Book Two of The Legend of Korra is titled Spirit, and our teenaged Avatar will be battling plenty of frightening spirits. But Korra will also journey to the Southern Water Tribe, where she'll deal with a more earthly concern: her family.
We got a chance to sit down with Legend of Korra creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko and cast members Janet Varney (Korra), David Faustino (Mako), and P. J. Byrne (Bolin) today during Comic-Con. Book Two will take Korra out of Republic City as the latest threat to the human world returns her home to the South Pole. "Instead of a city problem, it's more of a global issue," explains DiMartino.
Going home means that we'll spend more time with the members of Korra's family, including her father Tonraq (James Remar), mother Senna, uncle Unalaq (Adrian LaTourelle), and twin cousins Desna (Aaron Himelstein) and Eska (Aubrey Plaza). While so many heroes in children's media are parentless (including Avatar: The Last Airbender's Aang), Korra now has multiple parental figures, including her mentor Tenzin, who served as her surrogate father in Book One. In the video below, Varney and Konietzko explain how Korra will have difficulty balancing these parental figures with her own strong will and her duties as Avatar:
But Korra's key concern in Book Two will be balancing the human world with the spirit world. "It's about the contrast of something so ancient and organic against this fully developed world," Konietzko says.
Will we see anything as intense as Koh the Face-Stealer from Avatar: The Last Airbender? "We have a lot of scary stuff," DiMartino says. "Definitely Book Two is more spirits than anyone knows what to do with. We decided, let's finally address the spirit world, what it is, and just see more of it than in the original series. There is no shortage of cool spirits."
Varney doesn't want to give away too much about how the spirits interact with the human world, but she does say this: the spirits' visual designs are nothing short of stunning:
Yesterday, it was announced that The Walking Dead's Steven Yeun would be joining the cast as Wan, the first Avatar. "He did some pretty significant things that changed the world and established what the Avatar is all about," says DiMartino. "So it's more about what [Korra]'s supposed to do as the Avatar." He adds, "Now she has even more pressure to live up to." Wan is getting his own story arc in the larger context of this season, but the way Korra interacts with Wan will be different from the way we've seen her communicate with the deceased Aang.
But there are plenty of other new characters that the creators are excited about, especially the businessman Varrick. "He's hilarious. He's our new favorite character," Konietzko says with a grin.
"And Korra's cousins, the creepy twins," adds DiMartino.
"They're just kind of awkward. They're kind of like goth kids," says Konietzko.
"Not very socially cultivated," DiMartino agrees. "They don't get along with people that well."
We'll certainly be seeing more of Korra, Mako, Bolin, Tenzin, and now Tenzin's siblings Kya (Lisa Edelstein) and Bumi (Richard Riehle). For those fans looking to see all their favorites from Book One, the creators advise patience. We may not get to all the characters' stories in this season, but there will be four seasons in total, with plenty of time to explore the characters.
This was also the first time the cast saw the new Legend of Korra Naga and Pabu plush toys, and they were adorably excited about them.