Nickelodeon last month announced the launch of Avatar Studios, a division designed to create original Avatar: The Last Airbender content spanning animated series and movies set in the franchise’s world. The first project of the studio, led by the original series’ creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, is an animated theatrical film that is set to start production later this year.
In an interview with Deadline tied to the Nickelodeon upfront presentation, the network president Brian Robbins lifted the veil a bit on the plans for the franchise beyond the first feature announced at the ViacomCBS Streaming Event presentation.
“We are in the early stages of developing and exploring what we are calling an entire Avatar Airbender universe,” he said. “Mike and Bryan are hard at work, and I think that universe will encompass definitely a theatrical film, animation, certainly multiple TV series and probably multiple films. I think we will be ready very soon to tell the world what is coming first but we are not there yet because we’re in early stages of creative development.”
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The new series will join the two existing Avatar animated series, Nickelodeon’s 2005 Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, which have reached a new generation of young fans through streaming on Netflix.
Netflix has a new original live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series coming up, done without the involvement of DiMartino and Konietzko.
The deal for that series was made before Robbins joined Nickelodeon, and he hinted that most projects through the Avatar Studios would likely remain within the ViacomCBS ecosystem, with Paramount+ and Nickelodeon and primary destinations. (The studio also is designed to supply third-party platforms and create movies for theatrical release.)
“We are excited about filling our own platforms today,” he said. “We will strategically license context to other places for different reasons but mostly our focus is on filling our own platforms starting with linear TV.”
Avatar: The Last Airbender, which aired for three seasons, follows the adventures of the main protagonist Aang and his friends, who must save the world by defeating Fire Lord Ozai and ending the destructive war with the Fire Nation. The Legend of Korra launched on Nickelodeon in 2012 and ran for four seasons.
The property was subsequently translated into a ongoing graphic novel series written by TV series co-creator DiMartino and a live-action feature film starring Dev Patel and directed by M. Night Shyamalan.
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