show about a boy stepping into his responsibility as the Avatar, a powerful figure who can restore peace to his world. The series is beloved by both its creator and its fans for its meaningful message and lovable characters. In 2020, Avatar: The Last Airbender experienced a resurgence when Netflix added the show to streaming.
The creators have been working on expanding the world through Avatar Studios, their new production company. Several Avatar projects have been announced so far, including an upcoming movie. Konietzko shared his excitement on the Avatar: The Last Airbender YouTube channel.
Konietzko says following the ending of The Legend of Korra the team found themselves burnt out on production. But after taking a long break from animation they found their inspiration again and are preparing to continue Team Avatar’s journey. Konietzko explained that they are making their first movie and are excited to do it in a “meaningful and satisfying way.”
“Now, we’re making a movie, our first movie. As cool as it is to work in television, feature films are where you get to really craft something where you’re not just rushing and having to put it out. As an artist, that was really alluring to me. It’s executing it that’s the hard part, getting those ideas woven together in some sort of meaningful, satisfying way. Then [you have] to executive it in animation which is a really hard medium, especially hard to do consistently on schedule and on budget.”
What’s Next For Team Avatar?
Konietzko shared that while developing Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra, the pair had plenty of ideas, and now they’re excited to expand on them in new ways. After coming under new leadership, Nickelodeon approached the team about coming back and the two were able to negotiate a bigger deal, starting Avatar Studios and expanding their universe. Avatar Studios has announced a handful of new projects, including a live-action Netflix series that is expected in 2023, a new show about an Earth nation Avatar, and the feature film centered on the adult Team Avatar.
The film will be the studio’s first animated project since The Legend of Korra, and Konietzko and DiMartino have said they are excited to explore new animation technology and see how they can take the series further. Konietzko warns that he wants to see “technology support artwork”, but not “artwork support technology.” Konietzko also cites Hayao Miyazaki, founder of Studio Ghibli, as an inspiration. The Japanese animation studio is known for its beautiful art, and Avatar Studios has adapted one Studio Ghibli policy that says everything at the studio, even if it is later 3D rendered, “has to start as a handmade piece of art.“
Konietzko and DiMartino are dedicated to the Avatar: The Last Airbender series and are making sure it all comes to a satisfying ending. While creating an animated feature film is difficult, Konietzko promises that it will be worth the wait. The duo are clearly committed to keeping the spirit of Team Avatar alive throughout their projects. The untitled Avatar: The Last Airbender movie is expected to meet audiences in October 2025.
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