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Avatar: The Legend of Korra

Reverend Jax

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Haha, yeah...David Faustino. I think it's super cool they named a character after Mako though. And Sheychelle Gabrie was the chick who played Princess Yue in the movie. I guess the show's creators, if nothing else, liked at least her in the movie. Also, JK Simmons as Tenzin! That's badass. Tenzin, for those that didn't know, is Aang and Katara's son who learned Airbendering from Aang and will teach it to the new Avatar. Eva Marie-Saint is supposed to be in it, but I guess she'd not in the main cast. Also, Dee Bradley Baker is supposedly doing a human role as well as all the creatures again. His young daughter is supposedly in it too. Rob Paulsen is also not listed in the main cast. Also, Dante Brasco is supposed to be in one episode, possibly Zuko is a flashback, or maybe as old Zuko.

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The creators of the old and new show (Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko) were interviewed by the Wall Street Journal. Here's the text of it. I've emboldened some key points:


Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, the creators of “Avatar: the Last Airbender” are readying the next chapter in the animated saga, titled “The Last Airbender: Legend of Korra.” The new series is due out mid-2012 on Nickelodeon.


“Avatar” and “Korra” take place in a setting that feels as richly imagined as Middle-earth, Narnia or Hogwarts. In this world, some inhabitants are “benders,” each with the power to manipulate one of the elements–air, fire, earth or water–to their will. One person, the Avatar, has the ability to master all the elements–and thus bring balance to the land.


“This one is 70 years into the future and takes all the elements of bending from the first series and evolves it and takes it one step further,” Cyma Zarghami, President of the Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids and Family Group, said of “Korra.”


Nickelodeon had picked up “Korra” for 12 episodes but recently decided to order 14 more shows. “When we first starting talking to Nickelodeon about doing a new series in the ‘Avatar’ world, they asked if we could do shorter arcs—more like a show like ‘24’ where there’s a specific villain or challenge for that particular season,” Konietzko says. “We’re really happy with that number. It allows us to focus much more closely on each episode and get a lot more craft into it.”


Speakeasy talked to DiMartino and Konietzko about the follow-up series and what fans can expect.


“We have a lot of ideas for the ‘Avatar’ universe and who knows? We could be tapping into them for years to come,” Konietzko says.


The Wall Street Journal: How far along are you on the new series?


Michael DiMartino: We are in the midst of the first twelve episodes. We’ve written all the episodes. Episodes have shipped to the overseas animations studios and they’re animating away as we speak. So we’re kind of in the middle of things right now…All the vocal cast has been picked and recorded and all the scripts have been recorded.


Are you looking to win new viewers with the series or just satisfy fans of the old series who have grown up?


DiMartino: We want everyone to watch. Definitely fans of the first series will not be disappointed in this one. The tone is a little older, the characters are a little older than the first series—they’re teenagers. Korra is 16 so she’s older than Aang was. So I think maybe some people who weren’t into the first show might find this one and be into it.


Since the main characters are older, will there be more romance?


Bryan Konietzko: I thought Korra was 17 so Mike and I have to get our stories straight. The main characters are in their late teens, we’ve always loved those kind of teen love triangle type stories and there was plenty of that in the original series. We’re definitely getting into it in this series. The difference is these people have cars and motorcycles and things. There’s definitely a different dynamic. I’d say the show is more sophisticated than the original series but it has the same balance of tones we’ve always liked with humor, action, drama, scary stuff and romance.


Will characters from the first series show up in “Korra”?


Konietzko: Again it’s 70 years later so they’ll appear in various ways perhaps.


DiMartino: There is definitely a link to the old series and the old characters.


How did you change the look of the “Airbender” world?


Konietzko: In every way we’re trying to improve it. We’re not trying to change it so much that it’s unrecognizable and doesn’t feel like the same universe, but we are trying to update it, improve it, make everything just more sophisticated and appealing….It’s kind of like the show has grown up. A lot of the viewers have grown up since the show was last on.


Tell me about the heroine of the story, Korra. What’s she like?


DiMartino: Korra, we kind of describe her as a fiery waterbender. She’s very pugnacious. Kind of in your face. We wanted to create a new Avatar that was completely the opposite of Aang. So, whereas Aang was the peaceful, nomadic Airbender guy, she’s very tough, very headstrong, not scared to get into a fight, and kind of picks fights with people too sometimes. So she’s definitely totally the opposite of Aang so it has been kind of fun to write her character and put her in situations that Aang never would have gotten into.


Konietzko: It’s refreshing it’s totally different from Aang. But she’s also funny and has a lot of charm and vulnerability because she’s still growing up and trying to figure things out. We worked on that first series for more than six years and we love those characters but it’s great to be working with fresh ones with a new spin on the world.


Who is the main villain in Korra?


DiMartino: We have a great villain. He’s kind of an anti-bending revolutionary guy. Very scary dude. And definitely is quite a challenge for Korra.


Will you ever make a feature animated film?


Konietzko: On the original series we did our best to make it cinematic with a big immersive world. And on this series because it’s a tighter stretch of episodes–just 12 episodes–but Mike and I wrote all of them, there’s really no filler. We told almost as much story as the first series packed into these 12. So it’s getting even closer to something cinematic. So yeah, we would love to. We feel like we’re kind of movie guys working in TV. So we’re looking forward to that day when we get to work in that medium.


Have you heard anything about whether there will be a sequel to the “Last Airbender” live-action feature film?


DiMartino: Uh, no. It’s definitely not up to us, so.


Will we find out what happened to Zuko’s mom?


DiMartino: That question will be answered in some way, but not necessarily in the show. That’s all I’ll say.


There has been some hub-bub online about the 'cars and motorcycles' comment, but people always seem to forget that the world in ATLA was in an industrial revolution era. There were tanks and zeppelins and giant metal ships and a giant city-sized drill, and though it bothers me to remember it, even jet skis. Fast forward 70 years, and the look they've said their going for (1920's Shanghai) makes perfect sense.

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This site has all the images the creators of the show used in the Comicon panel. I've posted some standouts.





Naga, the Appa to Korra's Aang.


Tenzin, Aang and Katara's third child, the only one of whom was an Airbender.


Chief Bei Fong, the head of Metalbending Police Force in Republic City, daughter of Toph.


Statue of Aang, co-founder of Republic City.

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So, initially, Nickelodeon was promoting this show as "The Last Airbender: The Legend of Korra," presumably to take advantage of all the marketing dollar they dropped on the theatrical movie that did not have the word 'Avatar' in its title.





Fans hated this, naturally, and have been asking Nickelodeon to change it to the more logically named "Avatar: The Legend of Korra." The opening sequence leaked last month, and having the preferred title in it made a lot of people hopeful, but Nickelodeon had not made an official announcement and some people believe that the leaked opening could have been part of an early version that could change. Well, now this new commercial has aired promoting Nickelodeon's new shows coming in 2012.



While the commercial does not show off any finished animation (that is clearly available from the trailer that was released almost 6 months ago at Comic-Con 2011), the use of the preferred name is good news, as is the confirmation of a 2012 release.


PS Also, there are a series of graphic novels from Dark Horse coming out that take place immediately after the show's finale that lay the groundwork for the new show. The first one is coming out in a few weeks. I've read a few leaked pages, and it looks to have captured the spirit and sensibility of the show. I'll post a full review when it comes out, but here's an interview Dark Horse conducted with the show's creators.

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Nice cosplay. Even has green eyes. Not sure if they are natural or contacts or photoshop, but it's solid.

As for the voice actress, it's Janet Varney



She's been in a lot of TV as a guest star, but I think she's most well known for hosting the TV show Dinner & a Movie.


The cast has some good talent on it. JK Simmons (J Jonah Jameson in the Spidey movies) is Tenzin, Aang's son and Korra's Airbending master. David Faustino (Bud Bundy on Married with Children) is Mako, and Firebender who becomes friends with Korra. Kiernan Shipka (Don Draper's daughter on Mad Men) plays one of Tenzin's daughters.


I didn't care much for the way the commercial was cut together, but I like the way the show looks, and liked the way they tied in the continuity from the first show. Still waiting on an official release date more specific than '2012'. A Nick website in Denmark or something offhandedly said it would be in 'Spring', but no one else at Nick has confirmed that.

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Some music from the Track Team (same guys who did the music on the original series) for the new series. Some have the same feel as ATLA, others have the feel we were expecting (show creators asked them to compose music that sounds like "1920s New Orleans jazz but if it were invented in China").








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So Bryan Konietzko (the show's co-creator) posted this to his tumblr.


So, to those that don't know, there has been some debate about the name of this show. Some stuff has indicated it was called "Avatar: The Legend of Korra" While other stuff has indicated it would be called "The Last Airbender: Legend of Korra." Clearly, the first one makes sense, the second one is absolutely terrible. There was a lot of speculation as to why the horrible name might be used. This talk included mention that Nick didn't want confusion with James Cameron's super popular property, and that Nick spent over $100M in promotion of the 2010 film, they wanted to take advantage of the branding they'd spent so much on.


It was revealed a while ago by an anonymous Nick executive that the reason we were seeing both names is that the horrible one would be the name used in North America and one that makes sense would be used overseas (overseas, the first show was called Avatar: The Legend of Aang).


Bryan is not helping clarify what this image means for all this in his comment, but this may indicate that the title has been changed, at least in North America. While I still prefer the title with the word 'Avatar' at the front, this is much better than TLA:LOK.

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News is moving fast. So, not just is the show premiering in less than a month now (April 14th), BUT if Korra Nation gets 100,000 new likes on Facebook, they will unlock the premiere online on March 24th! I don't know how many likes they had at the beginning of the campaign.

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