It doesn’t take more than a cursory viewing of the new trailer for the forthcoming Avatar: The Last Airbender sequel series to see that M. Night Shyamalan’s film adaptation mostly lost the plot.
Due in 2012, The Last Airbender: Legend of Korra, which previewed at Comic-Con International to practically zero media fanfare, looks like everything that Shyamalan’s clumsy iteration of the invigorating elemental fantasy was not: gorgeous, action-packed, riveting and eminently watchable. Which is to say, just like Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko’s stunning original.
Legend of Korra takes place 70 years after the first animated series’ timeline in a modern, steampunk metropolis called the United Republic. Its main character, Korra, has reason to brood: As Avatar Aang‘s immediate successor, she can magically bend earth, air, water and fire, but is hard-pressed to repel an anti-bending insurrection that invalidates the epic struggles of Avatar: The Last Airbender‘s freedom fighters.
Think the original series, plus Hayao Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke, and you’re probably there. The only bad news so far seems to be that the new Legend of Korra miniseries will only run 26 episodes.