When the Nickelodeon animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender ended in 2008, fans began to look forward to the Last Airbender movie. For casting, script, and production reasons, the movie proved a major disappointment, but fans have remained hopeful that the forthcoming followup series, The Last Airbender: Legend of Korra, will revive their beloved show without trampling all over the original they knew so well.
(image source: screened.com)
The first trailer for Legend of Korra was released to the general public July 25, 2011, and seems to capture the action of the original Avatar, something with which director M. Night Shyamalan struggled in the Last Airbender film. A light moment at the end of the trailer reassures viewers that not only will the fast pace carry over to the new series, but so will the screw-ball sense of humor, a trademark of the original Nickelodeon animation that was utterly lacking in the film.
A New Story
Without revealing more than has been churning in the rumor mill for months, Legend of Korra centers on, oddly enough, Korra, the newest Avatar. In this universe, the Avatar is a spiritual leader with the potential to master and control the four elements: earth, fire, wind, and water. Korra is a member of the water tribe and has already mastered three of the elements; the only one she is missing is air. The series will follow Korra as she sets out to meet and learn from the Last Airbender, the child of Aang.
(image source: Avatar Wikia)
Aang, for those who haven’t seen Avatar: The Last Airbender, was the titular Avatar and last airbender of the previous series. With his race wiped out during war, Aang was the last of his fellows. Until, of course, he was able to pass on his “bending” (elemental manipulation) skill to his child. Korra is seeking Aang’s child, the only person who can teach her airbending and thus help her reach her potential as Avatar.
A Different Place and Time
While the original series took place in a pre-industrial, feudal society with heavy Asian influences, the world of Legend of Korra has moved beyond village societies and into cities. The new series looks to have the same Asian feel as Avatar: The Last Airbender, but it’s unclear if Western, Middle Eastern, or African cultures will be folded in to new world.
What also remains to be seen is if Korra will have the same sort of band of allies as Aang. It made sense for Aang to pick up new friends along the way: he had to find benders to teach him the elements he didn’t already know. However, Korra appears older, thus more mature and less reliant on the security blanket of her constant companions, and she already knows most of the elements, negating the need to seek out lots of different teachers. One suspects that the Avatar isn’t an enemy of a major nation as in the first series and isn’t being constantly hunted this time around, so Korra will be able to travel in the open and more easily meet new people. No doubt, though, she will face major conflict (else, what’s the point?), and will eventually be on the run.
When’s All This Happening?
The Last Airbender: Legend of Korra is currently in production, and two seasons are already planned. With the addition of 14 more episodes, the original airdate for the 26 episode series has been pushed back from November 2011 to sometime in 2012. So it’s coming. Just not terribly soon.