Many don’t know, but actor Paul Sun-Hyung Lee has a successful nerd YouTube channel called bitterasaindude. Recently, the actor had a live AMA on the channel to answer many fans questions about Christmas and, inevitably, his casting in Netflix’s Avatar: The Last Airbender. The actor revealed that he has always been a fan of the show as he recently completed watching the series multiple times. However, he also reveals he has read the online hate comments regarding the live-action adaptation.
“We just started shooting on November 16th. There are a lot of fans that have concerns and a lot of hate-on’s for the M.Night Shamaylan’s version. This is not it, obviously. It’s [just] interesting how protective fandoms are over franchises. And all I can tell you so far I’m loving everything that I see. And as a fan, I’m really excited about what’s going on. Your just going to have to be patient and watch. And it’s going to be really cool. So all I’m asking is give it a chance.”
Many fans of the original show have been super cautious regarding the upcoming Netflix series after the original show creators Bryan Konietzko, and Michael DiMartino left the project in 2020. While that raises eyebrows, nothing since their departure has necessarily been negative. A false online rumor began by FandomWire stated that the creators left because Netflix wanted to “sex-up” the Avatar characters like Riverdale. Also, fans have been worried that Netflix can’t adapt any live-action series after Death Note and Cowboy Bebop. Many don’t know that Netflix is simply the distributor. Tomorrow Studios was the studio behind the already canceled Cowboy Bebop (and next year’s One-Piece) while Rideback Productions is making Airbender.
Despite all that, the casting has been perfectly spot-on as they cast ethnically diverse actors in the lead roles. A promise Netflix made in 2018 when the project was announced. They even have hired many diverse filmmakers behind the camera, including Michael Goi, Roseanne Liang, Jet Wilkinson, and Jabbar Raisani. As well as hiring an Asain showrunner in Albert Kim to take over the massive franchise.
Several months ago, we at Knight Edge Media learned that a pushback Mike & Bryan did have was regarding the show’s budget. While money is always a problem, it’s unknown why they wanted a larger budget, and Netflix denied their request, which caused friction. It’s entirely possible the streaming service already had a set budget regarding the original first season, and they wanted to expand upon it. Something like that wouldn’t be a negative reason for Netflix to decline the offer to stay faithful to the original show. However, that is all pure speculation on the reason for a larger budget and simply isn’t as deep as some fans might think.
Avatar: The Last Airbender will stream on Netflix in late 2022