Avatar: The Last Airbender co-creator says 'there's so much I would fix' about the series
Avatar: The Last Airbender creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko also weighed in on "The Great Divide" episode and provided a few updates on Avatar Studios.
Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of the most beloved and critically acclaimed TV series out there, especially in animation — but its creators can still find a few things to nitpick.
In Tuesday's episode of the Avatar recap podcast Braving the Elements, co-host Dante Basco (who voiced Zuko on ATLA) talked to the show's creators, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, about the belief many fans have that they created the "perfect show."
"That blows me away — there's so much that I would fix," Konietzko responded.
"There's a bunch of stuff that I just think, 'Ugh, I wish that scene was animated better; I don't like the way this character's looking in this episode,'" he added, before conceding that "you can only fix so much."
As writers, executive producers, and directors of the series, which aired 2005 to 2008 on Nickelodeon, it makes sense that the pair would be critical of their work. But they did what they could, working with an animation studio overseas, providing meticulous notes, and doing retakes on any animation errors or new creative directions.
"Sure, it would be nice if it all was super slick and looked its utter best, but it still delivers this really powerful, complete package to people that goes straight to their hearts," Konietzko contended.
The duo also gave their honest thoughts on episodes some fans were unhappy with and viewed as "filler." They defended one such episode, Book 1's "The King of Omashu" (an EW personal favorite) as being "super crucial" as an introduction to the recurring character Bumi. However, they're with viewers about another controversial episode, "The Great Divide," which featured Aang and his friends trying to usher two feuding clans safely across a treacherous canyon.
"The most famous one is 'The Great Divide' one, which I'll give them, I'll say that's pretty 'filler-y,'" DiMartino admitted.
"That's terrible," Konietzko also said. When Basco suggested that they could've improved the installment by changing the ending, he responded, "Nah, I don't think that would have saved it."
"You've got this big gap; it's a big empty hole, yet it is filler," Konietzko quipped, adding, "Yeah, I was not happy with it." But he did note that he enjoyed the canyon crawler creatures in the episode. "Even the episodes that I wasn't as stoked on, there were always moments that I really liked."
The duo also discussed Avatar Studios, their venture with Nickelodeon to create content based around the Avatarverse. While they didn't reveal any huge updates, DiMartino did promise they were "working hard" to create the franchise, noting that "it's going to take a while before new stuff starts percolating out there."
"Mike and I have mapped out a very ambitious, multi-tiered" plan to explore "this big, rich, largely untapped history and future in the Avatar world," Konietzko explained.
"Each of these projects [has] its own feeling, its own tone and look, so it will all feel true to the Avatar world, but they will all be very different expressions of it so it will really deepen it and expand it," he added later in the podcast.
"We're coming in now and we have unprecedented support from Nickelodeon, so it is the franchise, the shows and animated stuff, but also other stuff beyond, in publishing, and in podcasts like you're doing and all that stuff," said DiMartino. "We have all the ideas and ideally we're going to get to, over the years, explore all of them and get to make them, but it'll take some time."
"If we make all this stuff, you guys will just be podcasting for about the next 20 years or so," DiMartino teased.
To that, we say: Flamey-O!