- "Change, my dear, and not a moment too soon."
- ―The Doctor on regeneration
It is no secret that Avatar is my favourite cartoon series. And while I have never explicitly stated it, I have not kept it a secret that my favourite non-cartoon series is the BBC Sci-Fi, Doctor Who. As you would know, two years ago, Doctor Who celebrated its famous 50th anniversary.
You might be wondering, what on earth does this have to do with Avatar? Well, let us look at what they both have in common. Well, to start with, they both seem to be about overcoming your enemy through intellect, rather than sheer power. Aang being the last Airbender and the Doctor being the last Timelord is another similarity. The two shows convey important messages about hope and peace, love for your fellow man/alien.
There is one aspect, more than others, that is surprisingly similar between the two.
In Doctor Who, the Doctor has an ability called regeneration and it is literally that. When the Doctor dies, his cells rewrite themselves and thus he takes on an entirely different form (actor change). This has enabled the show incredible flexibility. This was originally introduced as a one-off occasion, as a means of replacing an ageing lead actor. However, they found it worked very well and it has continued ever since. From 1963 when it began to now, not a single actor, crewmember, producer or writer is the same. The entire development team and cast has changed. But what is the same? What is the same is who the Doctor is.
The Avatar has a very similar ability named reincarnation. This ability means that when the Avatar dies, (s)he is born again into the next element, thus, changing the actor. Look at Legend of Korra, they replaced every single character (without the need to remove some actors entirely, it's a cartoon) and gave it an almost totally different setting. It was a smashing success. A greater success than anyone could imagine. To me, this shows that Avatar could continue to go on for a long times, changing Avatars when neccessary.
If you do not believe that regeneration and reincarnation are similar, look to the right and see that I am not the only person to have thought so. Then again, that doesn't really mean anything.
Renewing the series
The fact that the Doctor keeps changing actor meant that the series could last as long as it did. The show did not depend on any actor, producer, writer, developer or any one person staying. When William Hartnell left, he was replaced, when Tom Baker left, he was replaced. While originally, regenerations brought uncertainty for the future of the series, they are now seen as exciting. They are even seen by some as unofficial days of mourning/celebration in Britain and the Commonwealth.
The same could go for the Avatar. It will not matter whether the Avatar is Aang, Roku, Wan, Korra or whomever may be next or lie in between. All that matters is that the Avatar is the Avatar - the master of all four elements and keeper of balance. Voice, appearance, gender and ethnicity do not matter in the slightest - well, as long as it's not a shrill high voice, but that is for a totally different reason. Regeneration helped Doctor Who last for over 50 years, it could do the same for Avatar.
Hold on, didn't the Avatar creators announce they were not going to renew Avatar? Isn't that an obstacle? Well, granted, it is. That, however, did not stop Doctor Who. When Verity Lambert left Doctor Who in 1966, everyone thought the series would end. It didn't. That is because other people stepped up to take her place. I know there are many talented writers out there with a passion for Avatar. I know there are talented writers here, on the Wiki! Any one of them could step up if neccessary and take over the series, perhaps create a new one. This is of course, if the current development team doesn't mind letting the show be ran by other people. In this way, Avatar could last as long as Doctor Who, or perhaps even longer.
I hope you enjoyed reading my blog about the potential similarities between Doctor Who. I know it is more of wishful thinking than anything else, but it is always best to have hope. Do you know the two people who would say that? You would obviously say Katara after watching the Ember Island Players butcher it. There is one more person - the Doctor. The two are similar.