A new day of black sun has arrived for the Avatar: The Last Airbender fans. Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, who created the original critically acclaimed Nickelodeon animated series, have parted ways with the Netflix live-action remake. Both DiMartino and Konietzko were attached as executive producers and showrunners since the project was revealed in 2018, but they have announced that they are exiting the project over the “creative direction.”

DiMartino announced in a post on his website titled “An open letter to Avatar: The Last Airbender fans” that he and Konietzko are parting ways with the Netflix live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series because the two of them couldn’t “control the creative direction of the series.” DiMartino wrote:

When Bryan and I signed on to the project in 2018, we were hired as executive producers and showrunners. In a joint announcement for the series, Netflix said that it was committed to honoring our vision for this retelling and to supporting us on creating the series. And we expressed how excited we were for the opportunity to be at the helm. Unfortunately, things did not go as we had hoped.

Look, things happen. Productions are challenging. Unforeseen events arise. Plans have to change. And when those things have happened at other points during my career, I try to be like an Air Nomad and adapt. I do my best to go with the flow, no matter what obstacle is put in my way. But even an Air Nomad knows when it’s time to cut their losses and move on.

“I realized I couldn’t control the creative direction of the series, but I could control how I responded. So, I chose to leave the project,” DiMartino continued. Netflix is apparently forging on ahead with the live-action remake, which DiMartino added, “has the potential to be good…. 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.”

Considering the lack of updates on the Avatar: The Last Airbender live-action series over the past two years, and the silence on Netflix’s part, maybe this news doesn’t come as a complete surprise. But this is still a massive bummer for fans of the animated series, for whom DiMartino and Konietzko’s involvement with the Netflix project were the only appeal of seeing a live-action remake of a beloved series whose legacy had been nearly destroyed by the disastrous M. Night Shyamalan movie. It certainly doesn’t bode well for the direction of the Netflix series, which could now veer dangerously away from the DiMartino and Konietzko’s original vision, which they had assured would be as close to the animated series as possible (and without that irksome whitewashing). Could this mean Netflix will whitewash the new live-action series after all? Could it be another Shyamalan-level disaster? It’s too early to say.

But Netflix may just lose a lot of the goodwill they gained from bringing the animated Avatar: The Last Airbender to its service earlier this summer, alongside its soon-arriving spin-off The Legend of Korra, with the franchise enjoying an incredible resurgence in popularity from old and new fans. However, DiMartino assures that he will still be involved in the Avatar universe thanks to that renewed popularity. Unfortunately, it just won’t be with the Netflix series.

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