Ariana Juarez
Copy Editor 

Fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender were abuzz with excitement following the announcement on Feb. 24 about the creation of Avatar Studios by Nickelodeon. This announcement came shortly after the 16 year anniversary of Avatar on Feb. 22. The studio is meant to create stories and new television shows that surround the universes of Avatar and The Legend of Korra. Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, the co-creators of Avatar, are set to return to Nickelodeon to work as co-chief creative officers at Avatar Studios.

DiMartino made the announcement on his Instagram, detailing his excitement for the creation of Avatar Studios. “It’s hard to believe it’s been 19 years since we created Avatar: The Last Airbender. But even after all that time, there are still many stories and time periods in Aang’s world that we are eager to bring to life… And with this new Avatar Studios venture, we have an unparalleled opportunity to develop our franchise and its storytelling on a vast scale, in myriad exciting ways and mediums,” he wrote.

The studio’s first project is expected to be a theatrical film release, which is set to begin production later this year, and will air on Paramount Plus. Of course, this news has generated plenty of excitement, as both DiMartino and Konietzko left the Netflix production of the live-action Avatar earlier this summer-due to creative differences. Netflix tried to make their version of the story more gritty and mature than the original cartoon. The news left many fans dismayed, but, with the announcement of Avatar Studios, there has been renewed hope for the franchise. There have been many speculations about what the studio will create, with many hoping that there will be animated versions of the comics, including a television series that focused on Avatar Kyoshi, who appeared briefly in the main Avatar series, and spawned her own comic book series. 

Of course, there is still plenty of reason to be wary, even with the return of the original creators. Ever since the original cartoon was released, most spin-offs were poorly received. Every fan of the show is aware of the now-infamous, ill-fated live-action film that was M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender. The subsequent treatment of the sequel series, The Legend of Korra, was met with criticism before the show even aired, and was constantly on the cusp of getting canceled every season. As such, the showrunners were forced to write every season like it was their last, leading to the rushed plot lines that many critics have complained about in regards to the show.

Nickelodeon also pulled the show off the network and transferred it to their website, though that also became inaccessible for the last season of the show. Netflix added itself to the list of potential disasters when DiMartino and Konietzko left the show, and even faced backlash with the announcement of Katara’s age switch not too long ago. As much as fans love the original series, it’s hard to recapture that magic that had enamored so many people. Regardless of the course that Avatar Studios takes, there are high expectations for the continuations of the Avatar universe. Whether or not the studio will live up to these expectations remains to be seen.

Featured Photo Courtesy of Nickelodeon

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