Aang, Katara, and Sokka in Avatar: The Last Airbender
(Nickelodeon)

Will We Ever Get More of the Original ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’?

The release of Netflix’s adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender has brought Aang and the gang back to everyone’s minds. Whatever you thought of the live-action, it’s been a joy to be inside a moment where we’re once again all talking about how damn good the original Avatar is, 20 years after it began airing.

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Seasons 2 and 3 of the live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender have been confirmed, which will likely conclude the material that the three seasons of the original cartoon gifted us all. But what of the original Avatar? It may seem far-fetched, but will we ever see more Aang at the hands of his original creators, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko?

The short answer is, shockingly and beautifully, yes. Yes, more of the Aang era of the Avatar timeline is on the way. But will it take the shape of a fourth season, set 16 or so years after the final episode aired in 2008? That’s actually a very interesting question, with lots of history behind it.

Season 4, or …

Creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko initially planned Avatar: The Last Airbender to be a three-season show. But in the lead-up to the conclusion of the third season on Nickelodeon in 2008, there started to be discussion about what would happen in a theoretical season four. Head writer Aaron Ehasz, who would’ve run the fourth season, had plenty of ideas.

Ehasz shared his thoughts in 2019 via a thread on X (then Twitter). As he describes it, he wanted Azula to hit rock bottom so that she could have a redemption arc, to explore Aang’s guilt in the aftermath of the third season’s final showdown and how he basically had to absorb some of [SPOILER REDACTED]’s anger and evil, and in both cases illustrate that Zuko is indeed the best boy by helping both Aang and Azula keep it together. On one hand, the ending of season three feels definitive and is phenomenal. On the other, we would’ve gotten a bro vacation with Aang and Zuko.

But alas, season four was never to be. However, there was a “sequel” of sorts to Avatar: The Last Airbender. That show is The Legend of Korra, a divisive show that should not have been divisive, because it’s good. During its two-year run between 2012 and 2014, Korra introduced us to its titular protagonist, who is the Avatar directly after Aang. Incidentally, this means Aang is dead during the sequel (and so is Sokka). But, technically speaking, Korra’s his reincarnation, if that helps. You also do get to check in on an elderly Toph, Katara, and Zuko, so that’s fun. But it’s certainly different from a fourth season of The Last Airbender.

So no, there was never a true season 4 of The Last Airbender. And there never will be a season 4—because we’re getting the first of a sequel film trilogy in 2025 instead.

… Three whole movies!

In 2020, Avatar: The Last Airbender creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko split from the live-action Netflix adaptation over “creative differences.” The very next year, they announced the creation of Avatar Studios. In other words, it seems their experience with Netflix spurred them to become laser-focused on delivering what fans wanted in the first place: more of the cartoon.

Avatar Studios has been incredibly busy. We’re getting a new series, following the Avatar who lives in a modern age, about 100 years after Korra. But more relevant to the question of “what happened to season 4?,” we’re getting a trilogy of films about Aang and the Gaang. Not one. Not two. Three films.

However, the new films will not simply be “the season four that never happened,” because they will not pick up right after season three dropped the baton. They will actually take place much, much later, when Aang, Katara, Sokka, and Zuko are full-grown adults. It’s fully possible that the ideas for the never-to-be season four will make their way into the film, though. Or Azula could just have never had that redemption arc and could still be a bit … much.

Paramount confirmed in April 2024 that the first of the three films, titled Aang: The Last Airbender, is on track for its initially slated release in October 2025. Which is only next year! Compared to sixteen years, that’s nothing. You could also try freezing yourself in a block of ice, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

(featured image: Nickelodeon)


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Author
Kirsten Carey
Kirsten (she/her) is a contributing writer at the Mary Sue specializing in anime and gaming. In the last decade, she's also written for Channel Frederator (and its offshoots), Screen Rant, and more. In the other half of her professional life, she's also a musician, which includes leading a very weird rock band named Throwaway. When not talking about One Piece or The Legend of Zelda, she's talking about her cats, Momo and Jimbei.