Avatar: The Last Airbender fans have just been dealt what can surely be described as a significant blow. Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, the creators behind the original animated show, have departed Netflix’s planned live-action series adaptation. The two announced their departure in separate statements, citing creating differences with Netflix.
Michael Dante DiMartino posted an open letter on his website announcing the split from the upcoming Avatar: The Last Airbender live-action TV Show. DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko were set to serve as showrunners on the series, which was originally announced nearly two years ago in September 2018. DiMartino had this to say.
“Many of you have been asking me for updates about the Avatar live-action Netflix series. I can finally tell you that I am no longer involved with the project. In June of this year, after two years of development work, Bryan Konietzko and I made the difficult decision to leave the production.”
A live-action movie directed by M. Night Shyamalan based on the Nickelodeon series was previously produced. It failed to connect commercially or critically. Netflix hoped to seemingly stay more true to the source material by bringing the creators of The Last Airbender on board. It remains unclear who will be tapped as the new showrunner(s). Speaking further, DiMartino elaborated on the difficulty in making the decision to step away.
“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. 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.”
Even though he has departed the show, Michael Dante DiMartino also assured fans that he will remain a part of the universe. Avatar, somewhat ironically, has found renewed popularity since it began streaming on Netflix over the summer. Bryan Konietzko, taking to Instagram, echoed DiMartino’s comments. In his post, Konietzko called out the streaming service for not following through on its promise to support their vision.
“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 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.”
Avatar: The Last Airbender ran for three seasons between 2005 and 2008. It has been met with widespread acclaim. A spin-off, The Legend of Korra, aired four seasons between 2012 and 2014. We’ll be sure to keep you posted as further details are made available. We have included Bryan Konietzko’s Instagram post in its entirety. You can check out the full open letter at MichaelDanteDiMartino.com.