Avatar: The Last Airbender - Book 3: Fire, Vol. 4 courtesy Nickelodeon & Paramount Home Ent.
Ever since the "Day of the Black Sun" two-part episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender was broadcast on Nickelodeon this past November, fans of the show have waited - often impatiently - for new episodes to air.

It didn't help when word spread on the Internet that the following two episodes ("The Western Air Temple" and "The Firebending Masters") had aired in Canada during late December and mid-January, but still hadn't been seen in the U.S.

There are supposed to be ten more installments of the popular animated series before it concludes its third(and final) season - and before it heads to movie screens in 2010 as " The Last Airbender", the first in a trilogy of live-action films by M. Night Shyamalan. When can fans expect to see the rest of the story?

The powers that be answered this question over the weekend at the New York Comic Con. Saturday night, there was an Avatar panel moderated by Megan Casey of Nickelodeon, and featuring show creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. The panel started with (and ended with an encore running of) a trailer for the remaining episodes that declared "The Journey Concludes July 2008".

Recently Nick's DVD distribution partner, Paramount Home Entertainment, announced that the final 6 episodes (including the 4-part finale "Sozin's Comet") will appear on the July 29th DVD release of Avatar: The Last Airbender - Book 3: Fire, Volume 4, so the timing is certainly right for that disc to arrive in stores right after a series-ending broadcast! But what about the planned May 6th release of the 3rd Volume DVD? Would it get delayed?

I wasn't able to personally be at the NY Comic Con over the weekend, but my friends at ToonZone.net made it. ToonZone writer Ed Liu reports that "Privately, a Nickelodeon PR representative confirmed that the release date for the third DVD of the season will not change from May 6, 2008, meaning that several episodes of the show will be available on DVD well before they air on television."

At the discussion panel, the question was asked as to why any episodes would air in Canada first, Tthe response from DiMartino reportedly was "We'd like to know more about that ourselves".

So the May 6th DVD release of Avatar: The Last Airbender - Book 3: Fire, Volume 3 is still on, and will contain "Day of the Black Sun, Part 2: The Eclipse" (already aired in the USA), "The Western Air Temple" (aired in Canada, but not in the USA), "The Firebending Masters" (also aired in Canada, but not in the USA), "The Boiling Rock: Part 1" and "The Boiling Rock: Part 2" (neither part has aired in North America yet).

On July 29th we'll see Avatar: The Last Airbender - Book 3: Fire, Volume 4, with "The Southern Raiders," "Ember Isle Players" and the four-part finale "Sozin's Comet". All episodes on that disc should have been broadcast on Nickelodeon by the time that DVD is in stores. Both of these single-disc releases will contain audio commentaries by the people behind the show and an exclusive comic book enclosed in the package.

If Nickelodeon and Paramount follow the "second week of September" schedule that they used in 2006 for the consolidated first season set, and again in 2007 for the consolidated second season set, then we should reasonably see Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Complete Book 3 arrive in stores on September 9, 2008, but that's just guesswork at this time. We'll let you know when the studio officially announces that! - David Lambert