As you may have heard, I had the chance to interview Gene Luen Yang and grill him a little bit about The Search and whether we'll finally uncover one of the greatest mysteries in Avatar universe: what happened to Ursa?
This was my second time interviewing Gene, and the Avatar Wiki is so lucky that Gene is gracious enough to not only agree to my interview, but also answer fan questions on a regular basis. We narrowed down your questions to approximately 10, so let's see what Gene was able to reveal about the upcoming graphic novels.
The following is more or less a transcript of my interview, So let’s hear the interview questions Avatar Wiki carefully selected! Note: Bolded sections note parts of the interview that's been transcribed almost word for word.
Gene Yang first spoke a bit about how The Search was a hard piece to write, and what he really enjoyed was the collaborative aspect, with Bryke. He laughed and talked a bit about how crazy it is that he's so involved in writing about Ursa when one of the first things Gene Yang asked about when first getting involved with the graphic novels was about Zuko's mom. He's also really excited to write Azula's character in The Search and how it took a little while to hammer things out for Azula, because she's in a different stage in her life...cracking under pressure, being in a mental institution. He mentions that pieces of her original character remains, but it's not exactly the same. He mentioned the challenges of making her different but still recognizable.
1. The series once stated that Iroh had journeyed into the Spirit World by unknown circumstances. (Siege of The North pt 1) Will this comic go in depth about that? - from anonymous user
- Spirit World is definitely more prominent in this book- but not so much with Iroh's experience. But there have been conversations about Iron's experiences, and Iroh will appear.
Yay for Iroh!
2. Is "The Search" the final canon piece for TLA or are there still upcoming shows/comics? - from Iluvcinderella
- Gene Yang mentioned that it's still up in the air, and that he can't tell us anything at the time.
- What he does mention is that he wanted to show the comings of Republic City and the beginning of the air acolytes, which are two big pieces for Korra. With the Search, there are a couple of pieces leading towards Korra, and more themes are coming together.
3. Part 1: Throughout the course of this series, will we be getting any information, even obliquely, about the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of Azulon and the rationale between Ozai banishing the woman (his wife) who effectively cleared the way for him to seize the throne? - from anonymous user Part 2: Will Ozai's and Ursa's relationship be discussed (for example, how they met, their engagement, their separation, etc)? - general user question
- Gene revealed that The Search is a very flashback-y series, and the focus will be on Fire Nation royal family. Azulon shows up and Ursa's past will definitely be addressed.
4. Will we see other past Avatars whom we haven't heard/seen yet? - from anonymous user
- Not as big of a part in the series but he did tease that we will have to read the series to find out.
5. Will we see some internal struggle in the Fire Nation, now that Fire Lord Zuko is not in the mainland anymore? If so or not, will we learn something about those who send all the assassins to kill Zuko? - from DyingFlameTsui
- In addition to The Search, he worked on a short story of Mai for Free Comic Book Day, which will deal largely with Fire Nation politics. In the Search, it's more of a family story than anything else. The politics are there but only in relation to to the family, who are searching for health and balance.
6. Will this "search" for Ursa become a wild goose chase or end with a partially definitive result at the very least? - from H-Man Havoc
- Gene Yang laughed and said that we'll find out a lot about the family, a very screwed up family and that that's all that he can really reveal.
7. Are you going to show how Aang found the the Sky Bisons and Flying Lemers that are living on Air Temple Island during The Legend of Korra in The Search? - from anonymous user
- The answer is in the comics, Appa and Momo are awesome!
8. Both The Search trilogy and the second season of the Legend of Kora are said to be centered around the spiritual nature of the avatar. Is the plot of The Search related to the second season of The Legend of Korra, like how The Promise was linked to the first season of the Legend of Korra? - from anonymous user
- There are some really loose ties, between The Promise, The Search, and the second season of Korra.
9. Fan Favorites Question: Will the relationships–romantic and otherwise–that were ruptured in The Promise ever be repaired in The Search?
- Unfortunately Mai doesn't show up The Search but she will show up in her own story as the main character.
On a parting note, Gene Yang said: "I have been really grateful for the support, and it's pretty amazing how passionate the fans are, it's been an honor.