Announced in an open letter, DiMartino explained that things “did not go as we had hoped” despite Netflix’s assurance that the pair’s plans would be supported. “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,” he wrote.
DiMartino continued, “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.”
He followed by comforting fans with the idea that the live-action adaptation “has the potential to be good,” but whatever fans see in the future will not be “what Bryan and I had envisioned or intended to make.” This won’t stop DiMartino from still working in the Avatar universe, however, and ended his letter with a quote from the always-wise Uncle Iroh: “Sometimes life is like this dark tunnel. You can’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if you just keep moving you will come to a better place.”
Netflix released its own statement responding to the pair’s departure, writing, “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.”
The live-action adaptation was originally announced in 2018 and with DiMartino and Konietzko serving as showrunners and executive producers.
Elsewhere in entertainment, a Fresh Prince of Bel-Air reboot is officially in the works.