NETFLIX IS EXPLORING an interesting business plan: take pre-existing properties, particularly animation, and create live-action versions of them. It’s a bold move, one that has had both swings and misses.

One of the most notable attempts at this adaptation plan was Cowboy Bebop, starring John Cho. The famous anime attempted to make a solid adaptation, but fans voiced their unhappy opinions, and the show was filed away as a failure.

On the other hand, Netflix has more recently made the One Piece anime into a live-action show as well. Faring far better than Cowboy Bebop, One Piece received critical and audience praise, and was renewed for a second season almost immediately after its premiere.

So what’s next on Netflix’s list of major shows to adapt? It’s arguably one of the best children’s shows of all time: Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Originally airing from 2005–2008, the series is set in a vast and fascinating fantasy world where people have the chance to be born with elemental powers: earth, air, fire, and water to be exact. Each element thus becomes integral to a community of people and the kingdoms they build as a result. And, of course, that means wars erupt. The only person who can stop conflict from happening is the Avatar, a regularly reincarnated being who controls all four elements, unlike any other person in the world. Their job is to keep peace and harmony between all four nations and cultures, solving any disputes that could become deadly.

But when the Fire Nation becomes too powerful, they decide to destroy the Air Nation, where the next Avatar is set to be born. That leaves one Airbender left: 12-year-old Aang. Along with two promising members of one of the Water Tribes, brother and sister Sokka and Katara, Aang travels to various elemental villages and cities to learn all four elements in his quest to defeat the leader of the Fire Nation, Fire Lord Ozai.

While the show ran for three seasons (and told a beautiful and complete story), it has lived on in a spin-off chronicling the journey of the next Avatar, Korra (which lasted for four seasons itself), and the creators of the show have continued to dive into characters’ backstories and provide even more tales within the Avatar world through ongoing comics. All that to say, there’s a lot the Netflix show can explore.

But before we dive into the show and what Netflix has in store, we should also address the elephant in the room: the M. Night Shyamalan attempt to adapt the show into a film trilogy in 2010. With bad CGI, terrible acting, and and an incomprehensible plot, the film was a failure to say the least. Here’s hoping Netflix will take some lessons from that endeavor.

Another caveat is that the original creators of the show and comics, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, left the Netflix series due to creative differences. That could mean the live-action series is taking a much different approach than the original show.

So, here’s what we know so far about Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Is there a trailer for Season 1?

During Netflix’s 2023 Geeked Week, when their fantasy/sci-fi, and animated shows are announced or teased, we finally got a first look at the streaming giant’s version of Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Fans will be able to point out everything they’ve seen in the animated show and comics, like Ba Sing Se, where many Earthbenders live, Crescent Island, off the coast of the Fire Nation, and even Kyoshi Island. That said, we don’t get much in terms of how faithful the adaptation will be. It’s mostly shots of locations, which a few glimpses at Appa, Momo, and the core cast. Will the show cut some of the smaller side plots or various journeys the group goes on in their quest to defeat the Fire Nation?

The trailer is also the first time we get a sense of the overall tone of the show. While Avatar: The Last Airbender has an overall serious plot arc, the show is also known for its humorous diversions (who doesn’t remember the “My cabbages!” guy or the song in the secret tunnel?). So here’s hoping Netflix will veer toward a more balanced show, and not one that’s all doom and gloom.

For now, we’ll have to wait and see what direction the streaming platform takes.

When is the Netflix Avatar: The Last Airbender‘s release date?

Netflix didn’t just drop the trailer, they also gave us a release date. The first season of the show is set to hit Netflix on February 22, 2024. That’s not too far away, so fans can enjoy the holiday season, then ring in the new year with Avatar: The Last Airbender. Ironically, the show’s release date is 19 years later, almost to the day, that the original animated series first aired (February 21, 2005).

Who stars in Avatar: The Last Airbender?

Daniel Dae Kim in Avatar: The Last Airbender

Netflix

The show is filled with newcomers when it comes to the main cast. Gordon Cormier stars as Aang, Kiawentiio as the Waterbender Katara, Ian Ousley as Sokka, Dallas Liu as the heir to the firebending throne, Zuko, and Elizabeth Yu as Azula, Zuko’s more volatile older sister.

As for the adults, the series’ main villain, Fire Lord Ozai, will be played by a recognizable face: Daniel Dae Kim, of Lost and Hawaii Five-Oh fame. Uncle Iroh, Zuko’s mentor, will be played by Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, and Ken Leung will play Commander Zhao.

While we don’t know how long the Netflix series is set to run for, there’s likely many, many other people cast in the show we have yet to see if Netflix wishes to tell the complete story.

Headshot of Milan Polk

Milan Polk is an Editorial Assistant for Men’s Health who specializes in entertainment and lifestyle reporting, and has worked for New York Magazine’s Vulture and Chicago Tribune.