written BY: OLIVIA BIGHAM, guest writer
Avatar: The Last Airbender (ATLA) was released on May 18 on Netflix, and it caused a wave of childhood nostalgia. The big release could not have come at a more perfect time.
With the wave of Tiger King far behind, hoards of locked up college students and millennials flocked to the long awaited re-released hit Nickelodeon TV show.
Appa, the “gaang,” the best redemption arc of our generation and the slow, soothing music were all welcome as fleeting moments of peace from this sh*t storm of a world. Sadly, the peace always shattered at the flicker of a TV or a peak at Twitter.
However, it left many with questions: What happened to the “gaang” after the show? What about the previous Avatars? What in the world happened to Zuko’s mom?
Then on August 14, the world got yet another fix from childhood memories: The Legend of Korra. Before August, it wasn’t a readily available show and not many had seen it so there were fresh audience eyes watching.
However, it wasn’t quite what anyone was expecting.
Set about 70 years after the end of ATLA, we see the next Avatar in the cycle: a waterbender named Korra. She is a short tempered, rash, punch first and ask questions later badass of a woman. Essentially, she’s everything that Aang isn’t.
This is one of the first points established in the show. In her first scene she is seen as a toddler whipping not one, not two, but three elements around all while yelling “I’m the Avatar, you gotta deal with it!”
Her reaction is the total opposite reaction seen in Aang, who preferred to deny his role, run away to his old man friend and eat cake. Additionally, she is bending all but Aang’s preferred and birth element.
If you came here for ATLA part two you’re in the wrong spot. Plant that in your mind before continuing past the first two minutes of the show.
The Legend of Korra is not without criticism, however. Many viewers didn’t want a new story — they wanted the original. To that I have to say: too bad.
Of course, we all want our questions answered from ATLA, but that isn’t what the writers wanted.
While we do see glimpses of our beloved “gaang,” the writers wanted to tell an entirely different story from their original show.
Everything from the main character’s attitude and age to the setting, the villains and even the use of on-screen death was different.
Korra and her team are all in their late teens; they aren’t children. The world is set in an incredible pseudo-steampunk, industrial revolution, early American 1920s scape and not a classical pre-imperialist world. There is no authoritarian fascist government to dismantle.
This show is so reversed that in the first season, the Avatar doesn’t fight fascism — she fights communism. They are polar opposites on the political scale.
By doing this, the writers opened up an infinite number of stories to tell about the Avatar universe. More shows could be made off any Avatar from any time — future or past.
Overall, the show did a great job filling a hole in our hearts and opening up a whole new world for the fanfiction writers to delve into until we get to see a new Avatar.
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