Netflix Avatar: The Last Airbender further delayed amid coronavirus pandemic

"It's been a slow process, slower than we expected."

The Netflix live-action remake of Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender has been severely delayed ever since its announcement in 2018. The first news we got was that Netflix was planning pre-production, filming at test locations, and beginning costume design. However, signs that the show was being severely delayed starting showing up when Netflix removed the “2020” release date on the official Avatar: The Last Airbender listing as there were still no signs of the promised open casting call. It seems that the show is delayed even further amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the show’s co-creator Bryan Konietzko recent post on Instagram.

Konietzko says on Instagram that the open casting call has not happened yet as the show has “not reached that state.” He also says, “If you haven’t been keeping up with the news, film and tv productions the world over have been suspended. At the moment, we are lucky that our small team on the adaptation is still moving things forward as best we can, obviously all working remotely. And as is always the case, when we have news we can share we will share it. So please don’t hound me or anyone else associated with us about casting. Just be patient.”

He posted this update along with screenshots from his previous Instagram story, apologizing for the lack of updates on the live-action adaptation. He says that “it’s been a slow process, slower than we expected.”

View this post on Instagram

A lot of you are still curious and excited about when there will be an open casting call for the live-action adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender for Netflix. As always, thanks for your continued enthusiasm. In my original post about it, I had said it would likely happen in late 2019 — *likely* but not guaranteed, and obviously we have not reached that stage yet or else you would have heard about it from me, Netflix, etc. We’re working on some awesome stuff, but we’re still in development/preproduction. I’m reposting my stories here from 11 days ago, Thursday March 12th, in case you missed them. There are no big announcements in there, just a note about the lack of updates and a *much more important* note about the state of the world in this Coronavirus/Covid-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis. If you haven’t been keeping up with the news, film and tv productions the world over have been suspended. At the moment, we are lucky that our small team on the adaptation is still moving things forward as best we can, obviously all working remotely. And as is always the case, when we have news we *can* share we will share it. So please don’t hound me or anyone else associated with us about casting. Just be patient. ??? Avatar can wait, but now it’s up to all of us, in our individual actions and how we support each other, to save the world. For real. Be safe, smart, generous, compassionate, and healthy. Love, Bryan #flattenthecurve

A post shared by Bryan Konietzko (@bryankonietzko) on

Obviously speaking about the terrible coronavirus pandemic that the world is facing now, Konietzko does say that production is continuing “as best as we can.” With the entertainment industry deeply affected by COVID-19, the planned 2019 open casting is probably well delayed into late 2020. Fans may not be able to see the Netflix adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender until late 2021, or even early 2022.

Though this news is saddening for fans (like myself) that have been desperately awaiting any updates on the Netflix’s live-action remake of Avatar: The Last Airbender, it is more important the production is not rushed, and the series comes out just as we expect it. The entertainment industry will also need time to heal, as even Netflix has had to delay production of shows that have a closer deadline such as Stranger Things 4.

What we know so far

For those that don’t know, the original TV show’s co-creators, Bryan Konietzko and MikeDiMartino, are leading the production of Netflix’s live-action remake of the show – probably to avoid disasters like the M. Night Shyamalan film adaptation from happening again. The above updates come from Konietzko, and as DiMartino seems to be silent.

We also do know that Dan Lin has been confirmed to executive produce the show for Netflix, according to a report from Discussing Film. For those that don’t know Dan Lin, he has produced popular franchises like It, Lego Batman, Aladdin, and Sherlock Holmes.

Actor George Noto is known for his small role in the failed M. Night Shyamalan film adaptation, The Last Airbender. He took to Twitter to announced that he will be playing a role in the upcoming series and said, “I will be playing a role in this series and will do my best to re-write the wrong I made by playing a role in the previous shitty last Airbender movie….. in hopes of being forgiven, wish me luck.”

According to a report by FandomWire, Jessie Flower, the voice actress of Toph in the animated series revealed on the Word Crafts Chitchat Podcast that production for the live-action remake would begin in late 2019 or early 2020. However, as we now know, those plans are well delayed – probably to the end of this year.

For those that were doubting if there will be an open casting after radio silence from the show’s co-creators and Netflix, not to worry. According to the references made to the delayed open casting calls in Konietzko’s Instagram post, there will still be an open casting call, maybe near the end of this year. The shutdown of the entertainment industry due to the coronavirus pandemic has pushed back the already delayed open casting call announcement.

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