“Those kinds of pitfalls weren’t hard to avoid”: Netflix Avatar Boss Rips M. Night Shyamalan Movie for its Gravest Mistake

The showrunner of Netflix's Avatar: The Last Airbender explains why he didn't see M. Night Shyamalan's movie.

"Those kinds of pitfalls weren't hard to avoid": Netflix Avatar Boss Rips M. Night Shyamalan Movie for its Gravest Mistake


  • Before Netflix's Albert Kim, M. Night Shyamalan made a live-action project based on Avatar: The Last Airbender.
  • However, Kim purposefully avoided seeing Shyamalan's The Last Airbender.
  • The film received backlash for its casting, which saw white actors portray Asian characters.
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After receiving promising reviews for One Piece, a live-action adaptation of Eiichiro Oda’s manga and animated series of the same name, Netflix is gearing up to premiere another live-action series based on an animated fantasy epic.


Avatar: The Last Airbender will follow Aang, the young Avatar, as he learns to master the four elements (Water, Earth, Fire, and Air) to restore balance to a world threatened by the Fire Nation.

Avatar: The Last Airbender
Avatar: The Last Airbender inspired M. Night Shyamalan’s 2010 film

The show is inspired by the beloved Nickelodeon animated series, which ran for three seasons between 2005 and 2008. However, this isn’t the first time Hollywood has attempted to chronicle Aang and his adventures with Katara and Sokka in a live-action form. M. Night Shyamalan adapted the story in 2010 — only for his movie to receive backlash from many, including Albert Kim.


What Netflix Avatar Boss Said About M. Night Shyamalan’s Movie

M. Night Shyamalan, who’s known for his brilliant work in The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, helmed the action-adventure film, The Last Airbender, two years after the original animated series ended on Nickelodeon.

M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender
M. Night Shyamalan on the set of The Last Airbender

However, Shyamalan’s big-screen project about Aang’s attempts to prevent the Fire Nation from enslaving the Water Tribes and the Earth Kingdom wasn’t received well by fans for a number of reasons, including a horrendous screenplay and controversial casting.

Avatar: The Last Airbender is set in an Asian world and yet the director went with a predominantly white cast. In particular, the decision to cast Nicola Peltz as Katara and Jackson Rathbone as Sokka was heavily scrutinized.


In December of 2023, Albert Kim, the showrunner behind Netflix’s take, revealed to EW that he never watched Shyamalan’s movie. He then added:

“There was a period of time where I thought I should watch it, but then I thought, I don’t really want those images in my head as I start to go forward with our version of this project. So I avoided it purposefully. Now that’s not to say I hadn’t heard the criticisms of it. I knew what fans didn’t like about it in general but those kinds of pitfalls weren’t hard to avoid. For instance, an authentic version of the casting, that’s something that we would’ve done regardless.”

However, he did sympathize with the Split director when it came to the movie’s subpar visual effects, acknowledging the technology hadn’t caught up to the demands.

Avatar Fans Are Already Disappointed With Netflix’s Live-Action Adaptation for One Reason

The challenge to impress Avatar: The Last Airbender fans is going to be an uphill task for Kim as well. As far as the VFX side of things is concerned, Netflix’s trailer for the series, which will premiere on 22 February, has received promising reactions from fans.

A snap from Netflix's Avatar: The Last Airbender trailer
A snap from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Credit: Netflix

However, in an interview with EW, cast members Kiawentiio Tarbell and Ian Ousley revealed that Sokka’s sexism will be toned down in the live-action version.

The idea to move away from the source material has irked many fans. Sexism is a big part of Sokka’s personality in his early days in the series. Sokka realizing his ideas about women are wrong as he embarks on a journey to become a better Water Tribe warrior is crucial to his arc in the Nickelodeon story.

The brains behind the Netflix venture mustn’t ignore distinct traits and personalities of characters as well as cultural references in their bid to please everyone.


Written by Vishal Singh

Articles Published: 514

Vishal Singh is a Content Writer at FandomWire. Having spent more than half a decade in the digital media space, Vishal specializes in crafting engaging entertainment- and sports-focused stories. He graduated from university with an honors degree in English Literature.