The Legend Of Korra: Book Three Official Trailer Analysis

Now that the official trailer for The Legend of Korra Book Three: Change is here, we can do some more analysis!

With the release of the official Legend of Korra Book Three trailer from Nickelodeon, it’s time to report, interpret, and speculate wildly about what all the new footage means. Because there’s even more new footage in this one than there was in that fan-made one cut together from the leaked episodes (you can read the analysis of that footage here). 

Now, on to the good stuff…

Korra looks out over a city on the edge of a desert (0:13). It’s not Ba Sing Se, but could that be the Si Wong Desert? Perhaps. 

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At (1:25) a sand glider races ahead of a… giant sandshark? All right, Avatar World Wuzzle Department. Bring it on! We already know we’re headed to Ba Sing Se and the Northern Water Tribe, familiar locations from Avatar. This would continue that trend and be a real treat for the fans. One of the complaints about Korra as a series is that it could touch on more of the Avatar world’s mythology and history, places we’ve seen and what they look like in Korra’s brave new world.

There’s also a hell of a lot more airbending.

Korra airbends with Bolin’s new love interest. (0:19)

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A herd of Sky Bison fly together (0:23). Are they from Air Temple Island or the Bhanti Tribe, the people who helped Korra commune with Avatar Wan? 

Uh… a LOT of people of all ages and ethnicities in airbender training garb (0:26). And Meelo. Yay, Meelo! Will he pass on the sacred art of fartbending? The ethnic disparity of these new airbenders makes me wonder if the rules for all benders will be changed. Will it now be possible for firebenders to be born to Water Tribe parents? Earthbenders to Fire Nation parents?

Also… Bumi airbending. BUMI AIRBENDING!!! (0:38) I’m not sure how I feel about this. I mean, good for Bumi and everything, but I liked that one of Aang and Katara’s kids was a non-bender. It balanced the trio out.

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Tenzin and the new novice airbenders looking out at what could either be the Northern or Southern Air Temple (0:31). We know the Air Temples are inhabited and maintained by Air Acolytes, but will the impact upon them be of the appearance of these new airbenders?

It’s ironic that Book One was titled “Air” when Korra’s airbending training, or at least any success with it, was practically non-existent. Sure, it was practically a necessity, air being the one element left after Avatar’s “Water,” “Earth,” and “Fire” trilogy. Air was the next logical place to go, but this season from the trailers alone, seems like it will be dealing more with airbending and the mastery of airbending than the previous seasons and even the parent series did. After all, Aang was already an airbending master when we met him in the first episode of Avatar. This new story, however, seems rife with people learning the art of airbending from scratch. It’s unthinkable that it wouldn’t address the issues of how Air Nomad culture will now evolve.

Up until now, Tenzin, his kids, and Korra were the only airbenders left, the Air Acolytes taking up the slack of day to day temple maintenance and the preservation of Air Nomad culture. With the creation of new airbenders, what role will the Air Acolytes now take within this culture? For that matter, what about airbenders who have no desire to learn from Tenzin or adopt the ways of the Air Nomads. Some of these nouveau airbenders are fully grown adults or even getting on in their years like Bumi. They have their own lives, histories, and cultural identities. Surely, Tenzin can’t expect them to throw all that out the window just because they’ve suddenly become benders.

There’s also an influx of new and captivating villains. We see a ragged man in a prison cell (0:33) who turns out to be an airbender and airbends at his White Lotus captors (1:04). We also see a tattooed guy doing some pull-ups in a wooden cell (0:45). Then, Waterbending Arms takes an offensive stance (0:47) in… yeah… another prison cell. I’m starting to sense a theme here. Okay, so I’m guessing we’re going to be having a lot of convicts in this season. Fine by me.

At (1:50) we see Combustion Woman, Earth Kingdom Monk, and Waterbending Arms all attack together. They appear to be a kind of supervillain team, and I appreciate that. We haven’t really had an offensive “team” (not counting pro-bending) since Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee, and that’s a dynamic that could simultaneously add some freshness and nostalgia to Korra. They’ll certainly be a force to be reckoned with as it takes the entire Republic City police force to deal with them. 

Metalbending police gather at the top of a bridge (0:36), then swing down (0:46), likely part of the bridge chase we saw in the other trailer where Combustion Woman blows up a car. Damn.

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Tonraq, Zuko, and Eska and Desna rush into battle (0:48), which would seem to confirm that it was Unalaq’s twin heirs approaching that cell with Zuko. 

And we know now beyond any doubt that it’s Zuko because CLOSE. UP. OF. ZUKO. (1:19) Damn, he looks good for his age! Way better than his grandfather did when he got that old. And Fire Lord Azulon didn’t even have half his face burned off! And if Zuko and the twins are all in the same storyline, it would make sense that the other person with them when visiting the prison cell was Tonraq.

Some guy in Earth Kingdom clothes… lavabends? (0:51) Last I checked, only an avatar could do that as it involved simultaneous control over fire and earth. Whhhhaaaaa? 

Then later, we see Bolin underwater, avoiding flaming rocks from above. (1:15) These incidents are likely connected. The theme of this season is change, and we know one major change of the balance between the Material and Spirit Worlds is the infusion of people with airbending abilities, but how might other bending styles be affected? How might they change? Might they be opened up to blurring the lines between elements in a way that only the Avatar has been able to up to this point?

Airbender Boy, now in training garb, busts into the cab of a moving truck! (0:58) So, it appears our young street urchin will become an official airbending novice. Would this be a purely self-motivated move or could it be the influence of a smart, pretty young girl who happens to the granddaughter of Avatar Aang? They do seem to have a bunch of scenes together? OMG Airbending kid puppy love. Keep it angst-free and it could be the cutest subplot EVER. And it would certainly pay off that little joke in “A Leaf on the Wind” where Tenzin shows his anxiety over his daughter’s impending adolescence. Promise that her teenage years won’t be as challenging as Korra’s? She will make no such promises.

On the subject of Jinora, whose role was greatly expanded last season, her spirit form blinks into some kind of underground cavern (1:10). I’m pleased that it looks like they’ll be continuing the thread of Jinora’s potent spiritual attunement and abilities. That was some damn good development for her last season.

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Asami rides Naga, propping up an unconscious Korra (1:07). Whether or not this is the same episode as the two of them taking on that biker gang, it’s great to see these two getting so much screen time together. They have a very refreshing dynamic. A tomboy with girly feelings, a girly girl who can kick ass, both liked the same guy, both have dated him, and there’s not bad blood between them. They genuinely like each other. Sure, they never shied away from Korra’s mellow resentment of Asami, but she never took it out on her. In a cultural landscape where catty girls tearing each other down is the go-to dynamic, Korra and Asami’s relationship is welcome change of pace and refreshingly mature.

The Earth Queen (Because who fucking else could that be?) looks shifty (1:13). You know, I feel the creators and writers of this show have earned creating a “dragon lady” character. This show is populated with nothing but Asian men and women who embody various Asian cultures without resorting to stereotypes. They have *earned* the right to exploit this trope. And God bless ‘em.

Korra metalbends a hole in a wall (1:21). An actual hole in an actual wall; she doesn’t shake down a small, independent eatery. I think we’re going to see a whole lot more metalbending this season. Since Toph invented metalbending and thus never “trained” in it, the closest we’ve come to metalbending training is in the comics, which I sometimes like not to think about. Point being, we’ll get to see Korra train to some degree, and if we’re digging into Lin’s past, perhaps we can see her learning the art from her mother. On the subject of a younger Lin, at (0:59) we see her drive through the chaotic streets of Republic City. This, with the footage we’ve seen of how she got her facial scars would seem to validate the promises we’ve been made of more of Lin’s background.

Korra on what appears to be Aang’s second glider (I never liked that design), saving a little girl from a fall from a building that is covered in what I can only guess are UnaVaatu’s spirit vines (1:52). Guess cleaning those up was not in Republic City’s annual budget. Seriously, though, it’s a nice visual way of showing that the events of last season aren’t going to be swept away by a reset button. Republic City, and to a larger extent, the WORLD is permanently changed by Korra’s actions. I find that to be very satisfying. After all, it’s hard not to address.

Damn, that… that looked pretty sweet. It’s been said that The Legend of Korra Book Three will be more like Avatar than the past two books, and while admire the show’s efforts, most of them successful, to establish its own identity outside its parents series, I think making it more like Avatar is not only a smart move, but the right one. We’ve been starving for some mythology, and last season’s “Beginnings” was a tasty treat, but we’re still hungry for more.

Here’s hopin’.

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