Netflix’s live-action adaptation of beloved animated show Avatar: The Last Airbender has lost the show’s original creators. Michael Dante DiMartino said Wednesday that he and Bryan Konietzko decided to leave the show’s development team in June after two years of work on the project due to creative differences.
“Netflix said that it was committed to honoring our vision for this retelling and to supporting us on creating the series,” DiMartino said in a blog post. “Unfortunately, things did not go as we had hoped.”
Leaving the project “was necessary for my happiness and creative integrity,” he said, adding the situation is frustrating and disappointing. “I realized I couldn’t control the creative direction of the series, but I could control how I responded.”
DiMartino said while the Netflix show has the potential to turn out well and people might enjoy it, “whatever version ends up on-screen, it will not be what Bryan and I had envisioned or intended to make.”
Netflix announced in 2018 that it would be rebooting Avatar: The Last Airbender as a live-action series, with original co-creators DiMartino and Konietzko on board. There’s no word yet on a cast or launch date.
“We have complete respect and admiration for Michael and Bryan and the story that they created in the Avatar animated series,” a Netflix spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “Although they have chosen to depart the live-action project, we are confident in the creative team and their adaptation.”
The series is moving forward without the two.
Netflix — though typically known for giving creators more artistic freedom than traditional studios — isn’t immune to creative differences. Netflix’s rank of studio executives is leaner than elsewhere in Hollywood, and the company is known for being more light-handed with “notes,” the revisions and suggestions that are often sent to creators from execs while a production is in motion. But the company has parted ways with creators before: Ava DuVernay left a Netflix documentary about the musician Prince last year, for example, and reports of differences with Marvel plagued some of.
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