Perhaps the jury is still out on what will become of Netflix’s earlier plans for an Avatar: The Last Airbender live-action series that’s been brewing for the last few years. Of course it also remains to be seen how well it will do even without the input of the original creators themselves, series’ original creators, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, following their departure from the series last year due to creative differences.
In any case, the franchise itself hasn’t lost its touch as the inaugural Nickelodeon animated series still generates fan fervor from its current run on Netflix, as does its spin-off, The Legend Of Korra. For this, the franchise continues to self-nourish with just the kind of potential that DiMartino and Konietzko are utilizing as of this week, jointly launching Avatar Studios as its co-chief creative officers under Nickelodeon, with plans to produce an animated theatrical film this year.
The production will be one of several forthcoming series and films based on the hit animated shows, with DiMartino and Konietzko both reporting to Ramsey Naito, President at Nickelodeon Animation. According to an announcement, Avatar Studio’s output will bow on platforms including ViacomCBS’s SVOD-based Paramount+, as well as Nickelodeon’s own linear and digital platforms, and other third-party platforms and in theaters.
“Avatar: The Last Airbender and Korra have grown at least ten-fold in popularity since their original hit runs on Nickelodeon, and Ramsey Naito and I are incredibly excited to have Mike and Bryan’s genius talent on board to helm a studio devoted to expanding their characters and world into new content and formats for fans everywhere,” said Brian Robbins, President, ViacomCBS Kids & Family. “Creator-driven stories and characters have long been the hallmarks of Nickelodeon, and Avatar Studios is a way to give Mike and Bryan the resources and runway to open up their imaginations even more and dive deeper into the action and mythology of Avatar as we simultaneously expand upon that world and the world of content available on Paramount+ and Nickelodeon.”
“It’s hard to believe it’s been 19 years since we created Avatar: The Last Airbender. But even after all that time, there are still many stories and time periods in Aang’s world that we are eager to bring to life. We are fortunate to have an ever-growing community of passionate fans that enjoys exploring the Avatarverse as much as we do. And with this new Avatar Studios venture we have an unparalleled opportunity to develop our franchise and its storytelling on a vast scale, in myriad exciting ways and mediums. We are exceedingly grateful to Brian Robbins and Ramsey Naito for their enthusiasm and respect for the Avatar property and us as its stewards. From the start, they’ve supported our ambitious plans and created a positive, proactive environment for us. We’re excited to be back at Nickelodeon where Avatar began, doing what we do best in the biggest way possible. We can’t wait to build the great teams and productions to make all of this fantasy a reality,” said Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino.