Only a few movies and shows can endure the pressures of time and remain relevant years after they first appeared in front of an audience. As times change, our perceptions also evolve, and we get more interested in different themes. However, for a series as impactful as Avatar: The Last Airbender, it was a simple feat to be adapted into a live-action series and let the younger audience familiarize themselves with Aang and his companions.

Story Behind Avatar: The Last Airbender Creation

avatar the last airbender 3
Avatar: The Last Airbender

The Netflix live-action adaptation Avatar: The Last Airbender reimagines the eponymous Nickelodeon animated series. The characters and the story remain the same, with Aang embarking on a life-changing journey of mastering all the elements and the power of bending them. He discovers that he is a reincarnated person who has all the power and just needs to tap into that hidden potential.

Also Read: Avatar: The Last Airbender Nearly Ruined it’s Flawless Ending With Season 4 Plans

Azula, Zuko and Ursa
Azula, Zuko, and Ursa in Avatar: The Last Airbender

While the story appears similar to many historical fantasies where the hero is the sole person responsible for defeating the villain, the idea for the show was sparked in an untraditional manner. The audience saw the show during Comic-Con in 2004 with the eventual premiere being in 2005. Created by Mike DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, the animated show made its place in viewers’ hearts in no time. In an interview with Animation World, the creators shared how they were inspired to create the enchanting world of Avatars.

“We’ve said this a lot of times, but it is still true that [Hayao] Miyazaki’s work really inspired and continues to inspire us. Back in the late ’90s, I was getting pretty disillusioned with working on sitcoms — then I saw Princess Mononoke and I was emboldened. My heart was so much closer to that kind of story, those kinds of characters, and that type of tone. After that, Cowboy Bebop really inspired us in terms of being a great example of an epic series that had a wide breadth of tones. Then FLCL came along and rewrote the rules for everything, as far as I’m concerned!”

Talking about the protagonist of the story, Aang, Konietzko shared that he sketched an old man with a balding head who was further envisioned as a child in a man’s body. The two creators had worked together in the past on different projects, so when they discussed a character like Aang, DiMartino gave the story a setting similar to the South Pole. Eventually, every aspect came together beautifully to create the captivating show Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Also Read: Top 5 Most Underrated Avatar: The Last Airbender Episodes, Ranked

Inspirations Behind Other Characters of Avatar: The Last Airbender

Avatar: The Last Airbender
Avatar: The Last Airbender

When DiMartino and Konietzko were on a career high with their show doing exceptionally well, they went on a lot of interviews with people wanting to know how they came up with such a unique idea for the show. Not just the story, the show’s success was widely dependent on the well-sketched characters, with everyone having a satisfying arc to cap their journeys. In an interview with IGN, the writers shared their inspiration behind Zuko’s character, whose redemption is an important aspect of the story.

“For Zuko, we wanted to avoid the usual moustache-twisting two-dimensional villain. It is much more interesting for us to create an antagonist whose motivations are the pain of abuse and falling from grace. It makes the bad things he does resonate emotionally, since they come from a place people can empathize with, rather than having some “supervillain” who just cooks up evil plots all of the time.”

Moreover, the character of Iroh was further shaped when Mako came on board to voice him on the animated show. He added a certain calm and kind quality to the role that the creators hadn’t thought of before. The humor and warmth that makes him stand out was Mako’s doing when he first recorded the lines.

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!
Explore from around the WEB