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Avatar: The Last Airbender Creators Quit Netflix's Live-Action Series, Citing a 'Negative, Unsupportive Environment'

'Even an Air Nomad knows when it's time to cut their losses and move on'

Lindsay MacDonald

We've all been waiting with bated breath for Netflix's Avatar: The Last Airbender live-action series, but it sounds like the project just hit a major snag. In lengthy Instagram posts, original series creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko announced that they have officially quit the show.

"Many of you have been asking me for updates about the Avatar live-action Netflix series," DiMartino wrote."I can finally tell you that I am no longer involved with the project. In June of this year, after two years of development work, Bryan Konietzko and I made the difficult decision to leave the production."

DiMartino alluded to some creative differences behind the scenes while the show has been in development over the last two years. Konietzko said as much in his own statement, criticizing the creative environment at the streaming service.

"When Netflix brought me on board to run this series alongside Mike two years ago, they made a very public promise to support our vision. Unfortunately, there was no follow-through on that promise," Konietzko wrote. "The general handling of the project created what I felt was a negative and unsupportive environment."

Eventually, it sounds like those creative differences became too much to handle, spurring DiMartino and Konietzko to walk away from the series.

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"Productions are challenging," DiMartino said. "Unforeseen events arise. Plans have to change. And when those things have happened at other points during my career, I try to be like an Air Nomad and adapt. I do my best to go with the flow, no matter what obstacle is put in my way. But even an Air Nomad knows when it's time to cut their losses and move on."

TV Guide has learned that the series will still be moving forward, despite DiMartino and Konietzko's departure, with Nickelodeon, Dan Lin, and the team at Rideback attached.

Netflix has released the following statement about this creative shakeup: "We have complete respect and admiration for Michael and Bryan and the story that they created in the Avatar animated series. Although they have chosen to depart the live-action project, we are confident in the creative team and their adaptation."

DiMartino and Konietzko had enough goodwill to wish Netflix and a few of the remaining people involved with the series well, hoping fans would be pleased with their finished product. It's hard to say what this means for the show in the grand scheme of things, but losing DiMartino and Konietzko is definitely a devastating blow. Avatar fans still haven't forgotten the disappointment that was The Last Airbender movie, which similarly moved ahead without DiMartino and Konietzko's creative vision and ultimately released a movie that most fans prefer to pretend doesn't even exist.

The original Avatar: The Last Airbender series is currently streaming on Netflix.

Avatar: The Last Airbender concept art

John Staub