Back in April the former head writer of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aaron Ehasz sent shockwaves through the ATLA fan community. While the original series had ended with three seasons Ehasz revealed on his personal twitter that at one point a fourth season of the series was briefly considered.
The only major plot point he discussed was the character of Azula and that he had always planned for her to have a redemption arc. In her deepest and darkest moment she would have turned to Zuko for help, paralleling his own journey out of darkness. He also said that one of the reasons season 4 didn’t happen was that ATLA co-creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko were focusing on The Last Airbender film directed by M. Night Shyamalan.
When we got the chance to speak with Ehasz as he was promoting his new series, The Dragon Prince, at San Diego Comic-Con we had to ask further details about this never seen fourth season. Ehasz was first keen to clarify he didn’t want to sound like he was second-guessing DiMartino and Konietzko. It was simply that, towards the end of season three, he had been asked to think about what a fourth season would have been like.
“In my mind I was always thinking this was going to be a four season arc,” says Ehasz. “Mike and Bryan’s initial plan was three seasons, but there was a period where they were open to the possibility of a fourth season. There was a period where Mike said, “Hey, can you run season four?” Then some of those plans got interrupted.”
Ehasz reaffirmed his earlier stated plans for a longer arc for Azula but also divulged additional details. One plotline would have followed up on Aang taking away Fire Lord Ozai’s bending at the end of the third season.
“My feeling about that was like there’s always a cost, right? There’s always some balance. You can’t just be like I’m the Avatar, taking your powers away. It’s a great power, but part of it is you just took all this evil into you. To take it away from someone else you’re holding onto it to protect the world.”
For Aang that would have been an incredible burden and something Ehasz would have wanted to see him deal with.
“The story I wanted to tell with Aang was about him struggling with taking some of that inside and probably a considerable amount of anger and guilt and big feelings. By the way, guess who would be the best person to have a mini vacation with? It’s Zuko! Someone who’s processed a lot of anger on his own, right?”
Ehasz says other storylines included one around the spirit world featuring Iroh. Another was “a story about a child being born that people were wondering if this was another Airbender or not. In particular Aang started to wonder if this was the reincarnation of Gyatso. That was something I wanted to do and talk about the idea of friendships lasting beyond lifetimes.”
Even with these ideas for how a fourth season would have gone, Ehasz is still quick to say that many loved ATLA exactly the way it was. “Obviously some right decisions were made.” Still, as Ehasz puts it, “we had a fourth season if the world had deemed it.”
Special thanks to Hazel for her help with the interviews for this article.