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So, M. Night Shyamalan Still Wants to Make ‘The Last Airbender 2’

the last airbender 2

Before we go any further, let’s get my opinion straight. I’m speaking to M. Night Shyamalan directly when I say, STAY AWAY FROM AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER. FOREVER.

There, that’s all I wanted to say, aside from the rest of this.

Strangely, some people don’t blame the once promising director for the insulting mess that was 2010’s The Last Airbender, including Shyamalan himself. We’ll get to the lunacy of that, but first I should mention that this is still a minority opinion. A terrible opinion, but a minority opinion all the same.

Venture Capitol Post posted an article yesterday with an unforgivably misleading title that shocked and scared the eyes of hopefully only tens of readers:

‘Avatar: The Last Airbender 2’ Confirmed: Director M. Night Shyamalan Defends 1st Film from Longstanding Criticism.

Um…No, this movie is most certainly NOT confirmed. Obvious clickbait headline isn’t just clickbait. It’s actually beyond clickbait, transcending into a full on clicksnare.

the last airbender 2
This will teach readers to skim my lede.

Nowhere in the article does it say that The Last Airbender 2 has been “confirmed.” They don’t even get the name of the movie right in the title, which should be the first red flag.

No, this article only covers a few link shares to other articles published over the last few months that point out Shyamalan’s interest in continuing the franchise. In fact, I can’t find anything new or relevant in this article to explain why it even exists. So let’s keep going!

‘Avatar: The Last Airbender 2’ director M. Night Shyamalan continued to defend his first film from long-standing criticism. He is also reported ready to push through with a sequel.

Source? Nope. There’s no source for this at all. Venture Capital Post just asserts this and moves on like it’s not the biggest bombshell fans of the animated series have seen since the first reviews for The Last Airbender came out. Who edited this?

According to Movie Pilot, the filmmaker was not to blame for the Nickelodeon cartoon adaptation’s failure with critics and audiences alike.

First, it’s Moviepilot, not “Movie Pilot.” Also, they’re shamelessly sourcing an opinionated article not written by Moviepilot staff, but written by someone who’s never seen an episode of the show they’re talking about. I’m not making that up.

Let’s jump over to that “Movie Pilot” article and see what writer Rohan Mohmand has to say (and yes, it’s ironic he shares the name of Tenzin’s son).

M.Night Shyamalan is an original thinker.

Nope, nope, keep going. You can do it, Jon.

I still haven’t seen the respective show,

Wow. Yeah, so Rohan sings Shyamalan’s praises for a few paragraphs, citing that the early success for the filmmaker based on his only two widely accepted movies, The 6th Sense and Unbreakable (a case can be made for Signs, but not a good one) lends to the fact that the failure of The Last Airbender has nothing to do with him.

Because directors don’t make both good and bad movies, according to Rohan. Especially when they’ve made like five abysmal movies in a row. You know what came out before The Last Airbender? Oh, just a little train wreck called The Happening.

In that movie, the “original” Shyamalan presented a world where plants make us kill ourselves. And that’s when we learned that originality doesn’t necessarily make something good.

Today, it has been almost six years since its release, and whenever someone brings the subject of The Last Airbender it is Shyamalan to blame.

Is this a surprise? He’s writing this like it’s not valid to blame the person who spent the most time making the movie happen and overseeing its execution for how bad it is. Granted, not every movie is bad because of the direction, but how can you argue that The Last Airbender doesn’t suffer from its many Shyamalanisms?

the last airbender 2
“Let’s do ANOTHER closeup so we can see how bad the scar is!”

But Rohan’s not finished. He cites an interview Shyamalan had with IGN about this (sorry about the inception-level article sourcing. It’s not my fault, I’m only the director of this article).

This is from Shyamalan, explaining what went wrong with the movie:

“My child was nine-years-old. So you could make it one of two ways: you could make it for that same audience, which is what I did, for nine and 10-year-olds, or you could do the ‘Transformers’ version and have Megan Fox. I didn’t do that.”

First, that last line, “I didn’t do that” wasn’t cited by Rohan for some unexplainable reason, so I added it. Second, what world does Shyamalan live in?

You know what else was made for nine and 10-year-olds? Avatar the Last Airbender, which is considered by many to be one of the greatest animated series of all time. But it’s not geared toward people who like Transformers, so Shyamalan had to “adjust.”

What kind of backwards opinion is this? Your movie sucks because you made it for kids? Have you ever seen a Disney, Pixar, or DreamWorks Animation movie? You think those movies are hits because they appeal to adults ONLY? No, they appeal to a wide demographic. Kids AND adults can watch a movie like Beauty and the Beast.

the last airbender 2
Which was ONLY the first animated movie to be nominated for Best Picture. That’s all! 

In what universe do you have to believe that if you shoot for a wider demographic, you end up creating something akin to Transformers?! You know what, I actually can believe that someone as deluded as M. Night Shyamalan believes he’s making bad movies because he thinks anything else is Transformers. That’s the same delusion that must be related to his obvious and utter failure to understand how to make a kids’ movie, or why a good kids’ movie is good. 

Rohan (hopefully) digresses:

Defending his film, there’s nothing that we can do, for as the director, and also as a fan of the show, Shyamalan has all the rights. But, the question is, is he really the person to blame for the failure of The Last Airbender?

YES. Is this a trick question?

The answer to the question above is a “no.”

I hate everything.

Shyamalan is not to blame for the failure of the film. In fact, he is owed an apology.

Should I punch my computer now?

Last summer, Joblo penned a piece spreading the word, the story behind the making of The Last Airbender, divulged passionately on the AvatarSpirit.net forums.

So now we’re officially sourcing forums.

The story, however, is no longer available on the forum.

I wonder why.

It was published by someone who worked on the production of the film and the increased attention got her concerned as her career was going to be in jeopardy.

How do you know this? And can’t you also argue that she took it down because it was full of false information skewed by her opinion? Nope, let’s just take this at face value and source it as evidence.

I’ll give you the gist. This person claims that 80% of the decisions for The Last Airbender came from the producers, including the casting of the girl who played Katara.

last airbender 2
Yeah, I don’t remember her name either.

She argues that this casting was nepotism on part of the producers, and it resulted in them having to alter the ethnicities of many other characters, leading to the major backlash this movie suffered from before it even came out. None of the characters looked the part.

Only later would we realize that none of the actors acted the part either. Katara herself lost all of her best moments from the show (holding her own against Zuko, giving the inspiring speech to the earthbenders), and Sokka’s cleverness and wit was replaced with…brooding and being serious all the time.

the last airbender 2
Your meat and sarcasm guy.

Of course, Rohan would know this if he had watched an episode of the show.

The disgruntled forum hacker blames everything on the producers. The lack of budget, the story changes, the effects not looking right. Basically, she props up the basic challenges of any film as something that the director couldn’t control.

Except, we’re not talking about a novice director. We’re talking about M. Night Shyamalan, who at this point in his career DID have clout as a film director. I can understand a newcomer like Colin Trevorrow getting steamrolled while making Jurassic World, but you can’t give someone like Shyamalan the same pass.

And this unknown person claims that Shyamalan just gave up because none of his ideas went through. In other words, he didn’t do his job of upholding good ideas, so he’s the victim.

You know who else “gave up” on their movie? Josh Trank with Fantastic Four. You know why everyone still blames him, even after writing that cringe Tweet? Because he’s the director. It’s his JOB to salvage what the producers pick apart.

the last airbender 2
“I wanted to give you good direction, but the producers said I can’t.”

And blame the producers all you want for getting in the way. You CAN’T, however, blame them for the execution. You can’t blame the producers for the gross mispronunciation of the characters’ names. That was from Shyamalan. You can’t blame the horrendous closeups and terrible camera work. That was from Shyamalan. You certainly can’t blame the bland dialogue and writing that comes from every other Shyamalan movie and is present here (because he wrote it).

What, were these the same producers who made The Happening happen?

So Rohan concludes, claiming that Shyamalan is classy for taking the responsibility and not blaming anyone else. That’s fine. But you’re in a dream within a dream if you really think he’s not to blame for why this movie still causes physical and emotional pain for any fan of the show who’s reminded of it.

Back to Venture Capital Post, who is spinning the wheels of what you can get away with in an article that does no real work:

It is undeniable that Shyamalan is a master writer-director in his own right with successful supernatural films under his belt including ‘Lady in the Water’, ‘The Village’, ‘Signs’, ‘Unbreakable’ and 1999’s cult favorite ‘The Sixth Sense’.

No.

Just…no. It is not “undeniable.” It is, in fact, incredibly deniable that Shyamalan is a “MASTER” because only two and half of those movies were well-received by critics. Lady in the Water? Seriously? The movie that received a 24% on Rotten Tomatoes before it was “cool” to make fun of Shyamalan?

Look, I love The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable as much as anyone. And I didn’t “hate” Signs and The Village. But to call the man a master is hyperbole, and saying it’s “undeniable” is transcending hyperbole. 

the last airbender 2
How do I sleep at night? 

But Venture digresses. The writer points out what Rohan did — that Shyamalan said to IGN once that The Last Airbender is made for nine and 10-year-olds instead of everyone who else who watches Transformers, which is why “you don’t get it.” Virtually ignoring every other kids’ film that has proven the exact opposite.

Then Venture rightfully acknowledges that the creators of Avatar (Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante Dimartino) don’t even acknowledge that The Last Airbender even exists. Yeah, it’s the Lake Laogai running gag that us fans have been using to cope for five years now, and it’s pretty effective.

According to Den of Geek, Shyamalan planned to push through with a sequel as evidenced by the introduction of Prince Zuko’s sister, Azula, at the end of the first film.

Wait, that’s not according to Den of Geek, that’s painfully obvious from watching the movie. Did you really have to source a website to know that they planned to make this a trilogy? Is this real life?

However, despite previous news that he had already penned a first draft for the follow-up, no updates have come up since then.

This sentence flies in the face of the earlier one in this article, which claimed that the sequel WAS reportedly happening. Oh, and it also clashes with the headline of the entire article. This is real life.

You’re probably wondering why I’m going to so much trouble to rip these articles apart, and it’s for a few reasons. The biggest is that I don’t want someone to stumble across them and take them in as actual reporting. This is a PSA.

the last airbender 2

Second, I love this franchise more than any other on television. I love the characters. I love the animation. I love the world they created. I love the comics. I love the spin off. I love the fan art. I even love the pilot episode. OK, the video games are hit and miss, but I still enjoyed playing them.

So I’m going to dissent with writers like Rohan who let their love of Shyamalan get in the way of honest criticism. And for the most part, he does a good job of explaining why he loves this director and wants him to succeed. I have no problem with that, even though I disagree.

My main issue is with a website like Venture Capital Post for all of the reasons I’ve already gotten into. And if you come across garbage articles like this during your time on the Internet, then I hope you do the same and call them out for it. We deserve better.

On that note, I’d like to welcome you to Lake Laogai.

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

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The Series That Could Bring ‘Hey Arnold’ Back to Life

hey arnold

[UPDATE: Well, it’s happened people. A Hey Arnold movie has officially been greenlit.]

hey arnold jungle movie

It’s been almost 19 years since the first episode of Hey Arnold premiered on Nickelodeon, and it’s been 11 since the series ended. That’s a lot of time, and yet many people still remember and love this show. There are a lot of reasons for that.

Hey Arnold was created by Craig Bartlett, who wrote Rugrats and married the sister of the guy who created The Simpsons. He even voiced some of the characters. And in many ways, Hey Arnold was and remains unlike any other cartoon on television.

It was about a fourth-grader named Arnold growing up in a fictional (and unnamed within the show, though it’s later called Hillwood) with his friends. The city was a mashup of familiar locations like Seattle, Chicago and New York, but it built its own identity as a believable location without ever needing a label (much like how Arnold himself never needed a last name).

hey arnold

Arnold lived with his grandparents in a grungy boarding house with a couple that fought all the time, an international spy, a hotheaded construction worker, a Vietnam refugee (that Christmas episode, though), and many others. The show put effort into exploring all of these relationships, as well as the lives of Arnold’s close friends at school.

These school kids were such well-developed and interesting characters that the show routinely featured them in their own episodes, some without any hint of Arnold himself. Characters like Harold, Eugene, Sid, Gerald, and even Stinky all had well-written episodes devoted to them. It’s hard to think of any other show on any network that his such a big catalogue of characters with rich backstories.

But much of the show’s success and impact is due to how comfortable the show was with exploring the lives of the girls at this school, not just the boys. Rhonda, Phoebe, and of course, Helga, all had many episodes of their own, despite Hey Arnold being originally conceived as a show for young boys.

hey arnold

For this reason, everyone had a reason to like Hey Arnold. If you didn’t really care for Eugene’s accident prone problems, you could always wait for the next episode about Rhonda learning humility and having to wear glasses. Or watch Arnold befriend a man who can fly with pigeons in one of the most surreal, yet metaphysically enthralling, episodes it ever made.

Hey Arnold is, without a doubt, a unique show that deserves all of the nostalgic praise it gets. But how did it end?

The show was famous for raising lots of questions without ever paying off the answers. While some mysteries, like Arnold’s last name, were never revealed, other curious story arcs developed slowly over time, like the origin of Arnold’s parents and whether or not Helga would ever tell Arnold how she feels.

Or if Brainy ever got his head checked.
Or if Brainy ever got his head checked out for internal bleeding.

It wasn’t until years into the series that the episode, “Parents Day” finally gave viewers an answer to where Arnold came from and what happened to his parents, Miles and Stella. We found out that they were wilderness explorers who traveled the world like Indiana Jones and Lara Croft (Stella even wore a shirt right out of Tomb Raider).

But some time after Arnold was born, they vanished during an expedition to San Lorenzo, leaving their baby in the hands of his grandparents.

Years later, the series offered even more insight into what specifically happened to Arnold’s parents in the last episode that was ever produced (though more episodes were later released that happen before “The Journal”).

hey arnold

Arnold found his father’s journal, which revealed a lot about his parents’ adventures. He learned that they journeyed back to San Lorenzo (where Arnold was born to help a mysterious tribe known as the “Green Eyed People,” whom they had befriended years earlier. Stella was a doctor, and the Green Eyed People had been stricken by a disease. Since Stella and Miles were the only people they trusted, the parents had to leave Arnold and go save them.

They never returned, of course, but Arnold found a map in the back of the journal. The series actually ended with Arnold telling this to his grandparents, implying that the story was not over. Nickelodeon was going to produce a movie called Hey Arnold!: The Jungle Movie to finish the series, but they ended up making Hey Arnold!: The Movie instead, which was based on the planned TV special, Arnold Saves the Neighborhood. 

The movie made a lot of money, but fans weren’t very pleased.

hey arnold
Concept art for “Hey Arnold!: Jungle Movie”

Nickelodeon was planning on making another theatrical release for “Jungle Movie” despite the unsuccessful first attempt, which is why they produced “The Journal” to set it up. But disagreements between Bartlett and Nickelodeon caused the complete end of the series, including the movie.

Basically, Nickelodeon demanded that Bartlett only create shows for their network, but he refused because he was working on a series for Cartoon Network.

As a result, Hey Arnold and its finale movie were cancelled.

hey arnold
OK, fine, here it is.

For the longest time, I thought this was a sign of a theory I had about Arnold and his grandparents. Basically, I just assumed that none of these things about Arnold’s parents were true because they were so fantastical. They reminded me of the dream sequences Arnold would have in the first season, which positioned him as a more imaginative kid.

So when “The Journal” came out, I started to think that Arnold’s grandparents had planted that journal and even the photos. And I believed that they invented the story to make Arnold feel better about his parents abandoning him or passing away tragically.

But this theory is false. Bartlett was clearly working on a movie that debunks that, as we have ample concept art and plot lines that have been leaked over the years. There was no “hidden story” here for us to bother discussing.

hey arnold

Over the years, fans have clamored for Bartlett and Nickelodeon to revive the movie and finish the series strong. Despite rumors since 2012  that this could happen, no one has said anything official, which means it will likely never happen, and that’s not surprising.

In Nickelodeon’s defense, they’d be spending a lot of money to do a movie that most of its current audience wouldn’t have any previous knowledge of. At this point, only millennials like me remember this show, and many of us are too old to spend money on a Hey Arnold movie (besides me and probably anyone reading this).

We’ll probably never know what happened to Arnold’s parents, but there is one other massive plot thread that did get confirmed, and it’s sort of depressing. Unfortunately, Helga and Arnold never end up together.

Remember All Grown Up? The Rugrats spinoff that aged the characters and followed their lives as preteens and basically ruined Nickelodeon’s flagship series after two surprisingly decent seasons?

Well, the same thing was planned for Hey Arnold, but without Arnold. It was centered around Helga as a teenager at age 15, and it was simply called The Patakis. A fun surprise is that the show was deemed too dark for Nickelodeon, so it was planned to debut on MTV. Sadly, it never got off the ground.

hey arnold
Fans aren’t ready to give up quite yet.

The kicker is that in this spinoff, Helga has somewhat moved on from Arnold. For unexplained reasons, Arnold moves away from the city (maybe to live with his parents in San Lorenzo), so The Patakis would have focused only on Helga and some of the other characters from P.S. 118.

 We don’t know much about the show, but Bartlett and other sources have given us small peeks at what could have been. Helga and Arnold apparently dated for a while, but they broke up. She’s still crazy about him when the show starts, and she writes him letters every night that she’s too scared to actually send. Her new “Arnold shrine” is now a binder with all of these letters.

Seriously, imagine how seriously interesting it would have been to watch an older Helga move on from Arnold and find something else in her life to hold onto, besides the unrequited love of a kid who showed her love at the lowest point in her life. It would have done wonders for this character.

This “updated” Helga wants to write books and still has that grumpy edge to her. She still has the unibrow (thankfully) and even the classic pink bow under her cap. The pilot is about how Olga has become the black sheep of the family in pursuit of an acting career. Her father, Big Bob, is selling cell phones now instead of beepers, and Miriam is in AA (apparently our suspicions were correct in assuming there was another ingredient in those “smoothies”).

Other Hey Arnold characters were planned to be in the show, including Gerald and Phoebe as a stable couple, Sid, Stinky, and even Brainy.

hey arnold
Assuming he survived this long.

Like Legend of Korra, this series could have been a fresh start built from the legacy of a previous series. In fact, I could still see the series happening since it wouldn’t necessarily have to rely on fans of the original show to fuel it. Just look at how other nostalgic favorites like Boy Meets World and Full House are being revived on Disney and Netflix.

So perhaps one day we will get the answers Bartlett has been keeping from us likely for the sake of his own sanity. In a world where Kickstarter and social media campaigns dictate the next craze derived from our unwillingness to let go of our respective childhoods, The Patakis is more than a safe bet.

After all, if Generation X gets to see Transformers turn into four incredibly mediocre movies, then why can’t we get just a season of our favorite football head? Or at least his girlfriend.

I’m Jon and thanks for reading this. You can subscribe to my posts by clicking “Follow” in the right sidebar. Or just say hey on Twitter! @JonNegroni

What ‘Fairly Oddparents’ Has Secretly Been Trying to Tell Us For Years

Over the last few weeks, you may have noticed I haven’t come out with any feature posts, and the reason is simple. I’ve been spending all of my time trying to understand the purpose of The Fairly Oddparents, aside from it being a funny show back in its heyday.

During my research, if that’s what you want to call it, I realized that the show taught me way more about life than I ever gave it credit for. While it’s no “Boy Meets World,” this show was far more relevant than I ever realized.

fairly oddparents

So I wrote an article, which came out today, about just that. You can read “20 Lessons We Didn’t Know We Learned From ‘The Fairly Oddparents'” on Moviepilot, where I cover some funny teaching moments from the show. But the fun doesn’t stop there.

See, I came across something pretty subtle while combing through the TFO narrative, and it’s this: You don’t really grow up until you figure out how to properly deal with your problems.

One thing that bothers me about TFO (and it probably bothers you, too) is that Timmy Turner learns the same lesson every single week. This lesson is that you can’t just wish your problems away. Every time you do, you end up creating more problems. And even in a world where you get everything you want, there are still rules, terms and conditions that will hold you back.

fairly oddparents

Which brings me to the true purpose of The Fairly Oddparents. It’s not simply to give us a show where we can laugh at the misfortunes of a ten-year-old boy who has the world at his fingertips. It’s to show us that the fairy godparents aren’t really there to just give Timmy whatever he wants.

Instead, the whole point of giving Timmy fairy godparents is to teach him that he doesn’t need them. In fact, the very first episode of the main show is about Timmy wishing that he was grown up, instead of just…well growing up the normal way.

In the pilot, Cosmo and Wanda say they want to help Timmy by granting him wishes, and I still think it’s true. But the point is clearly to help Timmy understand that he doesn’t really need magic to solve his problems. After all, in that same pilot episode, Timmy uses his wishes to abuse and torture Vicky, making him just as bad as her.

fairly oddparents

As the series progresses, we watch Timmy consistently use magic to make his life better, but it never turns out quite as he expected. And the show won’t end (for real) until Timmy decides to figure life out on his own, rather than rely on magical godparents to preserve his childhood.

To some of you, this may seem obvious. Of course, that’s the point of the show, right? The fairies are just temporary companions meant to help Timmy with frankly temporary problems. It’s no wonder, then, that the show doesn’t occur when Timmy is going through puberty. It really has to take place during the last years of true childhood, because after that, Timmy won’t need them anymore.

fairly oddparents

We even see this play out to some extent during Channel Chasers,” when Timmy starts to age quickly at the very end. We see him as a teenager for the first time, and as the years progress, he forgets all about Cosmo and Wanda. By default, we think that’s just because adults can’t fathom fairy godparents, but it’s the opposite. The fairies are there to make sure Timmy stops needing them, so he can get to a place where he’s ready to face life’s challenges on his own.

For these reasons, I’ll always look back fondly on the 2001-2006 run of the show, which is certainly when it was at its prime. These days, there’s a baby and a dog, or something. I’m not really sure and don’t care to find out.

Before I go, here’s one thing about the show you may not know. The truth of Dinkleberg’s name and why Timmy’s dad hates him so much.

The Dinkleberg family name is a reference to D.I.N.K., which is an acronym for “Dual Income No Kids.” Hence, the Dinklebergs have an enormous amount of wealth that makes Timmy’s dad so envious.

fairly oddparents


Thanks for reading this. To get updates on my theories, books, and giveaways, join my mailing list.

Or just say hey on Twitter: @JonNegroni

New Trailer For ‘The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water’

I can’t remember the last time I was excited about anything related to one of my favorite cartoons as a kid. Actually yes I can. Ahem

“Spongebob” became a cultural icon in the early 2000s for a reason. The combination of fluid animation, hilarious writing, and unforgettable characters accompanied by incredible voice talent cemented the show as a classic.

But a lot of people don’t realize that the (pelvic) thrust of the show’s success had a lot to do with the man who created it: Stephen Hillenburg. The man was fittingly a marine biologist before conceptualizing the show in 1999, and he’s responsible for much of the show’s early success.

Sadly, and for reasons we won’t get into, he departed from the show creatively after the release of the first Spongebob movie in 2005.

After that, the show took a dip in quality due to his absence (though that is ultimately subjective). Despite this, the show’s laurels allowed it to finish out the decade with increasingly good episodes as the team adapted to a new phase for the show.

This movie signals, I think, a return to form for the people who still make the show. Yes, it caters to an ever-younger audience by trading edgier content for cheap laughs. But this trailer shows that the spirit of this character and his oceanic pals is able to find new ways to keep older audiences like me watching.

Also, the animation is terrific. Bring on the new Spongebob movie, Nickelodeon.

Dissecting the “Legend of Korra” Book 2 Trailer

www.nick.com
www.nick.com

The first trailer for the new season of Legend of Korra is finally upon us. Let’s take a close look at these latest revelations!

00:01-00:31 The first 30 seconds of the trailer give us the title of the Book, which is “Spirits.” Though we already know this, the trailer gets off to a great visual start featuring one of the bending circles in a great animation style. Because it’s blue, the circle is reminiscent of the spirit world, which is fitting of course.

00:32-00:33 A brief look at Tenzin and Korra as they meditate. Judging by the rest of the trailer, they are probably entering the Spirit World together.

00:34-00:38 Next we see Unalaq performing some waterbending moves in the middle of the night, probably in the North Pole. Unalaq is Korra’s uncle and the chief of both Water Tribes.

 00:38-00:40 Here we see Korra riding Naga in what appears to be a parade. It’s at night, so the parade is probably for her arrival, and the scenery suggests that this is the North Pole, explaining the crowd being celebratory.

00:40-00:41 The same scene cuts to Korra’s father, giving more evidence to this being the South Pole, but he has a somber look on his face as he looks on the parade. He is the only familiar face we’ve seen in this scene.

00:42-00:43 Hey, it’s Asami! And she is crying for some reason. Another clip from Comic Con shows us a brief glimpse into the first episode, where we see Asami  being told that Future Industries is going bankrupt due to her father’s crimes, and it’s up to her to save the company. There’s  no indication whether that’s what she’s worried about here, though.

00:44-00:46 The animation style changes here, and we see Wan for the first time. From what we know so far, Wan is the first Avatar who lived 10,000 years ago. He became the Avatar by being the first human to travel to the Spirit World. In this scene, Wan is wearing a dog mask and is fighting two warriors. One of them looks like a sumo wrestler crossed with a samurai. The scenery is very reminiscent of oriental art, kind of like the video game, Okami. In the fight scene, Wan makes quick work of his opponents using a spear.

00:46-48 Here we see Korra and Mako (I think it’s him) riding a plane into a blockade. Asami is probably the pilot. We now know that dark spirits aren’t the only obstacles Team Avatar will have to overcome this season. What’s troubling is that these look like the ships from the United Forces, led by Bumi and General Iroh.

00:49-00:50 We see Unalaq again shrouded by a blue light as he walks forward. I’m getting major vibes that he’s a bad guy for some reason. Maybe he’s a little jealous that his brother is the one who gave birth to the Avatar?

00:51-00:53 Now we see Tenzin air gliding around a waterfall. He has some strange light in his hands, maybe a lantern since this is at night. We are definitely at the North Pole, since that waterfall looks exactly like the ones we saw in Avatar: The Last Airbender. There’s something going down the waterfall, but I honestly can’t tell what it is. It almost looks like some kind of boat. We also see a figure on a rock, but I can’t make out who that is at all.

00:54-00:56 Next we see Mako and Bolin in what could be the North or South Pole. They are running towards an odd light with tendrils. They run into the light and vanish, leading me to believe that this is some kind of portal to the Spirit World.

00:56-00:59 Immediately, we see Korra and Jinora (Tenzin’s oldest daughter) meditating by a tree. As they sit, Jinora is covered by a green aura that isn’t around Korra. The scene changes behind them to reveal the Spirit World, a light green hill with odd vegetation. It looks like Korra has found a way to transport her friends with her to the Spirit World. I’m excited that this season will be using Jinora more, as she is bound to be a great addition to Team Avatar.

1:00-1:02 The trailer reveals a dark spirit to us that is running on a hillside close to a city at night. I’m more convinced now that we’ve been seeing the North Pole all this time, since that is definitely not what the South Pole looked like in Book 1, plus it makes sense that the North Pole is more technologically advanced. During this scene, the dark spirit runs toward the camera at a crazy speed.

1:02-1:04 Here we see Korra going into the Avatar State. Behind her is a fence and what appears to be some kind of festival, though we can only see huts. We see her levitating as she transitions.

1:04-1:05 The scene then changes to a murky body of water as Korra rises out of it, much like she was moving in the last scene, though there’s no scenery connection between them. This is a setting we haven’t seen in the trailer yet, though it could be related to the blockade.

1:06-1:07 Next, we see a battle between two small ships at night. This is a tough scene to dissect since it’s so dark, but two things are clear. One of the ships is using literal fire to attack the other,  so it’s likely a firebender ship. The other ship reveals a blue logo on its back, suggesting that this is a water tribe ship. I’m trying hard not to make any assumptions, though.

1:07-1:08 The scene changes to a winter forest, and we see crystals being hurled off camera. The scene might take place in the spirit world judging by the odd shape of the trees.

1:09-1:10 Here we see Korra in a dark cave, probably in the North Pole, striking the ground, which is glowing. Judging by how icy the ground looks, this could be the spirit oasis from Avatar: The Last Airbender.

1:11-1:12 Okay, this next scene is a little trippy. We’re back in the past again during the time of the first Avatar. We see what appears to be the Spirit World as Wan discovers it for the first time. We see what appear to be animal spirits running from something in the first scene, and Wan is watching them in the background. We then see Wan close up, worried about something. We also see air currents rushing from the background towards Wan. It almost looks like something is airbending towards him. Also, he is accompanied by what appears to be his animal guide. It looks like a reindeer with odd horns and is carrying his belongings.

1:12-1:14 Now we see Korra in a forest surrounding by small, purple spirits that almost look like will-o-wisps with eyes. She begins to follow them somewhere.

1:14-1:16 This next scene shows Mako in what is probably Republic City. He is firebending against something we can’t see, and it looks like he is in his police uniform.

1:16-1:18 We then see Korra earthbending and waterbending (her hair is down for some reason) in a rocky plateau.  Something weird is going on with the sky, as it is shades of purple, suggesting that this could be the Spirit World, which wouldn’t make sense since you can’t bend in the Spirit World. Some kind of cosmic event must be happening, like their version of the “northern lights,” which is why we see Korra in her warm clothes.

1:19-1:20 Here we see two waterbenders gliding down a cliff with ice casings around their feet. The setting looks similar to the one we just saw with Korra. Though we can’t see the face of one of the benders, we know that the other is Eska or Desna, Korra’s cousins. They’re fraternal twins, and it’s likely that this scene shows both of them.

1:20-1:23 Next, we see Korra falling down a waterfall in a cave. This could be the same waterfall we saw earlier with Tenzin, but the scenery looks different.

1:24-1:26 Yay, it’s Jinora again! Here, she is riding a flying spirit over what looks like the Wan Shi Tong’s Library from Avatar: The Last Airbender (and I just realized that the first Avatar is named Wan, like the Owl Spirit). We can see a figure on the walkway, but I can’t tell who it is.

1:26-1:27 Now here’s a beautiful shot. We see a fleet of United Forces ships with the sun rising on the horizon. I’m so excited to see how far they push the visuals this season.

1:28-1:30 Back to Mako! Here we see him fighting something off-screen in front of the glowing tendril portal that we saw earlier, but Bolin isn’t here at the moment. Still, this is definitely what was going on right before they jumped into the portal.

1:30-1:31 Ugh, the trailer is being repetitive. We’re back to that scene where Korra (with her hair down) is waterbending in that North Pole plateau with the strange lights.

1:31-1:32 Next we see Asami driving a boat in Republic City with Mako in the back seat. Asami swerves the boat and we see Korra flying in the air right behind her. I can’t really tell what just happened, but it seems like Asami swerved to avoid Korra.

1:32-1:33 Now we see Wan in the Spirit World again facing a giant spirit frog. I have a feeling his arc is going to be pretty interesting.

1:33-1:34 It’s Wan Shi Tong! We see him land in front of Jinora, as intense as ever. Is he the spirit of Wan, the first Avatar? Or is he a spirit named after Wan? It’s hard to tell, but an interesting catch is that Wan Shi Tong says he is “the one who knows 10,000 things” in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Is there a link between that and how Wan existed 10,000 years ago?

1:35-1:37 The scene cuts to Wan (interesting) firebending at those air currents we saw earlier. They look like air dragons here. If he’s firebending, then either you can bend in the Spirit World, or we were never there in the first place, and that last scene was just weird-looking animals running from spirits.

1:37-1:39 Here we see Tenzin and his siblings, Bumi and Kya, being pushed off of a cliff by a red spirit we haven’t seen yet. It almost looks like the one we saw in the library earlier with Jinora. They look like they’re in the Earth Kingdom here.

1:39-1:41 The scene changes to Korra in some kind of Avatar vision. She’s surrounded by a purple aura in the starry sky. This is very similar to what Aang saw when was mastering the Avatar State with Guru Pathick in Avatar: The Last Airbender. We see other Avatars flashing before her. First we see Roku, then Kyoshi.

1:42-1:45 Next we see a giant crocodile spirit chasing Korra and Jinora underwater in the Spirit World. It pretty much swallows them before the scene cuts.

1:46-1:47 We then see Korra staring at something offscreen in the middle of the day. We see shards of what appears to be ice and/or water falling around her.

1:47-1:49 This scene shows Mako doing police work in Republic City. This is part of the scene where he catches a group of bending criminals in a truck. He slides his motorcycle in front him since he’s, well Mako.

1:49-1:51 Here we see a strange, yellow light expand and explode like fireworks in a forest. It looks like Korra is underneath it, but I’m not sure. Tenzin, Bumi, and Kya are watching from the side.

1:52-1:53 This is a quick shot of Bolin in a winter forest like the one we saw before. He is clearly fighting someone, possible near that spirit portal.

1:53-1:54 Next we see Eska and Desna waterbending on a body of water, very similar to the one Korra was levitating out of earlier in the trailer.

1:55-1:59 We then see Wan getting hit by what looks like spirit energy and it’s going right through him. This looks just like the spirit energy Aang used to “spiritbend” in Avatar: The Last Airbender, when took Ozai’s bending away. This is likely the process for how Wan became the Avatar, the first bridge between the human and spirit world.

1:59-2:00 We then see a quick shot of Korra doing bending forms in front of a tree, similar to the one she and Jinora were meditating in front of.

2:00-2:01 Here we see Unalaq again fighting against an unseen firebender. He’s inside what looks like some kind of prison. This is also another allusion to a possible conflict between water and firebenders, or it could just be Korra and/or Mako being at odds with him.

2:02-2:04 I definitely love this scene where we see Wan being the Avatar. He is between what looks to be humans and spirits who are probably in the middle of a conflict. He rises in the air, bending every element in an orb, exactly like the one Aang used to defeat Ozai in Avatar: The Last Airbender. We now know that Aang called upon Wan’s experience when he defeated Ozai.

2:04-2:10 The last scene! It’s a bit confusing. We see Korra in her Republic City attire touching a ball of spirit energy in what looks like the plateau from earlier. What’s weird is that her clothes indicate this is a scene removed from the plateau scenes we saw earlier, since she was wearing her warm clothes in those scenes and had her hair down. But the lights in the sky look exactly the same. I’m not sure what to make of this scene. As Korra touches the ball of energy, she goes into the Avatar State and the trailer fades to black, telling us that the season will be starting in September.

I have to say this is not my favorite trailer from the Avatar series. For one thing, it was missing the iconic soundtrack they’ve used throughout the series and replaced it with a somber one that changed little throughout the trailer.

Some of the scenes were odd or didn’t really fit, but I was pleased by all of the revelations. The scenes with Wan and Wan Shi Tong (if they’re not the same person) were the best, but the Korra scenes were pretty lame and underwhelming.

Still, I’m glad we got to see something besides dark spirits, and we definitely learned a lot about what the plot will be focusing on for Book 2. I can’t wait!

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