'Avatar: The Last Airbender' Creators Exit Netflix Adaptation

Avatar The Last Airbender (Nickelodeon) TV Series, 2005–2008 - Still 2-Photofest -H 2020
© Nickelodeon Network/Photofest

The creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender have departed a live-action Netflix show based on their animated series.

Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko said in separate statements Wednesday that they came to believe their creative vision for the show wasn't being supported. The show, which Netflix ordered in 2018, is still in development at the streamer.

"When Bryan and I signed on to the project in 2018, we were hired as executive producers and showrunners," DiMartino wrote on his website. "In a joint announcement for the series, Netflix said that it was committed to honoring our vision for this retelling and to supporting us on creating the series. And we expressed how excited we were for the opportunity to be at the helm. Unfortunately, things did not go as we had hoped."

In his own statement on Instagram, Konitetzko wrote that "there was no follow-through" on Netflix's pledge to support the creators' vision for the live-action show. "The general handling of the project created what I felt was a negative and nonsupportive environment," he said, adding: "To be clear, this was not a simple matter of us not getting our way. Mike and I are collaborative people; we did not need all the ideas to come from us. As long as we felt those ideas were in line with the spirit and integrity of Avatar, we would have happily embraced them. However, we ultimately came to the belief that we would not be able to meaningfully guide the direction of the series."

Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that there were creative differences between DiMartino and Konietzko, Netflix and other creatives throughout the development process over how to adapt the animated series to live action. Those differences ultimately led to the creators' departure.

"We have complete respect and admiration for Michael and Bryan and the story that they created in the Avatar animated series," said a Netflix spokesperson. "Although they have chosen to depart the live-action project, we are confident in the creative team and their adaptation."

Netflix is producing the live-action Last Airbender series in partnership with Nickelodeon, which aired the animated original from 2005 to 2008. DiMartino and Konietzko also created sequel series The Legend of Korra, which ran from 2012 to 2014.

Aug. 12, 12:45 p.m. Updated with Netflix statement.