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The one thing missing from Netflix's Avatar: The Last Airbender was the big thing Netflix's One Piece got right: the original creators

Lots of fans are comparing Netflix's Avatar adaptation to their adaptation of One Piece. Here's how both productions included (or didn't include) the original creators

Promotional still from Avatar: The Last Airbender
Image credit: Netflix

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How much should original artists be included in adaptations of their work? The question is a big one, one that we don't have an answer to, but as discussion still rages around Netflix's brand-new live action adaptation of fan favorite animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender, it may be worth comparing how much the new production of Avatar: The Last Airbender referred to its original creators compared to the other live action adaptation being bandied about as a comparison - Netflix's One Piece.

Were the creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender involved in the Netflix show?

While the original creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino were hired by Netflix to adapt their animated show to live action, in 2020, both creators quit the project. DiMartino wrote in a blog post to fans that "In a joint announcement for the series, Netflix said that it was committed to honoring our vision for this retelling and to supporting us on creating the series" and "whatever version ends up on-screen, it will not be what Bryan and I had envisioned or intended to make."

This statement makes it quite clear that, while Konietzko and DiMartino were originally involved with the project, their wishes and goals for the live action diverged with what Netflix wanted for the project to the point that they left the project completely. This is quite different from how Netflix's production of One Piece worked with One Piece creator Oda.

Was the creator of One Piece involved in the Netflix show?

inaki Godoy smiling at Luffy in live action One Piece
Image credit: Netflix

One Piece creator Eiichiro Oda was deeply involved with the live action project from Netflix. In a roundtable interview reported on by Games Radar, Oda shared "Whether it's in the outline form, whether it's the scripts, whether it's the editing, they allow me to essentially say, 'This is good enough to go out there... And if I wasn't satisfied, this wouldn't see the light of day. And there were times when I would be very, very blunt with my notes about things that I wasn't happy with, and they responded to all of those."

Whether having a deep connection with an original creator creates a better overall project is for fans to decide. However, it is clear that with these two projects, Netflix differed a lot with how much they included the original creators of the projects they adapted.

Netflix has renewed Avatar: The Last Airbender for season 2! While you wait, check out our watch order for newcomers, an exclusive Avatar reunion panel from ECCC 2024, and a couple recommendations on what to watch after the series. Heck, we've even interviewed some of the best Avatar cosplayers from across the four nations - why not check it out?

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Tiffany Babb

Deputy Editor

Tiffany Babb is Popverse's deputy editor and resident Sondheim enthusiast. Tiffany likes stories that understand genre conventions (whether they play into them or against them), and she cries very easily at the movies— but rarely at the moments that are meant to be tearjerkers.