After the travesty that was the M Night Shyamalan movie adaptation, it would seem as though another live-action remake of the beloved Avatar: The Last Airbender (ATLA) series is getting its fair share of controversy.
ATLA co-creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko officially announced in separate statements that they have left the Netflix live-action remake back in June, both cited that creative differences was the driving force behind their decision.
“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,” Konietzko said on an Instagram post.
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Well, friends... there you have it. Big sigh. 💔⬇️💔 I’m sure many of you will understandably want to know more and will ask me questions in the comments, here and on subsequent posts and live-streams and in-person encounters and everywhere else ad infinitum. I wish I could explain things in greater detail, but the above statement is really all I can say about the matter so I won’t be answering any of those. I encourage you to head over to my partner Michael DiMartino’s account to get his take on our departure too: @mike_dante_d Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of the Avatar: The Last Airbender fans, and I’m sorry our involvement in the live-action project did not work out. Time to get on with my life. Onward and upward. 💙 Love, Bryan #avatarthelastairbender #cocreators #michaeldimatino #bryankonietzko #bryke #atla #liveactionseries #netflix
DiMartino also explained that part of his reason for leaving was that despite becoming showrunners and executive producers of the show, they struggled to steer the creative direction of the remake.
“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,” he said in a statement posted on his website.
An excerpt of Michael DiMartino’s open letter to fans
© Michael DiMartino’s Website
Konietzko also expressed that the way Netflix handled the project had made it unenjoyable to work on the series.
“Though I got to work with some great individuals, both on Netflix’s side and our own small developmental team, the general handling of the project created what I felt was a negative and unsupportive environment,” he said.
Both Konietzko and DiMartino claimed that while they have left the show, the series could still be successful thanks to the talented people that are still working on it.
“Netflix’s live-action adaptation of Avatar has the potential to be good. 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,” DiMartino stated.
Netflix responded to the producers thanking them for the franchise they have created and assuring fans that they will continue to produce a worthwhile show.
“We have complete respect and admiration for Michael and Bryan and the story that they created in the Avatar animated series. Although they have chosen to depart the live action project, we are confident in the creative team and their adaptation,” Netflix said in a statement.
Fans of the original ATLA series were quick to express their dismay over the co-creators leaving the production team, with many stating that they have lost interest in watching the remake altogether.
The Avatar creators have left production of the Netflix Live-Action adaptation, citing creative differences. DiMartino says he hopes it can still be good, but what Netflix wanted was not what they wanted to make.— TRAFON (@RiseFallNick) August 12, 2020
I think Live Action ATLA is just cursed guys. pic.twitter.com/0rLXKxfJAe
Konietzko and DiMartino said that while this might be the end of their involvement with the remake, they will continue to work on the Avatar franchise.
“This doesn’t mean the end of my involvement in the Avatar universe. These stories and characters are important to me and the renewed interest and excitement in Avatar and Korra has been inspiring to see,” DiMartino assured fans. Carlito P. Topacio