In May, Netflix brought the widely acclaimed Nickelodeon series “Avatar: The Last Airbender” to its lineup. Like me, you’ve probably quickly zipped through the three seasons of the Gaang’s adventures. Whether you’re a new or returning fan, finishing the series has likely left you hungry for more. I’m happy to report there is a lot more content for fans who aren’t ready to leave the world of the Avatar.
1. An “Avatar: The Last Airbender” Movie To Skip
Before we begin, I want to warn you about some content that is best avoided. Returning fans will know I am referencing the infamously horrible movie adaptation by M. Night Shyamalan. For fans unfamiliar with the movie, it came out in 2010 and features many questionable decisions regarding actors, writing and 3D graphics. Although the movie is currently available on Netflix, there is no point in wasting any time on viewing the disaster.
2. For Fans Looking to Continue on the Gaang’s Adventures
There have been a number of graphic novels released depicting Aang, Katara, Sokka, Toph and Zuko.
The graphic novels, set during the original run of the series, are known as “The Lost Adventures.” Additionally, there is a second anthology of unrelated stories, titled “Team Avatar Tales.” A new story set during the events of “Book Two: Earth” is set to release in October, and is titled “Katara and the Pirate’s Silver.”
After the ending of “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” different creators published a number of graphic novels. Released in trilogies, these stories depict the aftermath of the war, Aang’s adjustment to living as a fully realized Avatar and Zuko’s new role as Firelord.
Currently, there are six stories in the trilogies. Each trilogy focuses on a different issue, including the highly anticipated conclusion surrounding the mystery of Zuko’s mother.
3. For Fans Wanting Prequels
If you’re looking for stories about the world before Aang and the Hundred Year War, F.C. Ye and Michael Dante DiMartino wrote a new series of books centering on Avatar Kyoshi. Kyoshi is the Avatar preceding Aang’s spirit guide, Ruko. In “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” she is notorious for taking any means necessary to fulfill her Avatar duties, including murder.
The first of the books is called “Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Legend of Kyoshi,” which follows Kyoshi’s life as a servant to a friend thought to be the Avatar, and her eventual realization that she was the Avatar all along. The next installment in the series comes out on July 21, and will continue to recount the early days of her 230-year-long life.
4. For Fans Wanting Sequels
“The Legend of Korra,” a sequel series for “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” arrived in 2012. The series follows the next Avatar in the cycle, Korra; Aang passed on before the events of the show, which takes place 70 years after the events of the original series. There are some familiar faces that pop up, including Katara, and later Zuko and Toph. The series also introduces Aang and Katara’s children and grandchildren, and the rebuilding of Air Nomad culture.
The themes of “The Legend of Korra” are darker and more mature than “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” Korra and the new Team Avatar are older than the cast of the original series, so the new show tends toward heavier themes, including theology and sociopolitical commentary. Like most add-ons to great works, “The Legend of Korra” has received apt criticism from a variety of sources but most is due to Nickelodeon’s poor treatment of the series.
Even though the “Avatar” universe has received abundant praise since it first came out, it seems Nickelodeon doesn’t understand the gold mine it’s sitting on. “The Legend of Korra” and its creators faced constant threats of cancellation. Nickelodeon ultimately pulled the show entirely and decided to air its last season online. The treatment of “The Legend of Korra” is a testament to Nickelodeon’s lapse in judgement.
It’s important to note that Korra has a number of graphic novels expanding her story as well. “Friends for Life” and “Lost Pets” are short stories that follow a young Korra and a story about Aang’s grandchild, respectively. Longer works titled “Turf Wars” and “Ruins of an Empire” take place directly after the events of the series.
5. The New Netflix Live-Action Adaptation of “Avatar: The Last Airbender”
In 2018, Netflix announced its intention to create an “Avatar: The Last Airbender” live-action remake. Understandably, many fans of the show were worried that Netflix would butcher the “Avatar” world and its characters. Fortunately, Netflix discussed a few key components beforehand to ensure a proper retelling of the story, including bringing the original creators on board as executive producers.
Hopefully, the remake of the show will go more in-depth into the “Avatar” world. Netflix also has the potential to explore darker themes than the original PG cartoon.
For example, the new show could provide a better understanding of how the Fire Nation committed its Air Nomad genocide. They could alternatively explore the major effects of the Hundred Year War. In doing so, Netflix could provide insight into how our own world engages with imperialism and war.
The adaptation does not yet have a release date, even though Netflix made the announcement nearly two years ago. Already, the creators had pushed production back to 2020, but the effects of the pandemic may postpone it even more.
6. Rewatch the Original “Avatar: The Last Airbender”
Finally, the best cure for wanting more “Avatar: The Last Airbender” is simply rewatching the original cartoon series. The show itself rewards its fans for rewatching. The creators made the show incredibly detailed, and there are so many things that could be missed on the first, second and even third watch. For example, it took me until my most recent viewing to realize Aang’s headband in “The Headband” is supposed to be his belt. This is just one small detail, but it attests to the care put into the show.