When Avatar Studios returns viewers to the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, they have the opportunity to pick up where the last series left off. Drawing inspiration from East Asian mythology and fantasy, the Avatar shows follow two consecutive “Avatars,” Aang and Korra, who are tasked with magically mastering all four elements and maintaining balance in their respective time period. A number of comic book series have carried on the story since The Legend of Korra‘s finale in 2014 and Netflix is currently working on a live-action adaptation. But a continuation with even greater fidelity to the original is now set to take place, as creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko have partnered with Nickelodeon to form Avatar Studios, which will focus specifically on stories set in this universe.
With many future films and shows implied in the announcement, a natural focus for a project would be the continuing adventures of Korra and Asami, which looked to be beginning in earnest only at the conclusion of The Legend of Korra. Although groundbreaking at the time, the final, romantic moment between the two seems tame now, largely because Nickelodeon’s concerns resulted in it being watered down and left somewhat ambiguous. However, Avatar Studios is poised to remedy that.
LGBT representation in children’s television has improved markedly in the years since The Legend of Korra, and in part because of it, with shows such as Steven Universe, Adventure Time, and She-Ra and The Princesses of Power prominently featuring characters in same-sex relationships. As such, Korra and Asami’s relationship could now properly be shown as the integral part of their stories that it is. Granted, this has already been done admirably in the comics, but it is unclear as yet if the new studio’s work will treat these as canonical or largely ignore them, à la Disney’s establishment of Star Wars Legends. In either case, there would certainly be value in reemphasizing this plot point for the larger audience that these new projects are sure to draw.
And following this thread wouldn’t just be doing justice to an early display of representation; it would also impact the story in a meaningful way. Most significantly, it would likely create a new dynamic among Team Avatar when the two rejoin Mako and Bolin, potentially bringing a greater level of interpersonal stability to the group, which could greatly affect their ability to deal with the larger threats that always seem to be looming in the world and which would no doubt find their way into a movie or show. Additionally, with the brief glimpses that the show gave of the Spirit World, Korra and Asami’s time spent there could be well worth recounting on its own, particularly if it’s shown in greater detail than it was in the comics.
DiMartino and Konietzko exited Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender adaptation in 2020 due to creative differences, so their involvement in this new venture suggests a greater level of creative independence than they were afforded by the streaming service, or even by Nickelodeon during the first two series. The announcement that Avatar Studios will be a distinct entity under the Nickelodeon banner seems to support this. And while the freedom to deal more directly with various facets of its subject matter has the potential to revitalize the world of Avatar, perhaps the most significant thing that the franchise can do is follow through on earlier breakthroughs that weren’t entirely given their due, including the iconic ending of The Legend of Korra.