Why Avatar: The Last Airbender Still Holds Up
By Andrew Halley
We revisit the lasting legacy of Avatar: The Last Airbender.
When the world needed it most, Avatar: The Last Airbender (ATLA) arrived on Netflix, introducing it to new fans around the world.
But what makes this Nicktoon that premiered in 2005 stand out all these years later?
One main aspect is world-building. ATLA feels grounded because it feels so close to our own world (minus the obvious bending abilities).
Each bending style is based on existing styles of martial arts…
AIR =BA GUA
WATER = TAI CHI
EARTH =HUNG GA
And the four nations borrow from existing cultures, from clothing to writing to architecture.
The show is supported not just by the vastness of the world, but the relatability of its characters.
Each member of Team Avatar grows and matures, all supporting one another along the way.
Zuko’s character arc itself has become a standout example of fantastic writing.
But how did co-creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko go from concept to creation?
Nickelodeon was looking for new shows that embraced “legends and lore”, following the success of major box office successes “Harry Potter” and “The Lord of the Rings.”
They brought Aaron Ehasz on board as lead writer, and Bryan flew to South Korea to tap into the well of talent at Nick’s partner studios.
Meanwhile an all-star cast was assembled, and production officially began.
Watch the entire episode of Animation Inspiration to uncover the story of how Avatar: The Last Airbender came to be the masterpiece it is today.