Why Netflix's Live-Action 'Avatar: The Last Airbender' May Face Challenges in Matching the Success of 'One Piece - scenesing - TV - GAMING - MOVIES
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Why Netflix’s Live-Action ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ May Face Challenges in Matching the Success of ‘One Piece

by Lidia Lucovic

While Netflix’s “Avatar: The Last Airbender” holds promise, it is likely to face challenges in matching the live-action acclaim and commercial success of “One Piece.” Given that Netflix’s forthcoming adaptation of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” is not the initial attempt at bringing the beloved animated series to life, skepticism is natural among audiences. This skepticism primarily stems from the disappointment that was M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Last Airbender” movie, which failed to live up to expectations. However, Netflix has introduced some intriguing changes to the storyline and has even unveiled promotional images that indicate a superior adaptation in comparison to M. Night Shyamalan’s rendition.

The triumph of “One Piece” in its live-action incarnation reaffirms that, despite previous stumbles with anime and manga adaptations, Netflix has seemingly unraveled the formula for crafting engaging remakes. Conversely, the resounding success of “One Piece” also raises a critical concern regarding the potential quality and overall performance of “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” The crux of the matter lies in the absence of a pivotal element in “Avatar: The Last Airbender” that “One Piece” in its live-action iteration benefits from.

In the realm of live-action anime and manga adaptations, productions typically function as distinct entities with minimal involvement from their original creators. Netflix’s adaptation of “One Piece,” however, deviated from this norm. As revealed by director Emma Sullivan in an interview with Screen Rant, the show’s creators ensured that Eiichiro Oda remained integral to the decision-making process, permitting creative liberties only with his explicit approval. The director also recounted an instance in which Oda expressed dissatisfaction with Kuina and young Zoro wearing Kendo masks during their fight scene, leading to a reshoot of the sequence with the masks removed to align with Oda’s artistic vision.

One of the editors of “One Piece,” Tessa Verfus, expressed profound gratitude for the invaluable presence of Eiichiro Oda, emphasizing that securing his approval played a pivotal role in the show’s triumph. Multiple accounts indicate that Eiichiro Oda was actively present on the set during the filming of “One Piece,” with the production team frequently seeking his endorsement for the portrayal of various elements in the show. Oda’s guidance wielded a transformative influence on the live-action adaptation, as it garnered an overwhelmingly positive response from both audiences and critics who lauded its fidelity to the source material and its ability to capture the awe-inspiring essence characteristic of Oda’s narratives.

The resounding success of Netflix’s “One Piece” underscores the indispensable nature of the original creators’ involvement in the realization of live-action adaptations of anime and manga. Regrettably, “Avatar: The Last Airbender” on Netflix is poised to embark on a divergent course from “One Piece,” as the creators of the original animated series, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, ceased their participation in the live-action remake. Reports suggest that Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko initially assumed the roles of executive producers and showrunners but eventually opted to withdraw due to disparities in the project’s progression and alignment with their vision.

In an open letter, Michael Dante DiMartino elaborated on the live-action adaptation of the original animated series by Netflix, acknowledging the potential for it to be well-executed. However, he expressed that it diverged significantly from what he and Bryan Konietzko had initially conceived or intended to create. The departure of both DiMartino and Konietzko cast a shadow over the Netflix series, raising concerns that the creative vision had undergone substantial alterations, straying from the essence of the source material. Furthermore, their exit signaled that the remake was being entrusted to individuals with limited experience, introducing an element of risk. While it remains possible that Netflix’s “Avatar: The Last Airbender” could surpass expectations, the absence of a crucial element that contributed to “One Piece’s” success leaves room for skepticism regarding its potential.

In 2021, it was officially disclosed that Nickelodeon, a subsidiary of Paramount Global through Paramount, had established an autonomous content division called Avatar Studios. This division’s primary mission is to expand upon the lore and world-building of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and “The Legend of Korra.” Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko were appointed as the co-chief creative officers of this division. Additionally, it was announced that the inaugural project to emerge from the studio would be an original animated theatrical film. This announcement introduced a competitive challenge for Netflix, as Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko’s fresh contributions to the Avatar franchise could pose a direct threat to Netflix’s live-action remake.

While many specifics about the upcoming animated Avatar film remain undisclosed, it has been slated for release on October 10, 2025. Given that the Netflix series is poised for its debut in 2024, it is improbable that the initial incarnations of the Last Airbender universe will directly overlap. However, the situation may differ when considering prospective sequels and additional components of both Avatar: The Last Airbender intellectual properties (IPs). This scenario gives rise to apprehensions about the potential of Netflix’s live-action adaptation to attain a level of success akin to that of “One Piece.

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