The creators of The Legend of Korra gives us a little info about the season final.
The season finale of a TV show like the animated fantasy “The Legend of Korra” can be bittersweet for fans. It’s great to see burning questions answered, but it’s a bummer to have to suffer the long wait for the next season. Followers of more adult-oriented fare like “Girls,” “Game of Thrones,” and “Mad Men” know this feeling all too well.
To preview the season finale of “The Legend of Korra,” and provide some solace to fans by giving them a peek at the future of the show, the Journal spoke to “Korra” creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. Here’s what they had to say. ‘The Legend of Korra” season finale airs on June 23 on Nickelodeon.
What should fans expect from the season finale?
DiMartino: They can definitely expect more awesome stories, and a few more surprises for sure.
Konietzko: We’re really proud of the way the last two episodes came together—especially how the music came together. It’s some of the best music that the composer, Jeremy Zuckerman, has ever done. Really emotional, and we’re really excited to see how people respond to the end of this little story.
Will the music from the show ever be released?
Konietzko: We would love to. It’s something we’ve been pushing for for years, even back on “Avatar.” Especially now with the music on “Korra” where Jeremy has been incorporating a lot more live instrumentation, string performers, Chinese instrumental specialists and stuff like that. We would love to. It’s a big goal of ours for sure.
The penultimate episode had the surprise appearance of General Iroh. What can you tell us about him? Are we going to see more of him in the future?
Konietzko: Yeah, he’s in the finale. Just so we’re clear—he’s Zuko’s grandson, not his son. I think there was some speculation about whether he was his son or grandson. It is his grandson. He’s voiced by Dante Basco. The idea behind him was to have a swashbuckling hero-type guy. He’s the youngest general in the United Forces which is kind of the U.N. of the “Avatar” world now. We just thought it would be a fun way to tie in the legacy of Zuko without having Zuko be present there.
DiMartino: It would be hard for Zuko to swashbuckle at his current age.
What made you decide to bring Dante Basco back into the cast?
Konietzko: Like Mike said, the whole book one of “Korra” even though we’re striking new ground, it was all built on the foundation of the original series. In the episode “Out of the Past” you see how the events involving Aang, Katara, Sokka, and Toph, have set the stage for the current story. For us it was a way to incorporate Zuko’s legacy with a new fresh face.
DiMartino: We loved Dante’s work on the old show and we were looking for a way to organically weave him into this one.
A lot of fans were struck by the scene in which Lin Beifong sacrifices herself and then has her bending taken away. What was it like creating that sequence?
Konietzko: I like nothing more than a character sacrificing himself or herself for the sake of others. That’s drama at its finest for me.
DiMartino: That scene is definitely one of my favorites from the whole first season. It’s got so much emotion wrapped up in it. In terms of her past relationship with Tenzin, and the fact that his family are the last airbenders and she’s willing to make this sacrifice to save them. And Jeremy’s music in that section just brought home the whole tragic feeling.
Nickelodeon Scene from the finale of “The Legend of Korra.” Is it tough for someone who has created a character people really like to hurt or kill that character? I’m reminded of Boromir dying at beginning of the book “The Two Towers.”
Konietzko: That was my favorite scene in “The Lord of the Rings,” so I guess I just gravitate towards that sort of stuff. I’ve been interacting with the fans a bit online, and I try to imagine a show they would find entertaining in which nothing ever happened to the characters. I don’t think it would be an engaging show, I don’t think it would be a fun show to make. For this kind of series, you have to have high stakes, and you have to have consequences, or else it’s like a sitcom show that just resets every week, and they live in a bubble. I think it’s touching that the fans feel so close to the characters that they feel personally hurt. I’ve felt that way in plenty of TV shows—“Game of Thrones,” “Mad Men.” How could they do that to that character? That’s drama.
How far along are you with season two? Is it still scheduled to be 14 episodes?
DiMartino: Yeah, book two is fourteen episodes. We’ve just finished the writing on it and we’re just in the middle of storyboarding and animation and every other thing we have to do to get it to a viewable state.
Konietzko: A lot of work goes into these shows. It takes a long time on animation. With “Korra” we’ve really taken a lot of time to craft it. We’re aiming pretty high, and in order to keep up the quality it just takes a lot of time and a lot or work…I think people are like, okay, what’s next? We’re like, guys it took us two years to make that, come on, we’re still working!
People hate the long wait between seasons for shows like “Mad Men,” or “Game of Thrones.” How should fans deal with that interim period?
DiMartino: I’m a fan of a lot of those shows, and sure, right when the last episode of a season airs I think “Man I want to find out what happens next!” It’s just a natural reaction. I think we’re in this culture where you have Netflix and if you haven’t seen a show, you can watch six seasons of a show and cruise through it. People forget that back in the 80s, you had to wait. You couldn’t watch your favorite show anytime you wanted to watch it. It just takes a long time, especially with animation, to make these shows. But once the next season comes on, people forget that they were impatient about it.
Konietzko: There’s nothing we can do about the harsh realities of how long it takes to make this stuff. You just hope the fans understand it takes time. It’s not like we’re lounging around, playing tennis and only occasionally working on it. We’re working on it all the time, as fast as we can. If there were a way to do it faster we would. Like Mike said, if you watch all three seasons of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” in a weekend—that took us six years to make. Six really hard years. That’s just making art.
How many seasons do you see yourselves doing “Korra” and when will there be a decision on a third season?
Konietzko: Those aren’t really the decisions that we make. I see that with the fans too. I think they think Mike and I pick the show up and greenlight it. That’s not the way it works.
DiMartino: We have story ideas for past book two. So we will see if and when those stories come to light.
In part two of our interview, the “Korra” creators answer questions from fans of the series. Follow me on Twitter @cjfarley and we’ll let you know when that posts!
What do you think? Leave your thoughts about “Korra” in the comments.