'Avatar: The Last Airbender' Live-Action Series Reveals First Concept Art

Today, Netflix shocked Avatar: The Last Airbender fans by announcing that a live-action reimagining of the beloved Nickelodeon animated series. The announcement was accompanied by the first concept art for the series.

The concept art shows a sky bison nuzzling what looks like an air nomad. If we were to hazard a guess, we’d see this is probably Aang and his trusty companion Appa.

Take a look below:

Avatar the Last Airbender Netflix
(Photo: John Staub, Netflix)

The concept art was created by John Staub, who was apparently recreating some artwork that Avatar: The Last Airbender co-creator Bryan Konietzko revealed in July. Konietzko’s art was in itself an updated take on some very early concept art he created for the original Avatar: The Last Airbender. That artwork can be found in Dark Horse’s Avatar: The Last Airbender: Art of the Animated Series collection.

Konietzko created Avatar: The Last Airbender with Brian DiMartino. The series premiered in 2005 on Nickelodeon and concluded in 2008. The series takes plays in a world where certain individuals are born “bender,” able to manipulate one of the four classical elements - wind, water, fire, and earth.

The series follows Aang, the latest reincarnation of the Avatar, the one being in all the world who can manipulate all four of the elements. The Avatar typically plays the role of peacekeeper among the four nations of the world, the Earth Kingdom, the Fire Nation, the Water Tribe, and the Air Nomads. When he goes missing, the world is thrown out of balance as the Fire Nation wages war against the others.

The series begins when Aang is discovered frozen in ice by a brother and sister from the Water Tribe, the waterbender Katara and her brother Sokka. Together they travel the world to help Aang gain the skills and knowledge he’ll need to defeat the Firelord and restore balance.

The series was praised for its animation, which adapted the fluid motions of martial arts into its system of elemental bending, for its world influenced by Asian culture, and for its strong characters and story.

Director M. Night Shyamalan adapted the series into a live-action film previously. It was a box office flop and widely panned by fans and critics.

Konietzko and DiMartino created a follow-up series, The Legend of Korra, that returned to the world of Avatar years after Aang’s death to follow his successor as Avatar. That series concluded in 2014, but the stories of both Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra have continued in comics published by Dark Horse. The first novels set in the Avatar universe are also set for release.

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The live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender will go into production in 2019.