Avatar: The Last Airbender
|Avatar: The Last Airbender|
|Also known as||Avatar: The Legend of Aang|
|Created by||Michael Dante DiMartino
|Written by||Michael Dante DiMartino
Elizabeth Welch Ehasz
|Directed by||Lauren MacMullan
Joaquim Dos Santos
|Voices of||Zach Tyler Eisen
Dee Bradley Baker
Mako (Seasons 1–2)
Greg Baldwin (Season 3)
|Composer(s)||Jeremy Zuckerman, Benjamin Wynn|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||61 (List of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Michael Dante DiMartino
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Nickelodeon Animation Studios
|Picture format||NTSC 4:3 (480i)|
|Original run||February 21, 2005– July 19, 2008|
|Preceded by||Zuko's Story (comic)|
|Followed by||Avatar: The Last Airbender (comics)
The Legend of Korra (TV series)
Avatar: The Last Airbender (Avatar: The Legend of Aang in some regions) is an American television series that aired for three seasons on Nickelodeon from 2005 to 2008. Avatar: The Last Airbender is set in an Asiatic-like world in which some people are able to manipulate the classical elements by use of psychokinetic variants of Chinese martial arts, known as "bending". The show combined the styles of anime and American cartoons, and relied on the imagery of various East Asian, Inuit, Southeast Asian, South Asian, and New World societies. Therefore, the series regularly enters the conversation regarding its consideration as an anime work.
The series follows the adventures of protagonist twelve-year-old Aang and his friends, who must bring peace and unity to the world by ending the Fire Lord's war against the other three nations. The pilot episode first aired on February 21, 2005, and the series concluded with a widely praised two-hour episode on July 19, 2008. The show is obtainable from various sources, including DVD, the iTunes Store, the Zune Marketplace, the Xbox Live Marketplace, the PlayStation Store, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and the Nicktoons Network.
Throughout its run, Avatar: The Last Airbender was universally acclaimed by audiences and critics alike. Praises went to the art direction, humor, cultural references, characters, and themes. It was also commercially successful, garnering 5.6 million viewers on its best-rated showing and receiving high ratings in the Nicktoons lineup, even outside of its 6- to 11-year-old demographic. The series has been nominated for and won awards from the Annie Awards, the Genesis Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award and a Peabody Award, among others. The first season's success prompted Nickelodeon to order second and third seasons.
In other media, the series has spawned a critically panned, but financially successful, live-action film, titled The Last Airbender, directed by M. Night Shyamalan; scaled action figures; a trading card game; three video games; stuffed animals distributed by Paramount Parks and two Lego sets. An art book was also released in mid-2010. A sequel series, The Legend of Korra, aired from 2012 to 2014.
- 1 Series overview
- 2 Characters
- 3 Production
- 4 Reception
- 5 Other media
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Avatar: The Last Airbender takes place in a world home to humans and hybrid animals, adjacent to a parallel Spirit World. Human civilization is divided into four nations: the Water Tribes, the Earth Kingdom, the Fire Nation, and the Air Nomads. Each nation has a distinct society, wherein people known as "benders" have the ability to manipulate and control the element of their nation using the physical motions of martial arts. The show's creators based each bending style on an existing martial art, leading to clear visual and physical differences in the techniques used by Waterbenders (T'ai chi ch'uan), Earthbenders (Hung Ga kung fu, or Southern Praying Mantis Style), Firebenders (Northern Shaolin kung fu) and Airbenders (Baguazhang).
At any given time, only one person in the world is capable of bending all four elements: the Avatar, who serves as an international arbiter. When the Avatar dies, the Avatar spirit is reincarnated into the next one of the four nations in the Avatar Cycle: the Fire Nation, Air Nomads, Water Tribe, Earth Kingdom, in order. An Avatar incarnation is born male or female, and is required to master each bending art in seasonal order, starting with its native land's element. Additionally, the Avatar can enter a trance known as the Avatar State: normally a defense mechanism until placed, by mental discipline, under control, wherein the current Avatar briefly gains the knowledge and abilities of all past Avatars. Should an Avatar ever be killed in the Avatar State, the reincarnation cycle is broken and the rôle of Avatar destroyed. Through the various incarnations, the Avatar maintains a relative equality among the nations while serving as mediator between humans and spirits. The origin of the Avatar cycle is revealed in the sequel series The Legend of Korra, as the result of a young man named Wan combining his soul with the spirit 'Raava' to imprison her opponent, Vaatu. The sequel series also revealed that bending was originally bestowed by the immense 'Lion Turtles', before Wan closed the portals allowing spirits to freely enter the mortal world.
The events 100 years before the beginning of the show are revealed gradually and out of order throughout the series. More than a century before the beginning of the series, the ruler of the Fire Nation, Fire Lord Sozin, planned a world war to expand his territory, but Avatar Roku prevented him from carrying out his plan. Sozin resumed his campaign after Roku died. At Roku's death, the Avatar was reincarnated as an Airbender, named Aang, who learned of his Avatar status when twelve years old. Aang, frightened of his new responsibilities and of separation from his mentor Gyatso, fled his home on his flying bison, Appa. The two were forced into the ocean by a storm, with Aang entering the Avatar State and encasing them both in an iceberg, in suspended animation, for one hundred years. Sozin, knowing the nature of the Avatar's reincarnation cycle, carried out genocide of the Air Nomads during the passing of a comet that increased the Firebenders' firepower, which was later named after him, and spent his remaining days searching for the eponymous "Last Airbender". As the Fire Nation's Hundred Year War continued, Sozin was succeeded as Fire Lord by his son, Azulon, who in turn passed the title to his youngest son, Ozai, who appears in the series as antagonist.
Season One (Book One: Water)
Katara, a fourteen-year-old Southern Tribe Waterbender, and her older brother, Sokka, find and revive Aang and Appa. Aang learns of the war occurring in his absence, and the siblings join him to reach the Northern Water Tribe at the North Pole, so that he and Katara can learn Waterbending from a master. Aang's return attracts the attention of prince Zuko, the exiled son of Ozai, who pursues the three thereafter. Aang is also pursued by Zhao, a Fire Nation militant who intends to win Ozai's favor and rob Zuko of his redemption.
En route to the North Pole, Aang meets the Kyoshi Warriors (established by an eponymous previous Avatar) and his childhood friend, King Bumi, attempts to learn Firebending from the deserter Firebending master, Jeong Jeong, and gains a traveling companion in a winged lemur he names Momo. Aang discovers the genocide of his people while visiting the Southern Air Temple. During the winter solstice, Aang meets his predecessor, Roku. At the Northern Water Tribe, Aang and Katara learn advanced Waterbending from its Master, Pakku, while Sokka falls in love with Princess Yue, the tribal chief's daughter. Zhao lays siege to the Northern Water Tribe, seizing the mortal forms of the Ocean and Moon Spirits, the source of waterbending, and thus causing a lunar eclipse. When urged to desist by General Iroh (Ozai's elder brother) Zhao kills the moon spirit to render the Waterbenders powerless. Aang uses his Avatar State and combines with the Ocean Spirit to drive off the enemy's fleet while Princess Yue sacrifices her life to revive the Moon Spirit. When Ozai hears of Iroh's resistance to Zhao, he sends his daughter, Azula, to capture Iroh and Zuko.
Season Two (Book Two: Earth)
After leaving the Northern Water Tribe, Aang continues to master Waterbending under Katara's tutelage as the group searches for an Earthbending teacher. Their search brings them to Toph Beifong, a twelve-year-old blind tomboy and Earthbending prodigy who wants independence from her upper-class family. Pursued by Azula, Zuko and Iroh lead new lives in the Earth Kingdom, first as wanderers and later as refugees in the capital of Ba Sing Se. At a library guarded by the spirit Wan Shi Tong, Aang and his group learn that an imminent solar eclipse could allow them to stop the Fire Nation before Sozin's Comet arrives. Their journey to Ba Sing Se to inform the Earth King of this is complicated when Appa is kidnapped. At the city, they find the Earth King Kuei and Ba Sing Se manipulated by Long Feng, the leader of the Dai Li secret police.
After Aang's group finds Appa and exposes Long Feng, Toph is captured, but escapes by 'Metalbending', while Aang attempts to consciously access the Avatar state. The Dai Li join Azula to instigate a coup d'état of Ba Sing Se; and Zuko, having tried to ignore his past obsession, relapses when the Avatar appears to rescue Katara. As Aang tries to enter the Avatar state, Azula nearly kills him. With Ba Sing Se and the Earth Kingdom now under Fire Nation rule, the group escapes thanks to Iroh, who is imprisoned for betraying the Fire Nation, and Kuei goes into hiding.
Season Three (Book Three: Fire)
Aang recovers from a long coma to find his friends and allies disguised as soldiers on a Fire Nation ship, preparing invasion of the Fire Nation. Despite receiving credit for the Avatar's apparent death, Zuko regrets his role therein. Although the invasion meets great success at first, Aang and his friends are unable to find Ozai and are forced to retreat with many of their allies captured. At the same time, having learned of his father's intention to destroy the Earth Kingdom at the time of Sozin's Comet, Zuko leaves the palace to teach Aang Firebending. As the comet approaches, Aang becomes reluctant to kill Ozai, and goes alone to consult his predecessors' ghosts. Katara and the others unsuccessfully search for Aang, and find the newly escaped Iroh, joined by the other members of a secret society called the Order of the White Lotus: Bumi, Master Pakku, Jeong-Jeong, and Master Piandao (a master swordsman who taught Sokka). Together, the Order of the White Lotus liberates Ba Sing Se. Sokka, Toph, and Kyoshi Warrior Suki hinder the Fire Nation's airships, while Zuko and Katara prevent Azula from becoming the new Fire Lord. As Sozin's Comet arrives, Aang confronts Ozai, but finds himself in a losing battle until Ozai mistakenly re-establishes Aang's connection to the Avatar State. Thus enabled, Aang strips Ozai of his fire-bending powers, instead of killing him. Soon after, Zuko is crowned the new Fire Lord and initiates an armistice. The series ends in a meeting of all the protagonists at Ba Sing Se, where Aang and Katara hug and kiss beneath the sunset.
- Aang (voiced by Zach Tyler Eisen) is the twelve-year-old, fun-loving, Airbending protagonist of the series. Although averse to fighting, Aang is fiercely protective of his friends. He is the current incarnation of the planet's Avatar Spirit, and is therefore required to act as arbiter among the various people. According to DiMartino and Konietzko, the arrow-like tattoos on his forehead and arms mark Aang as an Airbending master; Aang being the youngest Airbender in history to have earned them. His mentor, Monk Gyatso, was the greatest Airbender who had ever lived, according to Aang.
- Katara (voiced by Mae Whitman) is the fourteen-year-old last Waterbender of the Southern Water Tribe. She and her brother Sokka accompany Aang on his quest to defeat the Fire Lord. Eventually she becomes his Waterbending master. Katara is one of the only two surviving waterbenders of the Southern Water Tribe (the other being Hama) and one of only two Waterbenders able to manipulate and control human bodies by bending the water and liquids therein, known as bloodbending (an ability used twice in the series). Katara is usually kind-hearted and generous, but is deeply hurt, hostile, and often angered by the slightest betrayal or ingratitude.
- Sokka (voiced by Jack DeSena) is a fifteen-year-old non-bender warrior of the Southern Water Tribe. With his younger sister Katara, he accompanies Aang on his quest to defeat the Fire Lord. Sokka describes himself as "meat-loving" and "sarcastic", and is often a source of comic relief. Sokka's first love interest is Suki, the leader of the Kyoshi Island Warriors. At the end of season one, he falls in love with Princess Yue of the Northern Water Tribe. Following her transformation into the moon spirit, he mourns for her, but returns to Suki. Unlike his companions, Sokka does not have any bending ability; his skill lies largely in mechanics and the sword. His chief weapons are a metallic boomerang, a blunt metal battle club, a Water Tribe machete, and later a black jian created from the metals of a meteorite.
- Toph Beifong (voiced by Jessie Flower), a twelve-year-old blind female Earthbending prodigy, and Aang's Earthbending instructor. Being blind, Toph "sees" by feeling vibrations in the ground through her feet using Earthbending. This ability also enables her to feel the pulses of one's heart, allowing her to tell if someone is lying. She is later shown developing a method of 'Metalbending' by detecting impurities in the metal. She was strictly taught only the basics of Earthbending by a tutor but learned its original form from badger-moles, the original Earthbenders. Toph also has a crush on Sokka.
- Zuko (voiced by Dante Basco) is the sixteen-year-old Firebender, exiled prince of the Fire Nation. He is the original antagonist of the first season, an antihero in the second season, and a protagonist in third season. He is determined and strong-willed, and rarely shows compassion until the third season. During season two, Zuko struggles to deal with his anger, self-pity, and complex familial relationships, as well as the choice between good and evil. He takes on the vigilante identity of the "Blue Spirit" throughout season one and season two. In season three, he defects from the Fire Nation to become Aang's firebending master. At the end of the series, he is crowned ruler of the Fire Nation.
- Appa (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) is Aang's flying bison, who serves as the protagonists' mode of transport around the world. He remains in suspended animation with Aang for one hundred years and shares a strong bond with him. He possesses the ability to fly and can use his tail to create powerful gusts of air. According to Aang, the flying bison were the first Airbenders.
- Momo (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) is an intelligent and curious winged lemur discovered by Aang at the Southern Air Temple. He often picks fights with other winged and smaller creatures and with Appa over food. He can understand Aang's speech, but less so of others'. In "Tales of Ba Sing Se", Momo's name was written as 模模 (mó mó). Momo means "peach" in Japanese (he grabbed a peach out of Sokka's hand just as Aang was about to name him), but it is written 桃 (táo).
- Iroh (voiced by Mako Iwamatsu/Greg Baldwin) is a former general of the Fire Nation, known as the Dragon of the West, and Prince Zuko's paternal uncle and mentor. Iroh was the heir to the Fire Nation throne until Ozai usurped the throne. On the surface, Iroh is a cheerful, kind, optimistic, eccentric old man, but remains a powerful warrior and a devoted surrogate parent to Zuko. Iroh is a Grand Master of the Order of the White Lotus, a secret society of men from all nations. Unlike most Firebenders, Iroh does not use anger as the source of his strength, relying instead on Firebending secrets learned from the Dragons.
- Azula (voiced by Grey DeLisle) is the princess of the Fire Nation, Zuko's younger sister and one of the primary antagonists of the series. Although she is much older in appearance, it is confirmed by the official website that she is intended to be 14, making her two years younger than her brother. Azula is a Firebending prodigy and is one of the few living Firebenders capable of casting lightning. She is a cunning master at manipulation and a great leader, using fear to control her subjects and friends alike, reserving loyalty solely for her father. She is meticulous and calculating, but also a perfectionist. At the end of season three, she loses her sanity altogether as a result of a fragile mental state broken by the betrayal of her friends, the loss of her father, and her elevation to a position of power. She is defeated by Zuko and Katara in a duel.
- Suki (voiced by Jennie Kwan) is the leader of the young and exclusively female Kyoshi Warriors, a sect established by Avatar Kyoshi. She is an exceptionally skilled fighter and staunch ally of the protagonists. She was imprisoned by the Fire Nation after the Kyoshi Warriors were defeated by Azula, but she was ultimately released by Sokka and Zuko. She remained with the protagonists thereafter and fought with Toph and Sokka to disable the Fire Nation's air force. She was Sokka's love interest immediately following the end of the War.
- Mai (voiced by Cricket Leigh) is the best friend of Ty Lee. Mai herself lacks bending, but she is agile, swift, and skilled in throwing darts and knives. She assists Azula throughout most of her role, but she ultimately decides to abandon Azula. She is also Zuko's girlfriend.
- Ty Lee (voiced by Olivia Hack) is an acrobat who fights alongside Azula against the protagonists, notable for her appearance of vivacity, innocence, and youth, and for her ability to disable enemies by temporarily obstructing the chi in their limbs. Having abandoned Azula, she joins the Kyoshi Warriors, whom she had earlier impersonated.
- Fire Lord Ozai (voiced by Mark Hamill) ruler of the Fire Nation, is the father of Zuko and Azula, younger brother of Iroh, and the supreme antagonist of the series. Ozai is depicted as a cruel and merciless leader, and is described as "the worst father in the history of fathers" by his son Zuko, of whom he reportedly thought banishment too light a punishment. He favors Azula over Zuko, because he sees her as a firebending prodigy and sees his own beliefs embodied in her. In "Sozin's Comet: The Final Battle", he renames himself the Phoenix King, ruler of the world, and appoints Azula to watch over the Fire Nation alone; but is defeated by Aang, who removes Ozai's ability to firebend.
Avatar: The Last Airbender was co-created and produced by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko at Nickelodeon Animation Studios in Burbank, California. Animation work was mostly done by three animation studios in South Korea: JM Animation, DR Movie, and MOI Animation. According to Bryan Konietzko, the program was conceived in the spring of 2001 when he took an old sketch of a balding, middle-aged man and re-imagined the character as a child. Konietzko drew the character herding bison in the sky, and showed the sketch to Mike DiMartino. At the time, DiMartino was studying a documentary about explorers trapped in the South Pole. Konietzko described their early development of the concept:
|“||We thought, "There's an air guy along with these water people trapped in a snowy wasteland... and maybe some fire people are pressing down on them..."||”|
The co-creators successfully pitched the idea to Nickelodeon vice president and executive producer Eric Coleman just two weeks later.
The series was first revealed to the public in a teaser reel at Comic-Con 2004, and aired February 21, 2005. In the United States, the first two episodes of the series were shown together in a one-hour premiere event. A second twenty-episode season ran from March 17, 2006, through December 1. A third and final season, beginning September 21, 2007, featured twenty-one episodes rather than the usual twenty. The final four episodes were packaged as a two-hour movie.
Avatar: The Last Airbender is notable for borrowing extensively from East Asian art and mythology to create its universe. The series' character designs are heavily influenced by Chinese art, history, Hinduism, Taoism and Buddhism, and Yoga. Traditional Chinese calligraphy styles represent nearly all the writing in the series. For each instance of calligraphy, an appropriate style is used, ranging from seal script (more archaic) to clerical script. The show employed a cultural consultant, Edwin Zane, and calligrapher Siu-Leung Lee as consultants for the series' cultural influences. The choreographed martial art bending moves were affected by Asian cinema. In an interview, Bryan revealed that, "Mike and I were really interested in other epic 'Legends & Lore' properties, like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, but we knew that we wanted to take a different approach to that type of genre. Our love for Japanese anime, Hong Kong action and kung fu cinema, yoga, and Eastern philosophies led us to the initial inspiration for Avatar: The Last Airbender." The show's character designs are influenced by anime; but the show is not considered an example of such.
All music and sound used in the series was done by Jeremy Zuckerman and Benjamin Wynn, who formed The Track Team. They experimented with use of a wide range of different instruments, such as the guzheng, pipa, and duduk, to compose background music.
The term "Avatar" comes from Sanskrit (अवतार), wherein means "descent"; its roots are ava, "down," and tri, "to pass". In the Hindu scriptures, avatar signifies the mortal incarnation of a god (usually Vishnu). The Chinese characters apparent at the top of the show's title card mean "the divine medium who has descended upon the mortal world". According to the plot, Aang unknowingly revealed he was the Avatar when by choosing four toys out of thousands, each of which were the childhood toys of previous Avatars. In Tibetan Buddhism, there is a similar test for reincarnations of a Tulku Lama. In Magic and Mystery in Tibet, Alexandra David-Neel writes that "a number of objects such as rosaries, ritualistic implements, books, tea-cups, etc., are placed together, and the child must pick out those which belonged to the late tulku, thus showing that he recognizes the things which were theirs in their previous life". Each successor is expected to show signs of continuity with the previous Avatar, such as being born within a week of the death.
Avatar: The Last Airbender draws on the four classical elements for its bending arts: Water, Earth, Fire, and Air. Although each has its own variation, most ancient philosophies incorporate these four elements: examples include the classical Hindu, Buddhist, and Greek elemental traditions. In the show's opening, each element is accompanied by two Chinese characters: an ancient Chinese seal script character on the left representing the element being shown and a modern Chinese character on the right describing some feature of the element. The character 水 (pinyin: shuǐ), which stands for water, is shown with 善 (pinyin: shàn), which means good and benevolent. The character 土 (pinyin: tǔ), which stands for earth, is shown with 強 (pinyin: qiáng), which means strong and powerful. The character 火 (pinyin: huǒ), which stands for fire, is shown with 烈 (pinyin: liè), which means intense and fierce. Finally, the character 氣 (pinyin: qì), which stands for air, is shown with 和 (pinyin: hé), which means peace/peaceful and harmony/harmonious.
In addition to the use of four classical elements in the series, the fighting styles associated with each element are derived from different styles of Chinese martial arts, for which the film-makers employed Sifu Kisu of the Harmonious Fist Chinese Athletic Association as a consultant. Each fighting style was chosen to represent the element it projected. T'ai chi was used for "Waterbending" in the series, which focuses on alignment, body structure, breath, and visualization. Hung Gar was used for "Earthbending" in the series, and was chosen for its firmly rooted stances and powerful strikes to present the solid nature of earth. Northern Shaolin, which uses strong arm and leg movements was used to represent "Firebending". Ba Gua, which uses dynamic circular movements and quick directional changes, was used for "Airbending". The only exception to these styles is Toph, who can be seen practicing a Chu Gar Southern Praying Mantis style.
When the series debuted, it was rated the best animated television series in its demographic; new episodes averaged 3.1 million viewers each. Many people regard it as a major animated series, and it has gained somewhat of a cult following. A one-hour special showing of "The Secret of the Fire Nation" which aired on September 15, 2006, consisting of "The Serpent's Pass" and "The Drill", gathered an audience of 5.1 million viewers. According to the Nielsen Media Research, the special was the best performing cable television show airing in that week. In 2007, Avatar: The Last Airbender was syndicated to more than 105 countries worldwide, and was one of Nickelodeon's top rated programs. The series was ranked first on Nickelodeon in Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, The Netherlands, Belgium, and Colombia.
The four-part series finale, Sozin's Comet: The Final Battle, received the highest ratings of the series. Its premiere averaged 5.6 million viewers, 95% more viewers than Nickelodeon had received in mid-July 2007. During the week of July 14, it ranked as the most-viewed program for the under-14 demographic. Sozin's Comet: The Final Battle also appeared on iTunes' top ten list of best-selling television episodes during that same week. Sozin's Comet: The Final Battle 's popularity affected online media as well; "Rise of the Phoenix King", a Nick.com online game based on Sozin's Comet: The Final Battle, generated almost 815,000 game plays within three days. IGN listed the complete series as 35th in its list of Top 100 Animated TV Shows.
Awards and nominations
|2005||Pulcinella Awards||Best Action Adventure TV Series||N/A||Won|||
|Best TV Series||N/A||Won|||
|33rd Annie Awards||Best Animated Television Production||N/A||Nominated|||
|Storyboarding in an Animated Television Production||Lauren MacMullan for "The Deserter"||Won|||
|Writing for an Animated Television Production||Aaron Ehasz and John O'Bryan for "The Fortuneteller"||Nominated|||
|2006||34th Annie Awards||Character Animation in a Television Production||Yu Jae Myung for "The Blind Bandit"||Won|||
|Directing in an Animated Television Production||Giancarlo Volpe for "The Drill"||Won|||
|2007||36th Annie Awards||Best Animated Television Production for Children||N/A||Won|||
|Directing in an Animated Television Production||Joaquim Dos Santos for "Sozin's Comet, Part 3: Into the Inferno"||Won|||
|Genesis Awards||Outstanding Children's Programming||"Appa's Lost Days"||Won|||
|59th Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Animated Program||"City of Walls and Secrets"||Nominated|||
|Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation||"Sang-Jin Kim" for "Lake Laogai"||Won|||
|2008||Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards||Favorite Cartoon||N/A||Won|
|Annecy International Animated Film Festival||TV series||Joaquim Dos Santos for "The Day of Black Sun, Part 2: The Eclipse"||Nominated|||
|13th Satellite Awards||Best Youth DVD||Book 3 Fire, Volume 4||Nominated|||
|2009||Golden Reel Awards||Best Sound Editing: Television Animation||"Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang"||Nominated|||
|Kids' choice awards Australia||Fave toon||N/A||Nominated|||
Art and comic books
Dark Horse Comics released an art book titled Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Art of the Animated Series, on June 2, 2010, which contains 184 pages of the original art and creation behind the Avatar: The Last Airbender animated series. Several comic book short stories were published in Nickelodeon Magazine, and on June 15, 2011, Dark Horse released a collection of these and new comics in a single volume, Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Lost Adventures.
Dark Horse also publishes a graphic novel series by Gene Yang that continues Aang's story after the Hundred Years' War. Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise, published in three volumes in 2012, is about the fate of the Fire Nation colonies that eventually become The Legend of Korra 's United Republic. A second set of three comic books, Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Search, focuses on Zuko and Azula and the fate of their mother, Ursa. The third set, Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Rift, shifts the focus to Aang and the process of creating Republic City, as well as Toph's relationship with her family.
Promotion and merchandising
Avatar: The Last Airbender's success has led to some promotional advertising with third-party companies, such as Burger King and Upper Deck Entertainment. Avatar: The Last Airbender-themed roller coasters at Nickelodeon Universe in the Mall of America and one formerly at Kings Island also appeared. During the show's runtime, Nickelodeon published two special issues of Nick Mag Presents dedicated entirely to the show. Various members of the Avatar: The Last Airbender staff and cast appeared at the 2006 San Diego Comic-Con International convention, while Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko appeared with Martial Arts Consultant Sifu Kisu at the Pacific Media Expo on October 28, 2006. Avatar: The Last Airbender also has its own line of T-shirts, LEGO playsets, toys, a trading card game, a cine-manga, and three video games, as well as an MMO.
The Fisher-Price-produced action figure toy line generated some controversy with its exclusion of any female characters. Mattel came to release information stating that they have taken account of Katara's increased role within the program, and that she would be included in the figure assortment for a mid-2007 release. The figure ultimately went unreleased, however, as the entire line was canceled before she could be produced.
Nickelodeon executives have since released optimistic plans for upcoming marketing strategies in regards to Avatar: The Last Airbender. Nickelodeon President Cyma Zarghami openly stated her belief that the franchise "could become their Harry Potter".
A video game trilogy about Avatar: The Last Airbender has been created. Avatar: The Last Airbender, the video game, was released on October 10, 2006. Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Burning Earth was released on October 16, 2007. Avatar: The Last Airbender – Into the Inferno was released on October 13, 2008. The three games were loosely based on seasons one, two and three, respectively. Players can select characters and complete quests to gain experience and advance the storyline. The games were met with mixed to positive reviews (the ratings improved with each game), and the games did extremely well commercially; for example, Avatar: The Last Airbender was THQ's top selling Nickelodeon game in 2006 and even reached Sony CEA's "Greatest Hits" status.
Avatar: Legends of the Arena, a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) for Microsoft Windows, was launched on September 25, 2008, by Nickelodeon. Each user is able to create his or her own character, choose a nation, and interact with others across the globe. Since the 2012 holiday season, the game's servers have been closed.
The first season of the show became the basis for the 2010 live-action film The Last Airbender, written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. It is claimed[by whom?] to be the first movie of a planned trilogy from each of the television 3 seasons. But the film's reception was overwhelmingly negative from both critics and fans alike, earning the film a 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and five Razzies in 2011, including Worst Picture. The film originally shared the title of the television series, but it was changed to The Last Airbender because producers feared it would be confused with the James Cameron film Avatar. The movie received harsh reviews by the critics and the fans of the show. The film version stars Noah Ringer as Aang, Nicola Peltz as Katara, Jackson Rathbone as Sokka, Dev Patel as Zuko, and Shaun Toub as Iroh.
Sequel (The Legend of Korra)
The Legend of Korra, a sequel series to Avatar: The Last Airbender, was announced at the Comic-Con in San Diego on July 22, 2010. It is written and produced by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, the creators and producers of the original series. Initially titled Avatar: Legend of Korra, then The Last Airbender: Legend of Korra, it takes place seventy years after the end of Avatar: The Last Airbender. The first season of 12 episodes aired from April to June 2012, and a second season of 14 episodes aired from September 2013 to November 2013; a third season of 13 episodes aired from June 2014 to August 2014; and a fourth and final season is in post production and scheduled to be released in October 2014. Nickelodeon also awarded an additional 26 episodes to The Legend of Korra, re-announced by co-creator Konietzko at the 2012 Comic-Con in San Diego.
The series' protagonist is Korra, a 17-year-old girl from the Southern Water Tribe and the reincarnation of the Avatar after Aang's death. The character was partly inspired by Avatar Kyoshi of the original series, whom the creators say was popular among fans. To avoid repetition of Aang's adventures during the original series, the creators wanted to root the show in one place: Republic City. A concept drawing of the city, released with the announcement of the series, shows the city's design as inspired by Shanghai, Hong Kong, Manhattan, and Vancouver with a steampunk vibe. In the show's first season, Korra has to learn airbending from Tenzin, the youngest son of Aang and Katara, and contend with Amon's anti-bender revolution taking place in the city. The show's second season also provides the origins of the Avatar Cycle.
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