Like with most series, animated or live action, the original pilot for Avatar: The Last Airbender wasn’t what aired on television. Pilots are often more about showcasing a series’ intent, characters, and/or tone. We don’t always get a look at that first pass, but Nickelodeon’s shared the unaired pilot for the popular show. The network released the pilot as part of a Twitch stream on Avatar‘s origins titled Avatar: Creating the Legend. They filmed and released the series years ago, so it’s not new. However, the videos are now officially available for free through Nickelodeon’s Twitch channel.
The pilot episode portion of the video begins at 43 minutes in. But if you’re a fan of Avatar, the full hour and fifteen minute stream will pull you in. It begins with Sifu Kisu, Avatar‘s fighting consultant, discussing the different martial arts styles he referenced for the four kinds of bending. The stream also covers sound design (including how the Foley artist made the sound of Appa walking). And it features Avatar co-creator Bryan Konietzko visiting the South Korean animation studio that worked on the series. He interviews various artists there about Avatar.
But back to the pilot, you’ll see the similarities between this and the first episode, “Chapter One: The Boy in the Iceberg,” that aired on Nickelodeon in 2005. The introduction is much, much slower, but the character designs are close—pretty much matching what we see in the series. Katara’s name at this point is Kya. The story starts in a different place. But Aang’s humor and the lighthearted aspects of the series are already present. Overall, this piece of Avatar history is a fun watch.
Avatar: The Last Airbender has found tons of new fans since Netflix added the animated series in May. The availability of the episodes has inspired some of those fans to get creative with one of them even going so far as to write a whole Avatar musical. Netflix has a live action adaptation of the series in the works as well, though the animated series creators (Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino) recently announced their departure from the project.
Featured Image: Nickelodeon