It has already been a whole year since we were given our first glance and a basic story premise for the continuation of Avatar The Last Airbender known as Legend of Korra, and from the sounds of it, it seems we got a whole other year of waiting on our hands before we see the final product. Be that as it may, Avatar’s fanbase has steadily inclined since its finale three summers ago, and we were all on edge tuning into the Nickelodeon Booth at this year’s San Diego Comic Con for any ounce of new information coming our way. For the record, no, I was not able to attend Comic Con, but thanks to a combination of Avatar fans more daring, aspiratious, and fortunate than I, and a genuine article of the 21st Century called the Internet, I’ve seen close to everything that went down. As the Legend of Korra First Look Panel began at 4:00 Saturday the 23rd, what we got was more than just a simple trailer.
Though there was a trailer. And it’s… well, see for yourself.
For the record, I’m not really into the name of this series officially being The Last Airbender: Legend of Korra. Not only does it sound too wordy and awkward, it doesn’t make sense seeing as the Avatar, at this point of time, is no longer “The Last Airbender.” If this still has something to do with Nickelodeon loosing the rights to the title “Avatar” to Jimmy Boy and his precious alien Thunder Cats, or even if it’s simply for the sake of not confusing people with said movie, than it’s come to a point when copyright laws need to STOP BEING A FREAKING LOAD! Seriously, this is almost as embarrassing as Little Kuriboh getting banned from YouTube three times for making non-profit fan parodies, just stop it. It’s not welcoming to a creative environment. [Pranger’s Note: I would suggest looking to such brand recognition names as “The Legend of Zelda” or “Final Fantasy” for easy reasons as to why it’s still called “The Last Airbender.”]
Besides that small detail, I couldn’t be more ecstatic. For having no dialogue to speak of, this trailer does everything it needs to, i.e. remind us all how Avatar’s animation, cinematography, art (character and backgrounds), fight choreography, and music far surpass any other animated series of this current generation, and how a whole new setting that resembles a 1920’s Jazz age version of Shanghai with industrial revolution colors is going to fit into the Avatar world just fine. More than fine really, it looks phenomenal.
In addition to the trailer, we were given a huge dose of information regarding Legend of Korra’s cast, including Aang and Katara’s family tree, and some of Korra’s top allies in Republic City. Here is what I’ve gathered.
Naga (and other animals)
In Avatar: The Last Airbender, the Fire Nation displayed they were able to reach their industrial revolution long before the other nations. Fast-forward 70 years later and that revolution has come full circle and is now in full force across Republic City. And yet, I was very pleased to see that Avatar Korra was still seen attached to her animal guide while everyone else is driving around in vehicles.
Our Appa for this series comes in the form of Naga, a rare creature known as a Polar Bear Dog, and boy does she look awesome (I want one). As far as other animals go, it is true that both Sky Bison and Flying Lemurs will return somewhere in the show, (with slight artistic upgrades as well). One more revealed newcomer is Pabu a small mammal called a Fire Ferret, a combination of a Red Panda and a Black Footed Ferret.
Mako and Bolin
What we have here is one lucky fan’s autographed poster from SDCC (I want one!) and with it we reveal the two members of Korra’s Krew: A tall handsome Firebender with a scarf, fingerless gloves, and Ryan Seacrest / Nathan Drake hair named Mako (named after the late voice actor of Uncle Iroh in season’s One and Two), and a stout, heavy Earthbender named Bolin (who kinda looks like a teenage Iroh). Now, that was just my guess what their names were at my first glace at the image, given the names we had confirmed in the cast several months ago, but as more information came in, while I did learn that my guess was 100% correct, there was another bit of information that I wouldn’t have guessed in a hundred years.
These guys are brothers. This makes them the first group of siblings in the series that bend separate elements. [Pranger’s Note: I am now stunned silent!] This also means that one of their parents had to originate from the Fire Nation while the other originated from the Earth Kingdom (Yay for interracial families). Personality-wise, Mako is said to have sort of a brooding Zuko-esque vibe to him, while his brother Bolin will be more of a goof (correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure Bolin is the guy with the one and only line at the very end of the trailer). While my instincts tell me I’m going to lean toward Bolin because I dig Earthbenders and he just seems more fun to me, I’m genuinely liking both these guys so far.
Oman The Equalist
The man in the mask at the top of the above poster is named Oman, and he will be serving as the series’ main villain. Clearly he is against the idea of harmony between nations, and even more against bending. At his command is a legion of masked henchmen who have mastered the art of chi blocking, a technique previously seen used by Ty Lee in the original series. While that’s pretty much all that we have on the villains, the concept of a foot clan comprised of Ty Lee’s is already enough to creep me out. The new Team Avatar’s got their work cut out for them.
These guys are the legacy of one of my personal biggest loves of Avatar. Toph Bei Fong scoured the earth teaching an elite group of Earthbenders to develop her unique ability to bend metal (it is still not a very common skill, yet there are a few who can do it now). They are currently lead by Toph’s daughter (whose name could not be heard over the roaring crowd, nor was she given a father) and comprise the local law enforcement of Republic City. They each come armed with a metal cable that they can retract from their backpacks. Given Korra’s brash attitude and knack for running into trouble, don’t be surprised if she has them breathing down her neck as well.
Now for the information that everyone wants: Aang and Katara did go on to have three kids, all of which were born Airbenders. The youngest of these being Tenzin, now married with three kids of his own. (Seen above.) Tenzin is crucial to Korra’s spiritual journey, as well as mastering her fourth element. While he tries very hard to pull off the Zen Monk/inner peace role of his people, he has to balance that with being a family man, as said family will be frequently involved in his life. Tenzin’s wife Pemma is supposedly a blonde in her final concept (making her the first blonde-haired character on the show). Their first daughter, Jinora, is a reserved bookworm type, while Ikki, the second daughter, is a big talker. Their youngest and only son, Milo (a character leaked very early on but with little information until now), is just a crazy hyperactive boy. All in all, some family, and I say that with no shroud of sarcasm.
Still, despite all I’ve said here, it’s only just scratching the surface. In all honesty, the staff behind Avatar could have simply shown me the trailer and maybe a third of the concept photos that they did and I would have been more than happy. As it stands, I almost feel spoiled. Yet, to be fair, they still left plenty of room for questions. We have yet to hear any of the real dialogue or get a taste of the writing. Oman looks to be a very mysterious villain and I am very intrigued to hear what his story is. We know Toph has a daughter yet no husband’s revealed yet. Not only that, there are two whole other families we have yet to touch on at all: Zuko/Mai and Sokka/Suki.
Unfortunately, no premiere date yet either. Regardless, it’s very hard to be upset when everything they did show us is looking and sounding pretty damn good. There’s still a lot of work to be done, but we can now rest easy that Mike, Bryan, and the team behind them are working to create a tremendously worthy addition to the Avatar Franchise. So stay tuned as The Last Airbender: Legend of Korra, comes to Nickelodeon in 2012. [Pranger’s Note: Premiere party at Gus’!]