'Avatar: The Last Airbender' - Netflix promises non-whitewashed cast for upcoming live-action film, after weeks of backlash
The promise comes eight years after M. Night Shyamalan's very whitewashed live-action remake of the popular Nickelodeon anime series disappointed fans.
Netflix is known for its knack for taking things and turning them better. After facing a great deal of criticism for their show 'Insatiable' and the more recent film, 'Sierra Burgess is a Loser,' it looks like the streaming giant is taking baby steps towards mending that image. Netflix faced backlash primarily due to issues surrounding the representation of characters. With them announcing a new revival for the popular Nickelodeon animated show “Avatar: The Last Airbender," we could only hope it falls in line with fans' expectations.
Recreated as a live-action series, the original creators of the anime, Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko will be serving as showrunners and executive producers of the upcoming series, which is set to begin production in 2019.
The story of 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' had arrived at Nickelodeon back in February 2005, and after very successful three seasons, it ended in July 2008. For those totally clueless about the series, it follows Aang - an Airbender - who is also the last of his kind and is gifted with powers of manipulating all the four elements of the planet. Teaming up with his friends Katara and Sokka, Aang embarks on a mission to defeat the Fire Nation.
And as the name suggests, Aang is very much Asian and skilled at martial arts - which brings OG fans of the anime to their biggest concern: Will Netflix accidentally mess up representation once again and whitewash the cast? Worry not, the show bosses assure they won't!
“We can’t wait to realize Aang’s world as cinematically as we always imagined it to be, and with a culturally appropriate, non-whitewashed cast,” DiMartino and Konietzko said in a statement. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to build upon everyone’s great work on the original animated series and go even deeper into the characters, story, action, and world-building. Netflix is wholly dedicated to manifesting our vision for this retelling, and we’re incredibly grateful to be partnering with them.”
Even though, it comes eight years after M. Night Shyamalan’s 2010 movie adaptation, which was accused of infamously whitewashing the entire cast with actors like Nicola Peltz and Jackson Rathbone, this does seem like an apology of sorts that fans and followers of the original Avatar would be happy to accept. Also, while Shyamalan’s 'The Last Airbender' is usually used as an example of Hollywood's whitewashing problem at its peak, in recent times, Netflix has acquired quite the spot in terms of accurate representation through movies like 'To All The Boys I've Loved Before.'
At the same time, Netflix's representation of overweight girls out to seek revenge just because they were "fat" once, hasn't worked out for the platform. So here's us hoping it's a fine balance with the Netflix we have always known and loved giving us the live-action 'Avatar' we have always deserved.