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Netflix's Avatar: The Last Airbender is thankfully being developed with the 'problem' of teen actors in mind

The single biggest issue of live-action adaptations.

Avatar: TLA - Netflix
Image credit: Netflix

Avatar: The Last Airbender showrunner Albert Kim has explained why and how they've added time jumps into the series' larger story to accommodate teen actors.

A huge problem with live-action productions that are led by (or heavily feature) children and teenagers is that of certain characters' ages not quite lining up with the real time that has passed for the actors portraying them between seasons/movies. We saw it happen in Harry Potter. We saw it happen in The Walking Dead with Carl Grimes. And of course, Stranger Things has suffered its effects greatly. Those are just some examples. So, how is Netflix's The Last Airbender tackling the issue of telling a story that originally happened over one calendar year with real teenagers?

Kim's answer is simple: You can't fight against time and these massive productions take a while to write, put together, shoot, and edit. There's no way a one-year long story would be believable with the main cast growing before our eyes. "There was no way we could do that. So we had to design this first season, especially, to accommodate the possibility of some time elapsing between the first and the second season," he explained to Entertainment Weekly.

In the case of The Last Airbender, things became even more problematic when the creators had to take into account Sozin's Comet, which is kind of the "ticking clock" of the animated series. While present in this iteration of the story, its arrival isn't as pressing... for now. "We definitely thought about that going into season 1 so that we can accommodate for puberty, adolescence, time passing," Kim says, "all of those fun things that happen to real-life human beings that don't happen to animated characters."

These time adjustments aren't the only elements that are getting adjusted for the live-action Avatar series, as Kim has also promised a slightly more mature tone (given the wider reach Netflix is aiming for) that allowed them to include the attack of the Fire Nation on other countries, among other things.

Season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender drops on Netflix on February 22.

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