After the Shyamalan debacle Avatar: The Last Airbender film, aside from the fact that it was an awkwardly cut and executed version of the otherwise amazing and fun source material inspired by Asian culture and mysticism, there was widespread outcry, including here on 8Asians, on the ways in which the clearly Asian and indigenous cultural heritage roles were white-washed.
Apparently, Netflix heard that criticism loud and clear as the the current cast, at the very simplest visual level, actually looks like the original characters in the widely successful animated series. Representation aside, as a long time fan of the original series, I very much appreciate that and feel it bodes well for this reboot of the story.
The next hurdle is the quality of the martial arts, one of the key elements that made the animated series so excellent. From the trailer so far, it seems like only Fire Nation has solid skills, which honestly is a bit ominous for me as someone who is very particular about this and will find it difficult to enjoy the story if anyone starts doing backwards tai chi like in the Shyamalan film.
Finally, in terms of story and character development, the main Team Avatar is made up of experienced young actors, and the supporting cast is full of seasoned professionals. Nevertheless, the leaving of the original creators due to creative differences definitely worries fans. Of course, their Legend of Korra series was not as well put together and magical as their first Avatar arc, so having the original creators is not a guarantee that the show will be good.
In any case, I’m left in the same state I was in when waiting for the Rurouni Kenshin live action films, wringing my hands nervously repeating over and over in my head “Please don’t suck, please don’t suck…”