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Avatar’s most important person will not return in the live-action remake

In addition to the departure of the creators of the original series, composer Jeremy Zucerkman is also not returning to the ATLA Netflix remake.

The live-action remake of Avatar: The Last Airbender is coming to Netflix within the next few years, but without a key member of the original production team, composer Jeremy Zuckerman. In 2020, fans of the original animated series raised concerns about series creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko parting ways with the Netflix remake after citing creative differences. However, Zuckerman’s much quieter exit may be even more concerning.

When creators DiMartino and Konietzko signed on for the live-action remake, they cited criticism of the film adaptation as a concern for them, promising to faithfully adapt the source material. Jeremy Zuckerman, Avatar: The last air MasterThe original composer responsible for iconic musical themes such as “The Avatar’s Love” and “Agni Kai” was also set to return to the remake, potentially even recomposing his original themes with a bigger production budget and a full orchestra at his disposal. Sometime after DiMartino and Konietzko’s departure, however, Zuckerman announced by Twitter that he wasn’t coming back to the remake either.


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Zuckerman’s departure, outside of the show’s creators, is perhaps the live-action remake’s most devastating loss, as the original music composed for Avatar: The Last Airbender—which can no longer be used for the live-action remake – perfectly captures the essence of the original series. Given that confidence in the franchise’s spinoffs is low, hearing Zuckerman’s original score performed with a full orchestra, combined with a larger production budget, would have been a wonderful nod to the original series. Plus, Zuckerman’s score could have been one of the franchise’s key elements to carry over between the original Avatar and the upcoming Netflix reboot.

In many beloved franchises, the original score is often considered an essential part of the production. The rating of star wars is one example, with George Lucas even going so far as to call John Williams’ iconic compositions “the secret sauce” of star wars. Avatar: The Last Airbender shares many traits with star wars: a complex and fleshed out world, an evil imperialist empire that must be overthrown, influential series creators and a memorable devotion to music. Zuckerman, in many ways, is the “secret sauce” of the Avatar universe, just like Williams was in a galaxy far, far away.

Moreover, with the exception of the original Avatar creators, Jeremy Zuckerman would have been one of the only members of the production team to work on both shows, creating much-needed continuity for an important aspect of the show’s production. During his time on the original series, Zuckerman composed themes for many of the main characters, antagonists, as well as essential musical motifs for songs like “Leaves From the Vine”, a memorable musical moment from Avatar. If Zuckerman had had the chance to repeat these musical themes from installment to installment, his re-orchestrations for a complete symphony or even complementary additional compositions could have provided invaluable information on some of the Avatarthe most beloved characters.

While Netflix has made strides to improve on the mistakes of past adaptations, one thing is certain: Jeremy Zuckerman’s departure could be potentially devastating for the remake. At the very least, Netflix should attempt to license the original theme music for reuse throughout the new series. It would give longtime fans of the franchise a chance to hear some of the composer’s most beloved and quintessential compositions fully orchestrated, and possibly give the live remake of Avatar: The Last Airbender a head start as he produces his soon to be highly scrutinized first season.

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