As Avatar: The Last Airbender enjoys something of a resurgence in popularity, Nickelodeon streamed a previously unaired pilot episode.
Since arriving on Netflix in May, ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ has enjoyed something of a renaissance. Now available to a wider audience and with news that the streaming service are developing a live-action adaptation*, the animated series is enjoying a renewed lease of life.
‘The Last Airbender’ premiered on Nickelodeon in 2005 becoming a success with critics and fans alike. A three season run ended in 2008. The show is highly praised for it’s art direction, sense of fun and unique world building.
But a network generally won’t commission a season without some proof of concept, commonly known as a pilot episode. Pilot episodes can often throw up some significant differences to a show’s final form. For example, the pilot episode of the A-Team had an entirely different actor playing Face. Captain Kirk wasn’t in charge of the Enterprise in the first pilot (there were two) of Star Trek.
Fans can now pour over the differences between a pilot for ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ and the first episode that aired back in 2005, thanks to a Nickelodeon Twitch stream celebrating Avatar’s origins. Titled ‘Avatar: Creating the Legend’, the one hour fifteen minute broadcast is a must for die-hard fans. The pilot episode can be seen at around the 43 minute mark.
Noticeable differences to the first aired episode, ‘Chapter One: The Boy in The Iceberg’, include a much slower paced introduction, a different starting point for the story, and a name change for Katara (referred to as Kya). Other than that Aang’s humour and the animation style aren’t too dissimilar. At least, to my untrained eye.
* Whilst fans held high hopes for a live-action series of ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ being developed by Netflix, news recently broke that the show’s original creators had left the project.