Some were skeptical when it was announced that Netflix was teaming up with the creators of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” for a new live-action version of the acclaimed animated series. Why mess with something that is already great? Especially when history has proven live-action may not be the best avenue for the story? Even those who were concerned were at least happy that Mike DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko were attached to help run the show. But it appears that’s not the case anymore, and fans are likely going to begin freaking out a bit.
In response to numerous fans asking for news about ‘Avatar,’ DiMartino wrote an open letter to shed light on the current status of the series. That is to say, why he’s no longer involved.
“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,” Mike DiMartino wrote on his website. “In June of this year, after two years of development work, Bryan Konietzko and I made the difficult decision to leave the production.”
Though he didn’t get too far into the details about why he and Konietzko left the production, DiMartino hinted that their vision just didn’t jive with what Netflix was hoping to achieve.
“In a joint announcement for the series, Netflix said that it was committed to honoring our vision for this retelling and to supporting us on creating the series,” he said. “And we expressed how excited we were for the opportunity to be at the helm. Unfortunately, things did not go as we had hoped.”
He added, “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.”
And no, you probably shouldn’t expect a ringing endorsement for the new series from the original series’ creators. In fact, DiMartino even falls short of saying that he thinks it’ll be good.
“And who knows? Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Avatar has the potential to be good,” he said. “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.”
To say fans were anticipating this live-action reimagining of the series is an understatement. For years, “Avatar: The Last Airbender” has been hailed as one of the best animated series of all time with a truly devoted fanbase. And when news broke of the live-action version, people were over the moon with excitement. Clearly, this is not the news they wanted to hear.
You can read the entire letter to fans on DiMartino’s website.