Nickelodeon's First Avatar: The Last Airbender Animated Movie Will Bring The Gaang Back Together

Long ago, animated TV lived in harmony. Then, everything changed when Hollywood attacked.

"Avatar: The Last Airbender" managed to barely escape the smear that was the live-action movie (we do not speak of it), and has only risen to be stronger and more culturally significant than ever before. So much so that the splintering of the creative team behind Netflix's upcoming live-action series adaptation of the beloved animated show resulted in the launch of Avatar Studios, Nickelodeon's production studio entirely dedicated to expanding the world of "Avatar: The Last Airbender."

Last month, Avatar Studios announced their plans to produce three theatrically released feature films set in that universe (and hopefully wiping away the shameful memory of that "Last Airbender" movie once and for all). Now, we know what the first film will be about. And folks, the Gaang is getting back together.

At the "Avatar: The Last Airbender" panel held at San Diego Comic-Con 2022 (via Entertainment Weekly), Nickelodeon's Avatar Studios announced that the subject of their first feature-length film will be Avatar Aang and his friends. But, you may ask, didn't we get three whole seasons of that (barring Zuko's time spent as the antagonist-turned-antihero) plus flashbacks to their time as adults in the sequel series "The Legend of Korra"? Well, this time, we'll see the Gaang at a period in their lives that hadn't been yet seen on screen: as young adults.

Aang is back, and he's a young adult

Voice actress Janet Varney, who played Korra in "The Legend of Korra," recorded a message revealing the subject of the film. "There have been a lot of rumors floating around, a lot of speculation, and a lot of excitement — I feel it too," she said, while holding an "Avatar: The Last Airbender" tie-in novel. "But we figured it was time to set the record straight. The first feature-length movie from Avatar Studios will be focusing on Avatar Aang and his friends. And I for one cannot wait."

Reports from the panel further revealed that this yet-untitled first of three feature films, which are separate stories and not part of a trilogy, will take place after the conclusion of the original series. 

There is a lot of story to be mined from those unseen years of Aang and his allies, much of which was expanded on in tie-in novels and comics. The final episode of "Avatar: The Last Airbender" even hinted as much, with the still-unresolved thread of Zuko's lost mother (those curious should check out Gene Luen Yang's comic book about that quest, "The Search"). It's unclear whether the first Avatar Studios feature film would simply adapt these existing properties to the big screen, or whether it would create an entirely original story. With series creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino leaving the Netflix series and building this whole franchise on their own terms, I wouldn't be surprised if it's the latter.

Lauren Montgomery, who worked on both "Avatar" and "Legend of Korra" as a storyboard artist and would go on to serve as co-showrunner for "Voltron: Legendary Defender," will be directing the first film. Konietzko and DiMartino will be executive producing alongside Eric Coleman.