Netflix's 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' is a live-action remake of a beloved cartoon. Here's everything we know.

aang in the live action netflix avatar the last airbender. a young boy wearing red and yellow loose clothing, holding a wooden staff, and with a blue arrow tattooed on his forehead
Gordon Cormier as Aang in Netflix's live-action "Avatar: The Last Airbender."Robert Falconer/Netflix
  • Netflix has adapted the beloved cartoon "Avatar: The Last Airbender" into a live-action show.

  • The series will premiere in 2024 and stars Daniel Dae Kim and Dallas Liu.

  • Here's everything you need to know, including its release date and why the original "Avatar" creators left.

Netflix is bringing one of the best animated series ever back into live-action with its upcoming adaptation of "Avatar: The Last Airbender."

The original animated series, created by Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino, ran for three seasons at Nickelodeon in the mid-2000s.

Since then, the "Avatar" universe has become a rich fantasy world, with sequel series "The Legend of Korra," YA novels, and comics expanding the story.

This isn't the first time someone has taken a stab at bringing "Avatar" into live-action: M. Night Shyamalan famously directed a widely-panned "Avatar" movie in 2010.

The Netflix show could redeem some of the failures of that adaptation — though DiMartino and Konietzko, who were originally brought on as showrunners, departed the live-action series in 2020 citing a lack of support at Netflix for their vision of the project.

Here's everything that you need to know about Netflix's live-action "Avatar: The Last Airbender" series.

When does the live-action 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' premiere?

Netflix has announced that the series will premiere on February 22, 2024.

What's the plot of 'Avatar: The Last Airbender'?

"Avatar," like the cartoon series it's adapting, takes place in a world divided into four nations: the Water Tribes, the Air Nomads, the Earth Kingdom, and the Fire Nation.

Select individuals known as "benders" possess the ability to manipulate one of the four elements — and one person known as the Avatar can manipulate them all.

The Avatar is tasked with maintaining balance, both within the physical world and between humans and the spirits.

sokka in the live action avatar the last airbender, wearing blue, cold-weather battle gear and with his hair pulled back on top with an undercut. he's standing in front of a wall with a symbol of flowing waves on it
Ian Ousley as Sokka in Netflix's live-action "Avatar: the Last Airbender."Robert Falconer/Netflix

One hundred years prior to the events of the series, the Fire Nation wiped out the Air Nomads in a brutal genocide, with the Avatar nowhere to be found.

Everything changes when Katara and Sokka, a pair of siblings from the Southern Water Tribe, discover a 12-year-old airbender named Aang who has been frozen in an iceberg for a century. And as luck turns out, Aang happens to be the Avatar.

It seems likely that the first season of the live-action series will adapt the first "book," or season, of the animated series, which sees Aang and Katara honing their water-bending skills and defending the Northern Water Tribe from a Fire Nation assault.

katara in the live-action netflix avatar. she's wearing blue, patterned robes with fur on the cuffs and collar, her hair pulled back with two strands looping in the front. her hands are outstretched, and she's looking at a ball of water she's making hover in the air
Kiawentiio as Katara in the live-action "Avatar: the Last Airbender."Robert Falconer/Netflix

However, it's likely that we'll see some new and expanded storylines in the live-action series, as showrunner Albert Kim hinted at in a 2021 letter.

"Netflix's format meant we had an opportunity to reimagine a story that had originally been told in self-contained half-hour episodes as an ongoing serialized narrative," he wrote. "That meant story points and emotional arcs we'd loved in the original could be given even more room to breathe and grow."

Who's in the 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' live-action cast?

Gordon Cormier stars as Aang, the young Avatar faced with restoring balance to the world.

Kiawentiio plays Katara, the waterbender who finds him in the ice, and Ian Ousley plays her non-bending older brother Sokka.

zuko in the live-action avatar the last airbneder. he's a young man in grey and red armor, a red scar over his left eye, and a shaved head except for a long, high ponytail
Dallas Liu as Zuko in Netflix's live-action "Avatar: the Last Airbender."Robert Falconer/Netflix

Dallas Liu plays Zuko, the Fire Nation's crown prince who's been exiled from his country and sent to pursue the Avatar in order to restore his honor.

Daniel Dae Kim ("Lost") plays his father, Fire Lord Ozai, while Paul Sun-Hyung Lee ("Kim's Convenience") plays his uncle Iroh, a father figure who mentors Zuko and accompanies him in his pursuit of the Avatar.

Elizabeth Yu plays Zuko's prodigious younger sister Azula, while Ken Leung ("Industry") plays one of his rivals, Commander Zhao.

There are some other big names in the cast as well: Arden Cho ("Partner Track") plays June, a bounty hunter. Utkarsh Ambudkar ("Pitch Perfect") plays King Bumi, the leader of the Earth Kingdom city of Omashu and Aang's childhood friend.

And Danny Pudi ("Mythic Quest") plays the Mechanist, an inventor who's attempting to provide for his son. You also might recognize Momona Tamada of "The Baby-Sitters Club" as Ty Lee, Azula's acrobatic best friend, and George Takei as the voice of Koh, a face-stealing spirit.

Why did the original 'Avatar' creators leave the Netflix project?

"Avatar" creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko in 2014
"Avatar" creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko in 2014Ethan Miller / Getty Images

In August 2020, Michael Dante DiMartino, one of the creators of the original "Avatar: The Last Airbender" animated series, revealed in a blog post that he and co-creator Bryan Konietzko had departed from the Netflix project.

DiMartino wrote that he and Konietzko had been brought on to the live-action series as executive producers and showrunners and that at the time, Netflix said it was "committed to honoring our vision."

In his own blog post, Konietzko said Netflix did not uphold that promise.

"Though I got to work with some great individuals, both on 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," He wrote.

Both creators wrote in their posts that the decision to leave was hard, and while the show has the potential to resonate with fans, it will not be what they envisioned.

"To be clear, this was not a simple matter of us not getting our way," Konietzko wrote. "Mike and I are collaborative people; we did not need all of the ideas to come from us. As long as we felt those ideas were in line with the spirit and integrity of 'Avatar', we would have happily embraced them. However, we ultimately came to the belief that we would not be able to meaningfully guide the direction of the series."

In an email statement to Insider at the time, a Netflix spokesperson addressed the "Avatar" creators' exit.

"We have complete respect and admiration for Michael and Bryan and the story that they created in the Avatar animated series," the statement read. "Although they have chosen to depart the live action project, we are confident in the creative team and their adaptation."

Netflix released the first teaser trailer for 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' in November

Netflix released a teaser trailer for the series on Thursday, giving fans the most in-depth look into the live-action universe so far.

Those familiar with the series should be able to spot some familiar locales, like Fire Lord Ozai's throne room, Kyoshi Island, and the Earth Kingdom city of Omashu. And more importantly, we got our first look at the crew's animal friends: Appa, Aang's flying bison, and Momo, a winged lemur.

The trailer also brings back the iconic main theme of the original animated "Avatar" series.

Read the original article on Insider