Dallas Liu, the showrunner for Netflix’s upcoming The Last Airbender series, talks about how pressure from fan expectations can be a good thing.
Dallas Liu on the Netflix Remake of Avatar: The Last Airbender
Dallas Liu addressed the strain he feels working on Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series in an interview with ComicBook.com. Gordon Cormier as Aang, Kiawentiio as Katara, and Ian Ousley as Sokka were all just announced as our new Zukos. Netflix claims to be attempting to recreate the popular cartoon series as closely as possible. Original Avatar creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Koneitzko, however, departed the project in August 2020 owing to artistic disagreements. Take a look at Liu’s statement, which can be seen below:
“I mean, because it’s such a beloved show, I feel like there’s some pressure to do a great job, and not that I’m doubting anyone or the project in the least, but this is the biggest project and the biggest role that I’ve been able to take part in now, especially leading with a character like Zuko, who’s so complex and one of, if not the show’s, one of the show’s favorites with his fire bending ax. He’s such a fantastic character, and he has one of my favorite character arcs in the whole animation series. So, yeah, I’m just as big of a Zuko enthusiast as everyone else. So, obviously, I’m thrilled since this is a dream come true, but it’s also a bit nerve-wracking. You know what I mean? To do a decent job, and I mean, I can only do what I’m capable of at the end of the day, but I hope people like my performance.”
Since it was originally announced, I’ve been dubious about this series, and my worries were amplified when DiMartino and Koneitzko pulled out. I have no issue with the actors; they generally look the part, and I haven’t seen any of their performances to pass judgment on them. I wish Sokka and Katara had more screen-accurate skin tones, but it isn’t a deal-breaker for me. My objection is to the idea of a live-action Avatar series in the first place. My favorite TV show of all time remains the original, and although there is potential for improvement, I don’t see Netflix focusing on those areas. I’m worried they’ll misinterpret what made the series so amazing and popular in the first place, just like M. Night Shyamalan. I also don’t believe the visual style of the program will transfer well to live-action. I’m reminded of the acrobatics in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Because there is a larger suspension of disbelief in The Clone Wars, things like that look much better. Everything in an animated series seems to be “fake,” so characters performing backflips, for example, are less likely to be questioned.
Dallas Liu, on the other hand, seems to be committed to the job. He seems to be a huge Avatar fan, which I like. Zuko has one of the greatest character journeys I’ve ever seen, and it’s great that the actor who plays him recognizes it. He was in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings lately, but I haven’t watched that or any of his previous work. Liu’s remark gives me little optimism since he is just an actor with little creative control over the show’s overall presentation. At the very least, it seems like he will give it his best, which I admire.
What are your thoughts on Dallas Liu’s remarks and his casting as Zuko? Do you intend to tune in to the program when it premieres? Please let us know in the comments section below!