A month ago, at New York Comic-Con, I attended a panel for The Legend of Korra. It was full of sneak peeks, laughs, and goodbyes (considering this is likely their last panel for the series) but there was also a reminder — that Platinum Games is making a video game derived from the series. It takes place between the second and third books of the series, where Korra is stripped of her bending by a chi-blocker, and must regain her abilities throughout the game.
What I’ve found is that people aren’t really talking much about the game. I even forgot myself, considering it was a nice reminder at New York Comic-Con. The creators basically mentioned it as a passing thought, but that may have been due to time constraints. The game isn’t meant to be long (it’s about four to six hours to play), and is a digital download, so that’s likely an aspect of it. The game isn’t a full-fledged entity, but a charming addition to the series. It’s not the most important thing. However, forgetting Korra… this isn’t exactly new. Let’s talk about how Nickelodeon has been treating the series.
Book Three of Korra was preceded by very little advertising — there was a trailer released a week before the premiere date, and that was all. Some fans, including myself, found this a bit odd considering the general way of the media. A trailer gets released a month or two before the premiere to encourage theories and hype. The way book three’s trailer was released seemed like it was… rushed. A few episodes of the season had been leaked (in Spanish), yes, but it seemed out of the blue.
In the middle of the season, Korra was pulled off the air and made a digital exclusive. This surprised many fans, and many feared cancellation. The explanation for this was side-eyed by almost everyone involved — and the creators didn’t seem to know it was coming either. On top of that, the fourth season was released a month after the third — certainly atypical.
Why is Nickelodeon trying to get rid of Korra? Here are a few of my ideas.
The Subject Matter
It’s undeniable — Korra is far more mature than The Last Airbender. This likely has a lot to do with the fact that Aang was twelve for the duration of the first series. When we meet Korra, she is sixteen. Aang is still a child, but Korra is a young adult. Every death in The Last Airbender was merely hinted at. Aang’s entire culture and nation are exterminated, but somehow it is described in such a way that makes it almost kid-friendly. In Korra, there is a murder-suicide, a suffocation of a queen, and most recently deals with PTSD. Korra really isn’t a kid’s show anymore — it’s for those who grew up with The Last Airbender. Considering the rest of Nickelodeon’s broadcast, it doesn’t quite fit.
Let’s take a look at a recently cancelled show on a different network. Young Justice was a take on the DC Comics universe, but one that paid attention to the little guys. It was an amazing show that came to an abrupt halt because… it wasn’t selling enough toys. Later on, in a podcast, Paul Dini, who had a large hand in the DC animated universe, revealed that too many girls liked Young Justice — and apparently girls didn’t buy toys. He wasn’t happy to divulge the news, and clearly didn’t agree with the sentiment, but what he said does bring up a good question.
Young Justice was similar to Korra in the fact that it did have a diverse cast with female leads, and a large female audience. Apparently studios are afraid of them… so who’s not to say they’re not afraid of Korra, and want to get her out of the door as soon as possible?
The Original Plan
The Legend of Korra was originally a mini-series, and thus only supposed to last for the first book. Due to its overwhelming popularity, it was signed on for 52 more episodes, composing of three more books. Perhaps they are regretting their decision in this, hence the treatment of the series.
There’s nothing more that Avatar fans can do at this point but support the series. You can buy the comics, buy the game, make sure you watch it online instead of torrenting it or throwing on adblock — but also talk about it! Make some noise. The Legend of Korra is a great series that needs more attention and when it’s over, we don’t want it to be gone.
Gabrielle Smith is a lover of comics, video games, and pretty much anything you’ll see at comic con. (In fact, she’s been going to NYCC for the past four years straight). Originally from New York, she currently resides and goes to school in South Jersey. Her blog is a display of her love for all things geek culture.