Avatar: The Last Airbender Creators Clarify Whether Comics and Novels Are Canon

The Avatar: The Last Airbender universe is expanding. Paramount founded Avatar Studios, headed by Avatar creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, to create new stories in the same universe as the original Avatar and its sequel series, The Legend of Korra. Three animated movies are already in the works. However, before Avatar Studios' founding, Dark Horse Comics published a series of (very good) Avatar: The Last Airbender comics continuing the show's narrative after the series finale. A handful of The Legend of Korra comics followed after that. There has also been a series of novels chronicling the lives of the Avatars who preceded Aang.

But what does Avatar Studios' founding mean for these works' place in the canon? They were introduced as official "continuations" of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Will they be swept away to make room for the new Avatar Studios canon, as Disney did with the old Star Wars Expanded Universe (now Star Wars Legends) upon its purchase of the Star Wars franchise?

DiMartino touched on this while speaking to Comic Con Meta*Pod. His words should encourage fans of those Avatar comics as he says he and the Avatar Studios team are looking at those works as part of the established universe and trying to build upon them.

"We've been involved in all those main ancillary stories, so in our minds it's mostly canon," DiMartino said (transcription via Avatar News). "There's probably some stuff if we may go back, like: 'that doesn't totally line up with this', so there may be some little tweaks here and there, but as of right now we're proceeding as if all this stuff is part of the proper universe and hopefully building on it."

He also specified that they will not be adapting any of the comic books or novels into film or television at this time. "I think the thing we're not doing now– not saying this couldn't happen some day– is, like, we're not adapting the graphic novels into a [movie or] TV show, we're not adapting the YA novels into a movie or TV show," he said. "Again, that could happen in the future."

Konietzko chimed in with a tease. He added, "But we are feeding off of them."

For now, the Avatar: The Last Airbender comics remain canon, though there may be some retcons down the line. What's most interesting is that there are predictions that one of the upcoming movies will be a Zuko-centered film. What most fans seem to hope is that it will be about Zuko's mother, a tantalizing cliffhanger left unresolved at the end of the original series run. But the Avatar: The Last Airbender comic book The Search already told that story. If Avatar Studios isn't adapting any comics, then they're not going to retell that story. Perhaps they will build upon or feed off of it.