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Nickelodeon Launching Avatar Studios, Announces New Animated Feature


Has there been an American animated series in the past 20 years as beloved as Avatar The Last Airbender? It's definitely hard to think of many with anywhere as big a following. The series won a decent and loyal audience with its original run on Nickelodeon between 2005 and 2008. But it has only grown exponentially in popularity in the years since to the point that it was reportedly the most successful kids' title on Netflix in the US in 2020.

Netflix is producing a live-action series based on the show, which will be the second adaptation following the 2010 M Night Shyamalan film that is as universally derided as the original is acclaimed. But despite the explosion in popularity, there hasn't been an official continuation in animation since the sequel series The Legend Of Korra wrapped up in 2014. Fans hungry for more stories in this world have had to make do with official comics.

Nick finally seems to have realised what they've got and have announced the establishment of Avatar Studios. The new outfit will produce both animated series and films set in the world of Avatar and Kora. First up is a new theatrical animated feature that is slated to begin production this year. New Avatar content is expected to be a strong draw for Paramount Plus, the new streaming service from ViacomCBS that is set to replace CBS All Access on March 4. The company isn't going to want to get Netflix to have all the spoils much longer.

Original creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko will serve as co-chief Creative Officers of the new studio, ultimately reporting to Nickelodeon Animation president Ramsey Naito. However, society has changed considerably since the show aired and the pair would be wise to listen to the concerns of Asian fans. With the Avatar world drawing strongly on Eastern culture, hiring appropriate writers, directors and other creatives would feel like the right thing to do here.

There is a lot of potential for stories that can be told in this world. The stories of Aang and Kora are pretty much finished, but there's much more to the world than just these two characters- and there's a gigantic fanbase out there who will eat it all up.

The news comes as part of a flood of news from ViacomCBS as they prepare for the launch of Paramount Plus. Also announced in animation was the news that the previously announced revival of popular Nicktoon favourite Rugrats is coming to the streaming service this year. The CG animated series will bring back the original voice cast Elizabeth Daly, Nancy Cartwright, Cree Summer and Kath Soucie.  You can get a look at the new series in the first image, below.