|and KaneC||Film reboot||PG||Positive||None|
"You can't please everybody and it's always a challenge when you adapt something, whether it is a book or a TV series, into two hours, but we're always up for the challenge..."
Many fans of Avatar: The Last Airbender have demanded and expressed interest for a remake or reboot of the film, The Last Airbender. While waiting for a reboot, which may not happen, at least in the near future, aspiring Avatar fans can work on reboot fanon using this page as a starting point. Feel free to voice your opinions and suggestions in the comments section below.
Fan adaptations of Avatar: The Last Airbender include:
- Revised Film Script by (170-180 minutes) — Adapted from Book One: Water transcripts and synopsis, based on most of the episodes M Night previously adapted.
- The Legend of Aáng, by (195 minutes) — a four-part series.
- ATLA Film Reboot, by (167 minutes) — a look at a reasonable reboot strategy in both purist and greatly-changed versions (in progress).
- Realistic Film Adaptation of Avatar: the Last Airbender, by — a film adaptation in 7 parts to get all the right information and timing in without cutting proper character development and important information and scenes.
- The Legend of Aang Saga (725 to 830 minutes in 4 parts), by — a half live action/animated effort to adapt the series into a fulfilling series of four-hour epics
- The first outline I made of the movie I brought Mike and Bryan to my house and said, "I have an outline of the movie, what do you think?" And they said, "This is like 10 hours long. You have to cut stuff." And I thought, "I can't. I love everything." The first outline was so long...
- — Roundtable Discussion with M. Night Shyamalan
Commercial movies can be anywhere between 90 minutes to 180 minutes long. Similar epic PG-rated movies (Star Wars, Harry Potter, Narnia, etc.) had the running time as long as 2.5 hours per movie. Major studios prefer shorter movies if they can get away with it as these are cheaper to produce and distribute. Shyamalan mentioned in his interview by Mike and Bryan that the trilogy will be 6+ hours, which gave "2 hours or so" for the first movie (although the final running time is 103 minutes)[BGoo 1]. The A:TLA story has already been in audio/visual format in 30+ hours for all 3 seasons. To make a film trilogy with 6+ hours means you have to take pieces that are important to you, and rearrange and modify them so it all fits together. Anything else is a mathematical impossibility. Key episodes were kept, while filler episodes (e.g. The Great Divide) were cut to fit the allotted time.[KaneC 1]
Even the fight scenes have to be selective, as they cut into the allotted running time. If every fight scene from the first season is included, this may end up with the characters fighting every 5 minutes or less, effectively turning the movie into a fight-porno. Selected fight scenes can be reasonably spaced out to every 15-20 minutes, based on the episodes chosen for the movie.[KaneC 2] In Shyamalan's adaptation, some major fight scenes were dropped or shortened, such as Sokka holding back his boomerang attack on Zuko when he first arrived at the village, Aang simply escaping from Zuko's ship using his glider without Zuko and his men attempting to shoot down or the involvement of Sokka and Katara in that scene (and the first time the Avatar State is shown) and the removal of both Agni ki Duels between Zuko and Zhao when Zuko simply walked off the luncheon at Zhao's ship after being humiliated in front of everyone present[Hasdi 1] and when Iroh told Zuko to "walk away before Zuko attempts to fight with Zhao at the Northern Water Tribe city."[BGoo 2]
Having more than 3 movies, by breaking each season in two or more movies as done with Twilight 4 and Harry Potter 7, has issues with negotiating contractual commitments with the cast and crew. The cast for Harry Potter for example, only committed to 2-3 movies at the time, allowing them to renegotiate for more favorable contracts to return in additional movies[Hasdi 2]. Daniel Radcliffe remained as Harry Potter at a considerable cost to WB, making him even richer than Prince William and Harry. While Book 1 can easily be adapted into one movie with plenty of filler episodes that easily be cut or modified to fit the running time, Books 2 and 3 are more vast story-wise, so the only options is to either each of these two books into two movies each or to sacrifice an entire story arc in order to adapt one book into an entire movie.[BGoo 3]
This may be less an issue if the movies are 3D animated, as the voice cast can be easily replaced (with no discernible differences to the general audience) if they hold out for more money. However, most recent animated movies are around the same length as the final cut of M Night's movie, so if a 3D animated movie was a re-telling of the original series, length will still be an issue.[BGoo 4]
- In an episodic series, that nature is: it's episodic. A beginning, middle, and end in each episode, so it needs you to go right, left, right, left like that. But there is a through-line that is present in most episodes, like how he has to master all of the elements and that kind of thing. Katara and her brother are becoming a family and they're protecting Aang. And they're moving to the Northern Water Tribe.
- — Roundtable Discussion with M. Night Shyamalan
Film is a different medium than TV; what may work in a book or TV series doesn't necessarily work in film. The audience watches the entire story in one sitting as opposed to a long length of time reading chapters or watching episodes. The plot has to be revamped, to take a branching story meant to fit a TV format and alter it around to fit film format, but keeping the essence of the show including the characters with their main traits, and the key plot line. The plot of Book One can be as simple as a quest story: heroes leave the small village, travel and learn skills, reach the location where the climax will take place and utilize the skills they've learned, often with help from characters they've met along the way.[KaneC 3]
A common story format used in a film is the Three-act structure, in which a screenplay is divided into a three parts called the Setup (Act I), the Confrontation (Act II) and the Resolution (Act III). The first act is used to establish the main characters, their relationships and the normal world they live in. The second act typically depicts the protagonist's attempt to resolve the problem initiated by end of the first act, only to find themselves in ever worsening situations. The second act may be broken up into two or more parts. Finally, the third act features the resolution of the story and its subplots. In Shyamalan's film, the acts are:
- Act I, The Boy in the Iceberg — based on the first two episodes, The Boy in the Iceberg and The Avatar Returns.
- Act II(a), The Avatar Returns[nb 1] — based on the Southern Air Temple and Imprisoned episodes, with parts of The Warriors of Kyoshi episode.
- Act II(b), The Blue Spirit — based on The Blue Spirit episode, flashbacks of The Storm episode, elements of Winter Solstice, Part 2 episode, and possibly the Relics comic.
- Act III, The Siege of the North — based on the last three episodes, The Waterbending Master and The Siege of the North, Part 1 and Part 2.
Plot vs. Character Development
In literature, a plot is defined as the events that make up a story, and characterisation is the process of creating and conveying information about a character. A good movie or story needs both plot and character development. While there are many "Plot v.s. Character" debates out there, with a limited running time, you may have to be selective between the two. There are not many cases where a dialogue or a scene can simultaneously develop both plot and character, as effectively as developing plot or character alone. As such, plots may need to be sacrificed for more characterisation, and vice versa. This usually means cutting down the episodes to adapt (or portion thereof) and cutting down the number of characters. [KaneC 4][BGoo 5]
- Basically the last two episodes of the first season was like a whole season. They slammed everything. I remember when I saw it I told the boys [ Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko ], you're killing me in those two episodes. Just every back story, every single thing you can jam in there. Even in our third act there's a ton jammed in there. It's as much as an audience can take jammed in there. You would need to turn the third act into half the movie to do justice to the back stories
- — M. Night Shyamalan on cutting down Sokka and Yue's courtship
A composite character is a character in a fictional work (or, in some cases, a non-fictional work) that is composed of two or more individuals. This helps save running time, minimize the cost of casting and hiring many actors, reduce character clutter, and enhance the importance of otherwise minor characters[Hasdi 3]. Certain characters from the series had to be merged for the exact reason. For example, the film version of Yue is composed of the series Yue and Arnook, by having her father written off as dead at the start of the movie. [Hasdi 4]. Some minor characters with no further roles were reduced to unnamed characters, as done with Kanna (credited as Katara's Grandma), the Earthbending boy (Haru) and his father (Tyro), etc. Otherwise, the minor characters may not be in the film long enough to justify their presence, like the fortuneteller in the "Talk To The Dead" deleted scene (Aunt Wu); and Suki and her Kyoshi Warriors (despite being merged with Jet and his Freedom Fighters in the movie novelization)[KaneC 5]:
- "It was like introducing these great characters who had nothing to do with the third act. That's what happens in the series, but in the short form of the movie, it becomes blatant. Where did they go? Why aren't they in the third act? So I made the very difficult decision of pulling them from the movie and introducing them in the second movie if we have the opportunity."
- — M. Night Shyamalan, on why the Kyoshi Warriors were cut[BGoo 6]
The most drastic composite character is the Dragon Spirit, taking over on the roles of Roku, Koh, Fang, and Guru Pathik. Creating a composite character of this nature is not unprecedented for a feature-length adaptation of a long series. For example, Superman: Doomsday, a 2007 American direct-to-video animated film adaptation of the popular DC Comics storyline The Death of Superman, has the Superman clone that was a composite of the four fake Supermen from that storyline: Superboy (as a clone of Superman), the Eradicator (who killed criminals), Cyborg Superman (who attempted to convince everyone he was the genuine article), and Steel (who wanted to protect the people). [KaneC 6]
Some composites can be confusing to fans of the original fictional work, like the film depiction of Ozai, who is a composite of Admiral Zhao and Firelord Ozai, as in being the main antagonist of the film series, much like the animated Zhao is in the animated series. Along with roles originally played by the animated Ozai, he played many roles of the animated Zhao. In some cases, the roles are jointly shared with the film Zhao, particularly the plan to eliminate the Ocean and Moon Spirits in the Siege of the North. The characterization for the animated Zhao is more closely depicted with this Ozai than with the film Zhao, e.g., sinister and devious, rather than cocky and ambitious.[KaneC 7]. On the other hand, the film version of Zhao is a spun-off character, personifying a younger Zhao who served as a junior Lieutenant under General Shu (and then found the hidden library), and apparently an illegitimate son of Zhao-Ozai composite, turning the relationship dynamics between "Zhao Jr." and Zuko similar to Edmund and Edgar in King Lear. This in turn is the reason why the film contains many scenes between him and Fire Lord Ozai, a relationship not illustrated in the cartoon.[KaneC 8]
- Adaptation Process for The Last Airbender — details on how Shyamalan adapted the film
- Reception for The Last Airbender — reviews and criticisms for the film
- Episode transcripts and the transcripts for The Last Airbender film
- — additional suggestions from
- The Legend of Aáng by — his ideas on readapting A:TLA
- ↑ The events for The Avatar Returns episode is in Act I, but Aang revealing himself to be the Avatar and the resolution to travel to the North to learn Waterbending was moved to Act II(a), hence also the title.
- ↑ Producer Frank Marshall on The Last Airbender. LOVEFiLM (2010-08-10). Retrieved on July 21, 2011.
- ↑ Daniel Radcliffe richer than Prince William and Harry. The Economic Times (2010-10-18). Retrieved on July 13, 2011.
- ↑ Characterization vs. Plotting. Novel-Writing-Help.com (2008).
- ↑ Meredith Woerner (2010-07-04). What the Last Airbender TV series has that the movie doesn't. UGO. Retrieved on July 20, 2011.
- ↑ Rick Marshall (2010-07-02). M. Night Shyamalan Reveals 'The Last Airbender' Deleted Scenes. MTV Splashpage. Retrieved on July 13, 2011.
- ↑ Dan Kaufman (2010-06-02). It's All Geek To Me — Mandvi on Fire — An Exclusive Interview with Aasif Mandvi from M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender. 30ninjas. Retrieved on July 13, 2011.