Thanks to Netflix, one of our favorite animated TV shows, Avatar: The Last Airbender, was reintroduced to a new generation of fans, becoming – for a time – the #1 show on the service in the US, 15 years after the show originally broadcasted.
Avatar is set in a universe where people can manipulate earth, fire, wind, and water through martial arts skills called, “bending.” Based on this, the world is divided into four nations: the Earth Kingdom; the Fire Nation; the Water Tribes; and the Air Nomads. Only one individual, known as the Avatar, is capable of bending all four elements and was responsible for maintaining harmony among the four nations.
Avatar: The Last Airbender centers around 12-year-old Aang, the Avatar. He reawakens from 100 years of suspended animation to discover he is the only remaining survivor of the Air Nomads, while the Fire Nation had begun an oppressive campaign to rule the world. He is joined by Sokka and Katara from the Southern Water Tribe and subsequently Toph, a powerful, blind and hilarious Earth Bender to continue his training to master all four elements and save the world from the Fire Nation. Along the way, we also meet Prince Zuko of the Fire Nation, who wants to restore his lost honor by capturing Aang, accompanied by his Uncle Iroh (a fan favorite!); and later his ambitious sister Azula.
So first things first, If you’ve never watched Avatar: The Last Airbender, YOU REALLY NEED TO! However, if you’re like us and have already watched all 61 episodes at least a few times over… what then!? How do you get more Avatar when you’re done with the TV series?
Well, here’s a checklist of suggestions:
(Note: we’ve focused our list on items that expand on the Avatar universe narrative and lore, omitting products that rehash familiar ground in different formats or for different audiences, e.g. a learning-to-read book series based TV series episodes; as well as merchandizing, e.g. art books scrapbooks, or coloring books… not that there’s anything with coloring books!)
Watch the sequel – The Legend Of Korra
The Legend of Korra picks things up 70 years after the events of Avatar: The Last Airbender and follows the next Avatar, Korra from the Water Tribe, who faces political and spiritual unrest in a modernizing, 1920s-inspired era that the series creators have described as “if Manhattan happened in Asia.”
Watch Republic City Hustle
Republic City Hustle comprises three short webisodes that occur three years before the events of The Legend of Korra and follows Mako and Bolin who become orphaned after the death of their parents. The two boys do whatever they must to survive living o the rough streets of Republic City.
Continue Aang’s Adventures With Avatar: The Last Airbender Comics
The adventures of Avatar Aang and his team Avatar officially continue on in several comic book series. They include:
- Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise. The events of The Promise begin immediately after the last episode of the original series, before jumping forward a year. The three-part graphic novel traces the aftermath and challenges of a war-torn world, with rebel groups and dissatisfied citizens at every turn, trying to take steps towards peace. We also follow the adventures of Toph’s new metal bending school, Aang dealing with the “Avatar Fan Movement,” and more.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Search. The graphic novel trilogy focuses on the mystery surrounding Zuko and Azula’s long-lost mother, Ursa. It reveals the details of former Princess Azula’s imprisonment in a Fire Nation mental institution and the complexities of Fire Lord Ozai and Ursa’s relationship.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Rift. This trilogy focuses on Avatar Aang as he begins the process of creating Republic City and his plans to give a larger role to Toph. The plot also follows Aang’s encounters with the spirit of Avatar Yangchen, who leads him to discover a refinery operating on the Air Nomads’ sacred land. Team Avatar suspects the refinery is responsible for polluting a nearby river and find themselves encountering an evil spirit bent on destroying the human world.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender – Smoke and Shadow. The fourth graphic novel trilogy depicts Fire Lord Zuko’s efforts to deal with the New Ozai Society, which seeks to overthrow him and restore his father Fire Lord Ozai to the Fire Nation throne. He is helped by Avatar Aang and his ex-girlfriend Mai, but the situation is complicated when they learn that Mai’s own estranged father seems to be involved in the plot together with some evil spirits.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender – North and South. We follow Katara and Sokka’s return to the Southern Water Tribe, where they discover their small village has grown into a bustling city thanks to the effort of Malina, a Northerner, who wishes to unify the two tribes. However, Gilak, a Southerner, fiercely opposes this. Katara will have to make peace with her nostalgia and distrust to save the home she loves from being permanently torn apart.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender – Imbalance. In Imbalance, Aang, Katara, Sokka, and Toph return to the factory owned by Toph’s father. Aang is surprised to receive a cold and hostile welcome, instead of the warm one he was expecting, and learns that a bender versus non-bender conflict has been brewing.
Fill in the gaps with these Avatar: TLA comics anthologies
- Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Lost Adventures. This anthology of comics occurs during the TV series continuity and depicts events that occur “off screen.” It collects previously unpublished comics, minicomics included as part of the Book Two: Earth and Book Three: Fire DVD volumes, the Avatar comic from Free Comic Book Day 2011, and the numerous works released by Nickelodeon Magazine and Nickelodeon Comics Club from 2005 through 2009. The comics reveal certain key information pertaining to the TV series events, including Joo Dee‘s immediate appointment as the Grand Secretariat of Ba Sing Se and the exact method of how Team Avatar commandeered a Fire Nation cruiser. The comics also release new information on characters from the series and introduce new characters absent from the series.
- Avatar: The Last Avatar – Team Avatar Tales. This one-shot anthology of stories is set during and after the TV series’ run. It collects the previously published Free Comic Book Day comics (namely “Rebound,” “Shells,” and “Sisters“) together with several brand new stories where Team Avatar rescues a pumpkin farmer waylaid by monsters, helps an old rival with a hair-raising problem, and reflects on what it means to save the world.
Continue Korra’s Adventures With The Legend Of Korra Comics
- The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars. Following their trip to the Spirit World, Korra and Asami Sato discover Republic City in utter chaos. A developer has turned the area surrounding the spirit portal into an amusement park while the city’s triads regroup to create another problem Korra’s Team Avatar.
- The Legend of Korra: Ruins of the Empire. Korra will have to decide who to trust, as the Earth Kingdom faces its first elections Even as Kuvira stands trial for her crimes, vestiges of her imperial ambitions threaten to undermine the nation’s democratic hopes.
- Friends for Life. Released in 2017 as part of Free Comic Book Day, this issue follows Korra as a chid in the Southern Water Tribe who discovers a polar bear dog cub separated from its pack during a storm. She names it Naga, and Katara convinces Korra’s parents to allow her to keep Naga, believing that Korra has found her animal guide.
- Lost Pets. Released in 2018 as part of Free Comic Book Day, Avatar Korra pairs up with Meelo to track down a pack of lost pets!
Read the book tie-ins
- The Earth Kingdom Chronicles. A six-part adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender season two, but with each book book told from a different character’s perspective, which gives us a peek into their thoughts on the events occurring in the TV series. The six titles are: The Tale of Aang; The Tale of Azula; The Tale of Toph; The Tale of Sokka; The Tale of Zuko; and The Tale of Katara. A collection of the first four books, the tales of Aang, Azula, Toph and Sokka are compiled into a collection titled Journeys Through the Earth Kingdom.
- Love Potion #8. This is actually part of the Avatar: The Lsat Airbender Ready To Read book series. It is the only book featuring brand new story, not based on any episodes from the TV series. Aang, Katara, Toph and Sokka celebrate their first Love Feast with their friends, the singing nomads: Chong, Moku, and Lily, After drinking a special berry juice called Love Potion #8, they all openly express their true feelings for each other. This also marks the first time that Toph showed romantic feelings for someone who had a mutual attraction toward her.
- The Lost Scrolls. This is a series of canonical books that expand on the Avatar universe lore. The four scrolls have also been compiled together into The Lost Scrolls Collection.
- The Lost Scrolls: Water – this scroll contains all the sacred information about the Water Tribe. Katara recounts her discovery of the Aang in the iceberg; Sokka remembers his childhood when he encounters an old friend of his father; and Aang tells of his lessons with the waterbending master in the North.
- The Lost Scrolls: Earth – this scroll contains all the sacred information about the Earth Kingdom. Katara tells how she inspired a group of earthbenders imprisoned on a Fire Nation ship to take a stand, Sokka recounts the tale of the Great Divide, and Aang explains how he managed to outsmart the great earthbender, King Bumi.
- The Lost Scrolls: Fire – this scroll contains all the sacred information about the Fire Nation. Katara describes how Aang outwits and defeats the dreaded Admiral Zhao and the Fire Navy, Aang tells how he came to accept his destiny, and Prince Zuko recalls the time he once captured — and lost — the Avatar.
- The Lost Scrolls: Air – this scroll contains all the knowledge gathered so far about the Air Nomads. Aang revisits his former monastery, while Katara learns the truth about Aang’s mysterious past. Sokka reveals how he saved the Northern Air Temple from the Fire Nation.
- The Kyoshi Novels – This is a two-part original story about Avatar Kyoshi, the longest-lived Avatar. The first book, The Rise of Kyoshi, was released in 2019 and chronicles the life of Avatar Kyoshi 396 years before the events of Avatar: The Last Airbender. It largely follows Kyoshi through her teenage and young adult years, mapping her journey from a girl of humble origins to the merciless pursuer of justice still feared and admired centuries after her death. The sequel, The Shadow of Kyoshi, will be released in 2020. It picks up almost two years after the events of the first book and will follow Kyoshi as she attempts to keep peace across the four nations and confronting a mysterious threat from the Spirit World.
Watch some Avatar fan films
Fan films cannot be considered canonical – but they sure are fun and sometimes expand the lore in some pretty interesting ways (what would life be without fanfic, right?)! On that note, it’s worth scouring the interwebs for some great fan films that help you relive some of the joy that came from watching Avatar: TLA! Here’s one to start you off with: Avatar The Last Airbender: Agni Kai
Look forward to reading Katara and the Pirate’s Silver
Currently scheduled to be released in October 2020, Katara and the Pirate’s Silver will be a standalone graphic novel set during the events of Book Two: Earth. In it, Katar a is separated from the group when Team Avatar is ambushed by the Fire Nation. Unable to reconnect with the group, Katara avoids capture by aligning herself with some unlikely allies and explores her tougher side!
Look out for the upcoming Netflix series
In 2018, Netflix announced that it was reviving the Avatar: TLA as a live-action series, with original creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko as showrunners and executive producers. Production was set to begin in 2019 but a release date has yet to be announced.
If you’ve made it this far: there’s this film we’d rather forget…
If you’ve already gone through everything on the list and still want more, or if you’re just a masochistic completionist, you could attempt to watch, The Last Airbender, the 2010 live-action adaptation by M. Night Shyamalan. Mind you, this film was universally panned and is considered one of the worst films ever made. But hey, geeks gotta geek, amiright?
Need more pain? Here are some tie-ins for that awful movie
- The Last Airbender Prequel: Zuko’s Story – This graphic-novel tie-in explains what happened to Prince Zuko leading up to the events of the film. Banished from the Fire Nation by his own father, Fire Lord Ozai, horribly scarred, and stripped of everything he holds dear, Zuko wanders the world for almost three years in search of his only chance at redemption: the Avatar.
- The Last Airbender (manga) – A manga adaptation of the movie, it follows the adventures of Katara and Sokka who rescue a young boy frozen in an iceberg sphere. Their lives—and his—are changed forever when it is revealed that the boy is Aang, the long-lost Avatar and long-lost last of the last airbenders.
Did we miss anything? Let us know – send us a tip!