Netflix Executive Compares Avatar: The Last Airbender To Sandman – Screen Rant

Netflix’s upcoming Avatar: The Last Airbender live-action adaptation is compared by one of the streamer’s executives to their hit series The Sandman.
Netflix is planning to bring Avatar: The Last Airbender to life, and the show is already being compared to another of their series adaptations, The Sandman. The two franchises couldn't seem more different; Avatar is a coming-of-age story featuring a war-torn world, while The Sandman is a dark fantasy in which malevolence lies in every corner. However, there are some similarities that Netflix has noted.
In an interview with Variety, Netflix’s head of scripted series in U.S. and Canada, Peter Friedlander, says the streamer is viewing the IPs as similarly "special." Knowing that there's a responsibility to handle it properly for the fans of the original has pushed the show to take its spectacle seriously, and that, he explains, requires a lot of time to get right. Check out Friedlander's full quote below:
I think it’s going to be what you want it to be. It’s pretty special, just as an IP, it’s very special, something like The Sandman, and we want to handle it with deft hands for fans and to also bring new life to it in a way that both honors the original and celebrates its new iteration. It’s a stunning spectacle. These shows are very big productions, and it takes a ton of time, both on the production side and in post, so you have to respect the long journey for some of these shows to deliver what hasn’t been done on television before. And that’s what we have for a lot of these types of shows when we’re working on them, whether it’s Avatar or One Piece or Three-Body Problem, these are big, visual spectacles that you have to honor the process and respect that, when you’re breaking ground in visual storytelling or you’re on the visual vanguard of storytelling, that takes R&D, that takes a lot of trial and error to get it right. But that’s the intent, that’s the hope, is that you’re bringing eye candy matched with impeccable storytelling into these worlds. The journeys are long, but hopefully fruitful. Being part of these spectacle shows, each one is bespoke, each one goes on its own journey, and it’s a little bit in between film and television, so you have to break the mold every time you’re working on one of them, and it’s rewarding across the board when we get it right.
Related: Avatar's Biggest Live-Action Failing Netflix's Last Airbender Must Avoid
While the show has been viewed with skepticism after the original live-action adaptation flopped, there does seem to be some hope for success from the Netflix version. The show intends to follow Book One of the cartoon and plans to have eight episodes that will last an hour each. Given that Avatar: The Last Airbender season 1 had 20 episodes that ran 20 minutes long, that means the Netflix show will have 80 more minutes to flesh out the characters than the show did, which is a great sign. Avatar can also offer more than just bending by showing off the different martial arts styles in the ATLA universe. It would be interesting to see the show tackle how bending styles evolved, and it could even lend to more intrigue as Zuko tries to master firebending alongside Iroh.
The cast features Gordon Cormier's Aang, Kiawentiio Tarbel's Katara, Ian Ousley's Sokka, and Zuko Dallas Liu's Zuko, as well as a few other key figures like Daniel Dae Kim's Fire Lord Ozai and Hyung Lee's Iroh. The show also intends to feature Elizabeth Yu as Azula, meaning the character will be appearing far sooner than she did in the cartoon. The casting is also set to resolve a major Avatar movie mistake by featuring Yvonne Chapman as Avatar Kyoshi, giving Aang someone to look to for guidance. Additionally, the show cast Tamlyn Tomita as Yukari, Suki's mother, meaning that it certainly intends to flesh out Suki and her relationship with her people in more depth.
Unfortunately, there are also a few signs that the show may not be heading in the right direction. With the original showrunners and animated series creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko having left production, there is a serious risk that the show could make the same mistakes as the original adaptation. To make matters worse, Netflix's Avatar: The Last Airbender grew more concerning after the failure of the streamer's other major live-action adaptation, Cowboy Bebop. That series made major changes to the source material, which could suggest Avatar: The Last Airbender may do the same. Still, while there is currently no way to know what the show will look like when it hits screens everywhere, the fact that Netflix is likening it to The Sandman is surely a positive sign of the production quality.
More: Netflix's Last Airbender Casting Is Great News For Suki Fans
Source: Variety
Lukas is a recent graduate of the Macaulay Honors College in New York City. A former Editorial Assistant now serving as a Senior List Writer, Lukas made the jump to Screen Rant in the hopes of getting the chance to be a professional writer. Having started graduate school this past August, Lukas intends to become a high school guidance counselor, all while writing articles about somewhat obscure comics like Alpha Flight and Last Flight Out, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and any movies, games, or books he happens to come across. Lukas writes most of his articles with a cat on his shoulder.


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