Avatar going as Airbender for 2010 film

Avatar: The Last Airbender was slated to become a live-action film, and speculation about the project has been running rampant. I know it’s Hollywood’s way to give us a smidgen of information and then leave us to stew for… well… sometimes years on end, but back then all we knew was that M. Night Shyamalan would be directing, and also that James Cameron had a similarly-named project in the works.

This week we finally got the answers to a few of those burning questions about the much-anticipated cinema event. The news is that we’ll have to keep waiting:

Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies will release M. Night Shyamalan’s live-action bigscreen adaptation of the popular animated TV series “Avatar: The Last Airbender” on July 2, 2010.

I’m all for being forewarned, and all, but seriously? This movie was announced three and a half years before it would come to fruition. That’s… craziness. In three and a half years I’ll have a teenager. In three and a half years the Avatar saga might be complete. In three and a half years the cartoon might not even be on the air anymore. (Hey, I hope it will be, but you never do know with these things.) That just seems like… a long time.

As for the name issue, well, that’s been resolved as well:

Studio has dropped “Avatar” from the title of the action-adventure so as to avoid confusion with James Cameron’s 3-D epic “Avatar,” which 20th Century Fox opens Dec. 18, 2009.

To me, this was the best possible news. I actually think The Last Airbender is a great title, and more evocative of the story than the inclusion of the term “Avatar.” Even without Cameron’s project, I just think that word has a lot of pre-conceived ideas attached to it for those who don’t know the storyline.

Now I guess I’ll go mark my calendar for July of 2010, but I may need a few things to keep me busy in the meantime….

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