Netflix's Avatar: The Last Airbender series will bring certain events from the original series' lore to life for the first time, says showrunner Albert Kim.
While opening up about the differences between the animation, which ran between 2005 and 2008, and the upcoming live-action adaptation, Kim candidly tells SFX magazine: "The original series never shows the Fire Nation attacking the Southern Air Temple, and that's something we do see in our version."
Within the Avatar universe, said temple – only accessible via flying bison during hero Aang's lifetime – was said to have been destroyed in an attack led by Fire Lord Sozin in 0 AG. Every airbender but Aang, who escaped to the Southern Air Temple and became trapped in ice in suspended animation, was killed in the assault, which went on to spark the Hundred Year War. The Nickelodeon cartoon begins with Katara and Sokka, two siblings from the Southern Water Tribe, discovering the frozen Aang.
During the interview, Kim goes on to reveal that antagonist Azula features much more heavily in the new series' first chapter than she did in the animation's, since he and the writers "had the advantage of knowing a lot of things that are ahead". May December's Elizabeth Yu brings her to life this time around, while Ian Ousley, Kiawentiio, and Gordon Cormier play Sokka, Katara, and Aang respectively.
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"We play to that," he continues in the new issue, which features Halo season 2 on the cover. "We know how big a character Azula becomes in the series, so we had the benefit of hindsight in fleshing out her character and being able to tell a story with her in it in season 1."
Elsewhere, Kim explains that the Netflix show will be less 'adventure of the week', which is a format the animated series used in its first season, and more of a serialized drama. "We all knew that there were things we wanted to change, but not just for the sake of change. There had to be a reason for the change." As for what they changed exactly, Kim won't elaborate, but fortunately fans won't have to wait too long to find out...
Avatar: The Last Airbender releases on February 22. The above is just a snippet of our interview, available in the latest issue of SFX magazine, which features Halo season 2 on the cover and is available on newsstands from Wednesday, January 24. For even more from SFX, sign up for the newsletter, sending all the latest exclusives straight to your inbox.