Is Netflix's Avatar: The Last Airbender cutting content and changing Aang's character arc? - Upcomer
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Fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender are becoming increasingly worried about the upcoming live-action Netflix remake, with fears that they are cutting content and changing Aang’s character arc.

Netflix are really big into taking classic animated shows, whether they be anime or western cartoons, and remaking them in a live-action format. It started with the controversial Cowboy Bebop, which left fans underwhelmed but took a leap forward with the surprisingly brilliant One Piece remake.

Next on the agenda is the beloved Nickelodeon show Avatar: The Last Airbender, which is a show that has shaped the childhood of kids across the world. While One Piece gave fans hope, many are concerned about what Netflix are doing with Aang and the gang.

Is Netflix’s version of Avatar: The Last Airbender cutting content?

Yes, Netflix’s version of Avatar: The Last Airbender is cutting content from season one of the animated series. In season one, Aang, Katara, and Sokka are making their way to the Northern Water Tribe, so Aang can learn waterbending ahead of his fight with Prince Zuko and the Fire Nation. Their journey to get there isn’t straightforward though, and the trio spends a lot of time getting distracted in several enjoyable filler episodes.

These fun filler episodes will be missing from the live-action remake. The showrunner of the Netflix version told IGN that they had “decided to make Aang’s narrative drive a little clearer,” choosing to focus on the main storyline.

“In the first season of the animated series, he’s kind of going from place to place looking for adventures… It’s a little looser as befits a cartoon. We needed to make sure that he had that drive from the start. And so, that’s a change that we made.”

Aang, Katara, and Sokka standing on a white wall.
Aang and the gang’s detours are not pointless. Image via Nickelodeon

How will this change Aang’s character arc?

Removing these moments will fundamentally change Aang, in a way that has left fans very worried about the show. While these offbeat detours are fun, they also serve to show viewers that Aang is flawed. He’s a hero who has a specific purpose, a heavy burden that he must carry but runs away from it. That’s what makes Aang accepting his destiny even more powerful because we’ve been on the journey with him, through the good and the bad.

When Aang goes on these adventures, he has fun times with Katara and Sokka, and gets into crazy capers along the way, but no matter where he goes, he finds the influence of the Fire Nation. In the end, it’s what pushes him into battle.

Unsurprisingly, fans are not particularly happy about this change, voicing their concerns on the /r/TheLastAirbender subreddit. “The more I hear about the writing direction this show is taking, the more I feel my skepticism was completely valid,” wrote /u/throwawayhelp32414. “There’s a lot to get wrong and it looks less and less promising every time the directors open their mouths.”

“I’m sorry, but this take of the director is very easy to dislike,” agreed andrewdroid. “Pressing Aang to do his duties and remove these episodes where he just pressing to have fun and act like a kid is an honest tell that the director does not understand the character at all.”

How this will all play out in the show remains to be seen, but we don’t have long to wait until we can all find out for ourselves. Avatar: The Last Airbender releases on Netflix on February 22, 2024.