You asked — and we stepped up and got the answers from the twist-master himself, M. Night Shyamalan. While I can't show you the video from our Airbender breakfast with M. Night just yet, I can spill a few details.
In a small group with a few other select sites, we quizzed M. Night on all things Airbender:
First up: who's in and who's out? This is such a long, and enjoyable, series that surely not every single character can make the final cut. What happened to the cabbage guy, the bounty hunter, King Bumi? M. Night tried his best to keep in every essential character to the series, but of course some of them would never make it out of the Nickelodeon cartoon. And sorry, commenter Daumier, King Bumi didn't make the list — sad, we know — but we think you'll be surprised with who and what did stay in this movie. And who is being saved for the next film.
While running through the list of major characters, we spent quite a bit of time talking about the furrier friends of the Airbender universe — specifically, that lovable flying Bison Appa. M. Night discussed the struggles of trying to make a realistic-looking film, while simultaneously creating a giant, six-legged flying Bison. And while that seemed difficult, it was reassuring to hear the director talk more about the relationship between Aang and Appa, and their future trials and separations, thankfully, he thoroughly understood the character dynamic between these two.
And yes, M. Night is fiercely dedicated to the making multiple Airbender films. Calling the later seasons "Shakespearean," he described to us in great detail what he wants from each film, and why he wants to be the one making them, unless he gets canned. But when he signed on to recreate this series, he had a dedication to see it through to the end. Shyamalan understands the weighty material that's addressed in later episodes, but he did also talk a lot about a major concern many of you had. How do you balance the humor and the action in the first film? From what we could tell, many of the younger jokes had to go, or at least be elevated in delivery, but there's still a balance. Although we're still not sure how the balancing act will turn out.
And of course, we didn't skirt around the number one issue to many of our commenters and readers — the racial issues around this film's casting. M. Night addressed the issues head-on, and explained the reasoning behind his decisions, as you'll see in the video. And while we're sure many of you won't be happy with any answer, we left with a better understanding for M. Night's vision for the Airbender world, and the many races and nations that you would see in this film and future works. First and foremost he claimed that he picked the best actor first, and the rest follows.
Finally, the last little secret we'll spill is that no, M. Night will not be appearing in this particular Airbender film, but if all goes well, he'll be popping up later, in a stinky cameo his family picked out for him.
Stay tuned for the full video interview coming soon.