It is undoubtedly a very good time to be an Avatar fan. After a long drought, renewed interest in the franchise (thanks in part to its appearance on Netflix) has led to some new material being greenlit. The most exciting of these announcements was the formation of Avatar Studios, a new studio helmed by the co-creators of the original series, and dedicated to producing new content in the Avatar universe.
Their first project is set to be an animated film, a first for a franchise struggling to overcome the aftertaste of its messy live-action movie from 2010. This news naturally set Avatar fan spaces into a flurry of speculation, producing a wide range of hopes and dreams for what might, and might not, be included in this long-awaited continuation of the Avatar legend.
10 A Sequel
Many fans hope that the upcoming animated Avatar film will answer the questions that have been burning in the fandom imagination since the original series concluded its run. What happened to Zuko’s mom? What about Azula? And, generally, more detail on what happened between the events of The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra.
The characters of the original series are the ones that made fans fall in love with the Avatar universe, after all, so it would make a good amount of sense for the original creators of the show to mark their triumphant return to the franchise with the cast that everyone already knows and loves.
9 A Prequel
With a fanbase as big and as vocal as Avatar‘s, there’s by no means a consensus on what time period the upcoming film needs to be set in. Many want a sequel, yes, but yet others want the story to flesh out the tale of an older Avatar in more detail. In the running for such a treatment is fan-favorite Avatar Kyoshi, the relentless warrior for whom Kyoshi Island is named.
At the same time though, a perhaps bolder decision would be to introduce audiences to an entirely new Avatar and chronicle a story in their life. This may leave fans yearning for more of the Last Airbender gang, but it would also be a golden opportunity to expand the mythos of the universe.
8 An Epilogue For Old Villains
The Last Airbender did an excellent job of wrapping the series up and providing meaningful closure for the show’s conflicts and characters, and it is to date remembered as an exceptionally satisfying conclusion to a beloved series. The only elements of the narrative that are left up to interpretation are the ultimate fates of two of the show’s main villains: Azula and Ozai.
In the years that have passed since the end of the original series, fans have speculated endlessly as to whether or not Azula needs, or ever could have a “redemption arc” similar to Zuko’s. Whether or not such a plot point would be successful is a matter of debate, but since it’s one of only a handful of open-ended elements from the original series, there are those out there who want answers.
7 A Strong Connection To The Original Series
One of the reasons that The Legend of Korra remains so controversial is because a significant camp of fans felt that it lost track of what made The Last Airbender so special, a tendency that many contend manifests itself in controversial changes to the characterization of the original cast, some odd lore decisions, and the outright severing of Korra’s connection from the Avatars of old.
Although debate continues, with some contending that Korra needed to chart its own path, it does feel like there’s a balance that can be struck between forging ahead with new ideas and staying true to the spirit of the original work. It’s a difficult line to toe, but with any luck, the new movie will be able to pull it off.
6 Interesting Development For The Setting
In a statement, The Last Airbender creators DiMartino and Konietzko said that there are many “…stories and time periods in Aang’s world…” that have yet to be given the spotlight in Avatar media. That makes sense, of course, because this is a franchise all about cycles of history, with each Avatar facing new challenges in the struggle toward harmony.
Be it a direct sequel to the original series, or some kind of distant prequel, the upcoming movie project represents a perfect opportunity to expand the Avatar mythos in any number of interesting ways. Fans are eager to learn as much as they can about Avatar‘s setting, its mechanics, and the people who inhabit it.
5 New Characters
Although fans are certainly excited for the possible return of some familiar faces, it’s important that the new entry avoids resting on its laurels too much. Simply retreading the same conflicts that were explored in the original series is unlikely to satisfy fans who are eager for something new. Plus, the original Avatar series will always be there, meaning that the opportunities for new material are endless.
One of the best ways that the movie can make itself feel distinct from other entries in the franchise is by introducing audiences to new characters and settings. If the movie is a sequel, then the setting will certainly have changed after Ozai’s defeat, so fans will definitely want to see some new characters that inhabit that brave new world.
4 A Meaningful Entry For The Avatar Story
Perhaps above everything else, the upcoming animated film needs to feel significant. This is the first new entry in the Avatar franchise in a very long time, so a certain amount of fanfare is definitely in order. Be it by the return of old fan favorites or through a moving rumination on the franchises running themes, this has to feel like a proper Avatar entry.
Thankfully, the odds for that are looking good. With the minds behind the original Avatar at the helm of the new project, it’s hard to claim that the film could be in better hands.
3 More Zuko
Without a doubt, the biggest burning question left by The Last Airbender is: what happened to Zuko’s mom? This deliberately unanswered element felt like some kind of sequel tease to wrap up the original series, with fans hoping that it would be resolved in later entries. Those hopes were dashed when Korra rolled around though, with that show opting to continue teasing fans rather than providing answers.
Hopes are high, then, that whatever form the new movie takes it might answer some of these questions. Could it perhaps mean that it will be a Zuko standalone film? A story where the Last Airbender gang goes to rescue the firelord’s mother? Only time will tell.
2 New Bending Tricks
One of the coolest elements of Legend of Korra was how the show went to great lengths to show new ways that bending could be used, giving the sequel series a sense that the bending arts had progressed since audiences last saw them in The Last Airbender.
On top of showing progression or connecting a work to the larger Avatar universe, new bending tricks and techniques are just always awesome to see. The medium of animation has also advanced since Korra ended, so it’s especially exciting to see what the team will do with new technology at their disposal.
1 A Proper Budget
Getting a new movie is exciting news in and of itself, but fans expect a certain standard of production value to accompany the release. The original Avatar series and Legend of Korra both featured outstanding animation and character designs that pulled a lot of weight in bringing the universe to life. Critical moments like the final Agni Kai simply would not be as impactful were it not for their spectacular art and animation.
Fans have also had a taste of less-than-impressive bending effects before in the live-action Avatar film, and considering that the film has essentially become the “movie who shall not be named” in fan spaces, it’s safe to say that they won’t settle for less than excellence.