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The Cancel Avatar: The Last Airbender Netflix Live-Action Adaptation Campaign is a fan-led backlash to news that the creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender exited the live-action Netflix adaptation over creative differences. According to creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, Netflix planned on changing the tone of the series by aging the child characters up to include adult themes.
On August 12th, 2020, Avatar: The Last Airbender co-creator Michael Dante DiMartino wrote "An open letter to Avatar: The Last Airbender fans" on his website. In the post, he wrote that he and co-creator Bryan Konietzko left the project. He writes:
When Bryan and I signed on to the project in 2018, we were hired as executive producers and showrunners. 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 we expressed how excited we were for the opportunity to be at the helm. Unfortunately, things did not go as we had hoped.
Look, things happen. Productions are challenging. Unforeseen events arise. Plans have to change. And when those things have happened at other points during my career, I try to be like an Air Nomad and adapt. I do my best to go with the flow, no matter what obstacle is put in my way. But even an Air Nomad knows when it’s time to cut their losses and move on.
That day, fellow creator Bryan Konietzko posted a similar statement on Instagram,  announcing his exit. He said, "When Netflix brought me on board to run this series alongside Mike two years ago, they made a very public promise to support our vision. Unfortunately, there was no follow-through on that promise."
The post received more than 135,000 likes in less than two days (shown below).
In a statement, Netflix said:
We have complete respect and admiration for Michael and Bryan and the story that they created in the Avatar animated series. Although they have chosen to depart the live action project, we are confident in the creative team and their adaptation.
On August 13th, the website FandomWire published a series of anonymous reports stating that there were disagreements between Netflix and the creators regarding the casting, tone and budget of the series. In the article, they claimed to have spoken with several "sources at Netflix," though the names of the sources were not revealed. According to the reports, Netflix suggested auditioning white actors for the role against the creators' wishes. FandomWire also writes that Netflix wanted to creators "a darker, mature tone with more romance, sex, and blood."
Following the release of the open letter, some began calling for the cancelation of the show. On August 12th, 2020, Twitter user @talesofsuki started the hashtag "#CancelNetflixATLALiveAction" (shown below).
Some on Twitter began sharing the report from FanWire. Twitter user @shirmhir tweeted a screenshot of the report with the caption, "NO ONE WANTS SEX IN OUR AVATAR SERIES, No, it's not the next game of thrones Netflix, we don't want your fucking shit ideas- the story is about 12-16 year olds group of friends, give us that #CancelNetflixATLALiveAction." The tweet received more than 7,600 likes and 2,100 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below, left). Twitter user @taeubaeful tweeted, "1. The original creators already left 2. They want to whitewash a show that doesn't have a single white character in it and is influenced by Asian culture and Inuits. 3. They are aging up KIDS to sexualize them. What a disgrace, we don't want it 💛 #CancelNetflixATLALiveAction." The tweet received more than 3,900 likes and 1,300 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below, center).
Throughout the day, Twitter user @SuperDuperAlan tweeted another screenshot from the FandomWire report. The tweet received more than 5,800 likes and 1,500 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below, right).
On Reddit, fans discussed and meme'd the controversy. On August 13th, Redditor MrBKainXTR shared an Instagram post by Michael Dante Dimartino announcing his exit in the /r/TheLastAirbender subreddit. The post received more than 66,000 points (94% upvoted) and 7,40 comments in less than 24 hours. Redditor nillibrabu shared a Scarlett Johansson as meme in the /r/TheLastAirbender subreddit, replacing all the characters with her, joking about the rumor that Netflix would whitewash the cast. The post received more than 49,000 points (90% upvoted) and 715 comments in less than 24 hours (shown below).
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