The Last Airbender 2: What will Happen the Next?
The Last Airbender 2 – M. Night Shyamalan planned to make this sequel to The Last Airbender, that would be darker and with more story.
With The Last Airbender universally praised, Shyamalan’s plans for the sequel that would delve deeper into the story of Avatar: The Last Airbender ultimately failed to materialize. Although the film was a flop, there was a time when an Avatar adaptation helmed by the acclaimed director of The Sixth Sense. This was a fan favorite and seemed to herald a new entry into the upper echelon of successful media franchises, alongside Harry Potter and Star Wars. But as audiences know, the trilogy that failed to materialize met a different fate. Also, it doesn’t detract from the genius of the series, it did make Avatar’s entry into the live-action world ever volatile.
By 2010, plans for a trilogy of films, Avatar: The Last Airbender, were well underway. Shyamalan had fallen in love with the series while watching it with his children. He began pushing to bring each of the three seasons to the big screen. What happened next was, by and large, a disaster. The failure of the first installment killed its siblings while they were still in the cradle and may have taken the director’s career and credibility with it…for a while.
Avatar fans’ desire to see the entirety of the Four Living Nations in live-action, if there were any left after the 2010 film, went out like water thrown on a fire. The acquisition and remake by Netflix briefly rekindled hope, but it faded when screenwriters Brian Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino dropped out of the new Avatar project over creative differences, rekindling fears about the earlier adaptation. But before all that, Shyamalan’s plans for a sequel (and trilogy) to The Last Airbender were quite intriguing.
The Last Airbender 2 should be darker
In early 2010, the franchise’s game was called Darker. The finale of the Harry Potter series moves away from its initial childlike fantasy into a dark and heartbreaking dystopia. Christopher Nolan’s inventive Dark Knight trilogy reimagined the franchise’s properties through the prism of high art. The nascent DCEU brought Superman back to theaters in hushed tones in Man of Steel. It makes sense that Shyamalan would write his trilogy squarely in this trend, opting for a dark, dystopian cinematic sequel. His work rarely enjoys campiness or brilliance even in small doses. In fact, Shyamalan himself described the potential sequel by saying, “In the second part, which is my favorite, things get darker, things go wrong and Aang makes a lot of bad decisions. I like it as the second act of the story.”
Shyamalan was not wrong in his assessment. The second season of Avatar: The Last Airbender presents some of the most difficult challenges for the Avatar team. In the first episode, Aang intentionally undergoes trauma to decipher the Avatar’s status. His journey through Earth Realm includes unflattering portraits of war refugees, corrupt political conspiracies, and sociopathic brainwashing. Two of the series’ most famous episodes, “Tales of Ba Sing Se”, episode 15 of season two, and “The Lost Days of Appa”, episode 16 of season two, received high marks for moving viewers to tears. Such painful, sometimes downright violent subject matter, coupled with the industry’s tendency to amplify such themes, could make for a truly dark sequel.
Azula was supposed to be the main villain
What makes the film even darker is the main villain, who appears in live action at the end of the 2010 film. Brutal and calculating, Azula’s persistent, inhuman pursuit of Team Avatar has been on the minds of Avatar fans since the second season. Shyamalan told MTV News about his script for the second film, “I’ve written the project, which I’m very happy about, it’s darker and more intense, and it has a wonderful antagonist in Azula, who is sort of our only real, pure antagonist in the series, so I’m very excited about that.”
But despite the brilliance of his character, he can’t claim sole ownership of villainy in season two. Jet is an interesting ambiguous ally, then antagonist, then ally again for Team Avatar. Zuko and Iroh are given a deep and intense arc. But perhaps most interesting is the additional evil force against Aang and his friends, Dai Li, and their silent, evil leader Long Feng. Had The Last Airbender 2 taken a darker tone, the widespread government corruption would have been an interesting way to bring that vision to life, and Long Feng would have been the embodiment of that plot.
With all these threads, antagonists, and plot arcs, it’s clear that the task of fitting 20 episodes into two hours is unconscionable, too difficult for any filmmaker. The Last Airbender has often been criticized for not tapping into the depth, richness, and world-building of the source material, but instead stopping at a familiar scene from the series, reading expository dialogue, and moving on to the next forgettable scene. Arguably, the second season has more content than the previous season, which means that choosing fewer well-directed plots and characters might have had a better chance of success than poorly directed ones. Had the film been made, audiences would have been able to see if Shyamalan had learned his lesson from the first film.
Kyoshi warriors should appear
Although the Kyoshi warriors were cut from The Last Airbender, they are expected to make a triumphant appearance in The Last Airbender 2. Apparently, Shyamalan said he cut them from the first film because he wanted to save them for the sequel and not reintroduce them. It stands to reason that they played a major role in the plans for the sequel. That moves their introduction in the first season to the second film and retaining most of their features in the second season.
The Kyoshi warriors play an important role in the unfolding events of the second season of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Team Avatar revisits the island that bears their name, finds and helps rescue a lost Appa, and ultimately provides Azula and her compatriots with a secret way out of captivity. Fans who were expecting the signature look of the Kyoshi warriors in the first film will certainly get their money’s worth in this sequel. Indeed, the relationship between leader Suki and Sokka may have corrected some of the flaws in the latter’s version of The Last Airbender, perhaps adding the comedy and heart that was so sorely missed in the live-action film.
Will The Last Airbender 2 Happen?
The live-action version of Knight Shyamalan’s film has received mixed reviews. The film was released in 2010. The original film was met with much controversy, but could The Last Airbender 2 happen? Director M. Night Shyamalan has had a notorious dramatic track record. Although Shyamalan directed two films prior to The Sixth Sense, Praying in Anger, and Waking in a Dream, his first film is believed to be the 1999 supernatural thriller starring Bruce Willis. The film was a huge success, with great performances, intense direction, and one of the most shocking endings of all time.
After hits like Unbroken and Signs, Shyamalan was quickly considered Spielberg’s heir apparent. After subsequent projects, such as Lady in the Water and The Incident, were rejected by critics, his career unfortunately declined. In recent years, however, his career has taken a better turn, thanks to the success of the sequels to Unbroken, Split and Glass.
One of the director’s less popular projects was the 2010 film The Last Airbender, an adaptation of the popular animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. Although the film was not well received by critics, it was a financial success.
Shyamalan has sketched out a trilogy
Knight Shyamalan developed a possible trilogy of films for The Last Airbender in which Azula, the daughter of the fire lord Ozai. This Ozai would be the main villain in The Last Airbender 2. While the original film was a financial success, it also received a very negative critical reception, which is probably why plans for a sequel have been put on hold.
Shyamalan mentioned in a 2015 interview with Metro that he might start work on The Last Airbender 2 after finishing Split, but also explained that he was frustrated working with other people’s source material.
Shyamalan regrets making “The Last Airbender” and “After Earth”
Knight Shyamalan gave a talk at New York University’s Stern School of Business in 2019, where he revealed that he regrets working on big-budget films like After Earth and The Last Airbender. According to him, he made the mistake of pursuing big movies when he should have stayed true to his own voice. He also believes that is the reason why the films were not well received, as audiences could see that he did not put his heart into them.
To maintain creative control, the director now finances his films himself: The Visit and The Glass, which he financed out of his own pocket. Given his attitude towards big-budget films, his return for a possible The Last Airbender 2 is highly unlikely.
Netflix is filming a remake of the TV series in real-time
In late 2018, it was announced that Avatar: The Last Airbender creators Brian Konietzko and Michael DiMartino would be the showrunners of a new live-action adaptation on Netflix. No director or cast has been announced for the new series, but it’s unlikely that Shyamalan would be involved or that The Last Airbender 2 would follow. Given the generally negative reception of the 2010 film, it’s probably best for the franchise to have a reboot.
The Last Airbender 2 release date!
Night Shyamalan did not fare well with critics with The Last Airbender. The film seems to have flopped, which is odd considering the success of the series, not to mention that a successful director was at the helm. But will there be a second film eight years after the release of the first?
Possible release date
In fact, many have stated that they do not believe Airbender 2 should be released. The original film flopped and many feel that the damage has already been done. Despite this, M. Night Shyamalan has stated that he had intended to make the film, But wanted to get one of his other ideas out first. However, he has written the script and has stated that he was very happy with the first draft, which is rare for him. This indicates that a release date for the film is being considered. Although production on the film has not yet begun, it will likely be a few years before it hits theaters. Considering that films like the original take up to three years to produce, the film may not hit theaters until 2022.
Why was The Last Airbender 2 at a dead end?
The film had a big budget, which obviously doesn’t guarantee its success, but what really made it a disaster?
Critics disliked the film for many reasons. First, many found the film confusing. The film is based entirely on an animated series, but Shyamalan put his own spin on it. Some of the dialogue in the film did not allow the viewer to understand what was going on, especially for those who were not familiar with the original series. If one remembers the first trailers that were aired without dialogue, alarm bells should have gone off by now.
The confusion surrounding the film was due to adults not knowing who it was aimed at? Is it aimed at teenagers, young adults, children or everyone? In fact, it was designed for children under the age of ten. Shyamalan seemed determined not to change the film to suit a wider audience, simply because the film was intended for children, and that was a compromise he didn’t want to make.
The budget of The Last Airbender 2 was changed
Finally, the way the film was produced changed in the process. The team realized that most of the film would have to be shot with special effects and green screens. This is the furthest thing from Shyamalan’s original ideas, especially if he wanted to shoot the film in stunning locations and landscapes. So the film’s budget was changed and most of the money went to Industrial Light and Magic. The locations changed so much that filming took place in the suburbs of Pennsylvania. If that wasn’t enough to get the film off the ground, the producers began hiring up-and-coming directors to handle the effects process.
It’s easy to see why the film was considered a flop from the start. It seems that Shyamalan’s original ideas were overlooked and perhaps that’s the problem. He has stated that he wants to limit himself to three films per contract. So perhaps he has learned from his mistakes the first time around, which could mean that The Last Airbender 2 is worth seeing.
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