Avatar: The Legend of Korra, Echoes edition

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Ares
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Avatar: The Legend of Korra, Echoes edition

Post by Ares » Thu May 21, 2020 7:15 am

So over on the Echoes Discord, the topic of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra came up. After some discussion, Doctor Malsyn put a question to me about what I would have done with a follow up Avatar series, with the one directive that it had to be the Avatar immediately following Aang. So after some thinking, here's what I came up with:


The General Set-Up: The world is set roughly 80 years after the end of The Last Airbender. The world has moved on in some ways, but not in others. The technology level is definitely not as advanced as The Legend of Korra, though advances have been made in certain technologies that already existed. Airships are a fairly common and fast way to travel, for instance, but there are no cars, radios, movies or giant robots.

Republic City: Less than a century old, Republic City was founded by Aang to be a place where the peoples of the Four Nations could coe-exist in harmony, and be a place where the Nations could bring their grievances to one another and try to handle them diplomatically to avoid war. It has swiftly become a small city state with its own laws and governments, and many of the changes made here have impacted the other kingdoms, giving individuals more rights and a say in their governments. The place isn't perfect, as it's still figuring out how to do double duty as a Democratic Republic and a United Nations, but the work Aang and his friends put into it set it on the right path.

The Earth Kingdom: Has undergone several changes thanks to the previous Earth King's interactions with Aangs. Having seen what happens when he closed himself off from his people and spending time amongst them to really get a feel for the plight of the common man, the previous Earth King established a council to represent the local governments within his city, and a larger council to represent the various cities within the Earth Nation. While this is overall a positive thing, it has led to some political infighting that the Earth Kings since must now reign in, and you have some politicians trying to use this situation to amass power and court the favor of the Earth King.

The Water Tribes: The Water Tribes have generally become less patriarchal in terms of what women are and aren't allowed to do. Katara made push to have gender equality, so that women and men can be both fighters and healers. This softening of the divide has lead to the Water Tribes getting more expressive with Ice Art, as well as a further cultural evolution. In some cases however, there's instances of over-correction, as a few women in power feel the need to punish members of their society for perceived past wrongs. And then there are those who want things to go back to "the good old days".

The Fire Nation : The Fire Nation has done a lot of work to make up for the previous 100 Years War. Under the guidance of Fire Lord Zuko and now his daughter, the Fire Nation has done much to make reparations to the other nations, including making Fire Nation technology like Air Ships available to everyone, aiding in construction, putting their industries to use in Republic City, etc. Despite that, they still have to deal with the stigma of being "the bad guys" by many people, and there are still some parts of the world that view the Fire Nation with distrust. The nation as a whole is still trying to overcome the cultural guilt of the previous Fire Lords, both in how the world sees them and how they see themselves. This has actually lead to a small splinter movement within the Fire Nation that seeks a return to the time when the Fire Nation was on top of the world, and seek to overthrow the current Fire Lord. They search for a descendant of Azula, who went missing after the end of the War, and want to use a member of that blood line to overthrow the current Fire Lord.

The Air Nomads: The Air Nomads currently are limited to a small extended family, being Aang's children and grandchildren, possibly even great grandchildren. They have both of the Northern and Southern Air Temples again, and people living there that celebrate and maintain the Airbender culture, but as of now there's still less than a dozen actual Airbenders in the world.


The Themes and Plots: Unlike The Last Airbender, there won't be a central war theme. I would keep the more episodic nature of the Last Airbender so that each episode tells a complete story (save for the occasional multi-parters) while also contributing to the overall narrative. Maybe even go with the Tentpole style approach Gargoyles did where certain episodes can be watched in any order so long as they fall between two episodes where major developments happen.

Harmony: The main focus of the series will be the idea of harmony, and how the Avatar world almost literally runs on it. The Avatar exists to promote harmony within the world, and all of the major issues the world faces are when people promote disharmony. Harmony isn't static, it's a constant effort to work with others, a shifting to promote growth and happiness and understanding between everyone. Each of the nations have made great strides towards harmony, but each also suffers from factions within that want to create disharmony. The Earth Kingdom wishes to have all of its people contribute to the stability of their nation, but there are those who seek to use this to gain power for themselves. The Water Tribes have made great strides towards equality, but there are both those who want to undo it, or to overdo it, both of which upset the current balance. The Fire Nation seeks to make amends and move beyond its past, but there are those without and within that refuse to let it move past, and holding onto that guilt and hatred breeds disharmony. And then there are spiritual forces that feed off of this kind of disharmony and seek to make it worse. And the Avatar must somehow find a way to deal with all of this.

The Spirits: With the world properly set up, I want to explore the Spiritual world of Avatar more thoroughly, but in a different way than Korra did. The idea is that the lack of an Avatar for 100 years and the imbalance caused by the Fire Nation really made the spiritual world itself unbalanced, which lead to some darker spirits and monsters escaping into the world where they seek to corrupt it. This also lead to the creation of many secret societies that stepped forth in the Avatar's absence to deal with the spirits. Some of them function as essentially Taoist Kung Fu Witchers that hunt monsters and make peace with spirits. Some are more like Lovecraftian cults that gain powers from evil spirits and seek to use them for various ends. And then there are some spirits themselves that have their own agendas, and basically want to bring various flavors of ruin to the world of mortals.

Bending: My take on the idea of Bending plays into the concept of Harmony. Bending was originally created when humans learned that they could harmonize with the spirits, gaining wisdom, insight and in some cases, power, from them. From there, each human could with time and training learn to harmonize with something and gain great power. You could harmonize with the material world, choosing an elemental aspect like Earth, Air, Fire and Water, and by harmonizing with it, learn to manipulate it. You could harmonize with the spiritual world, gaining various spiritual abilities. Or you could harmonize with yourself, gaining great mastery over your own mind, body and spirit. The process was difficult, but with time and training, anyone could do it. Over time, people realized that if they based a society around an element, it made harmonizing with that element easier. The four nations were born of the idea of having a nation to embody each element so as to make harmonizing with said element easier, and to help maintain balance of the physical world. This worked so well that people were then born with the potential to Bend certain elements, without the need to harmonize with the element first. Eventually, people came to believe that Bending was a skill you were either born with or you were not, and thus the practice of harmonizing was lost. The events of this series would bring this knowledge back to the world, and be a step in rebuilding the Air Nation by allowing people who wish to join it getting the chance to do so.


The Cast: The cast is something I haven't really fleshed out in my head, given I only started thinking of this today. But here are some rough ideas I have in mind.

Korra: I like the idea of Korra, just not the execution. Her basic personality as an enthusiastic brawler who lacks spiritual understanding would be kept, but she'd start the series knowing only Waterbending and have to go on an Avatar journey the way the others did. And a big part of her character growth would be learning about the spiritual side of things, learning to think things through better, etc. Basically, she starts the series having made her dump stats Wisdom and Charisma, and spends the series putting points into them rather than focusing on her combat skills.

The Exorcist: One of the Taoist Kung Fu Witchers I mentioned that deals with Spirits thanks to a combination of weapons, those paper charms/talismans, and some spiritual techniques. She winds up being the source of a lot of knowledge on the spirits and helps Korra deal with that side of thing.

The Wanderer: A wandering Firebender with a unique flaw: he can't actually Firebend, only Lightning Bend. As such, he's trained with Waterbenders and Airbenders to develop a different style where he basically turns himself into a living taser, a lot of acrobatic fighting where he smacks people and shocks them, all while trying to gain more fine control over his lightning abilities. He's spent a good deal of his time wandering the world, getting to know the various nations, and he'd be the guy to ask about local customs. It would eventually be revealed that he's the descendant of Azula, but wants no part of that whole mess. But naturally they want to use him as a figurehead/puppet king against his will.

The Scholar: A scholar who is fascinated with old lore and knowledge, and has unlocked some of the lost Bending knowledge, to the point that he's learned some arts of self-harmony. He's basically a Kung Fu Indiana Jones who raids lost libraries and temples, and is always looking for answers. Serves as the general lore exposition guy in matters not dealing with local culture or the spirits.


The Villains: Every good series needs some villains, and while I don't have a complete roster of bad guys, I do have some general ideas. As previously mentioned, each nation has it's own internal political issues lead by one bad guy or another, which creates problems for the heroes that they have to deal with. In addition to them, we'd also have the following.

The Spiritual Antagonist: The main big bad of the series would essentially be the Avatar version of Nyarlathotep, a spiritual big bad who wants to use the opportunity of the 100 years war to plunge the world into chaos. Its the one that is pushing for the nations to eat themselves, its the one supplying certain bad guys with power, and its the one that ultimately must be defeated to give the mortals of the Avatar world a chance to forge their own destiny.

The Separatists: My own version of the Red Lotus, where you'd have a villain team of elite Benders from the Four Nations. "Separatists" is just a place holder that gets the point across. Basically, these people feel that the four nations can only be in harmony if they are separate from one another and interact as little as possible. They feel Republic City and the influence it's had on the world has been terrible, and they want to destroy Republic City, the elements within the governments they don't like, and make things go back to the way it use to be. They're essentially radical cultural fundamentalist terrorists, and are at least partially responsible for the various splinter factions within each nation that seeks to tear it apart. The irony that they're a group made up of people from all 4 nations working together towards a common goal is either lost on them, or said to be a necessary evil so that they can go back to doing their own thing. Each faction is lead by a Bending Master of nearly unparalleled skill, and who commands their own quirky mini-boss squad.



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That's it for now, but if you like, feel free to give your own take, or help me expand on the ideas here.

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