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SDCC 12: THE LEGEND OF KORRA Panel

TV Comic-Con by Rebecca Kuntz

Amongst the Whedonites in line for Ballroom 20 were fans of the American animated television show Legend of Korra, a sequel series to the popular Avatar: The Last Airbender. Dedicated fans of both series' dressed accordingly: one cosplayer wrapped a 49er blanket around his Aang outfit, while probender teammates of the Fire Ferrets slept in a corner. The many hours of camping outside, however, were well worth the wait. Long before the Friday morning sun rose, the dedicated fans of Comic-Con had already made camp in the Ballroom 20 line, eager for the day ahead. Browncoats slept in sleeping bags, excited for the Firefly 10-year Reunion panel having met Joss Whedon in line hours before.

The Avatar: The Last Airbender panel began with a retrospective of the first book "Air" of the Legend of Korra series, recapping the important moments with brief clips. Creators Bryan Konietzko and Mike DiMartino were met with thunderous applause, and they proudly announced that Korra would contain 52 episodes that would round out the series in four books, or seasons. Then, Andrea Romano, the voice director of Korra, introduced and led the talent, consisting of Janet Varney (Korra), David Faustino (Mako), P. J. Byrne (Bolin), and Seychelle Gabriel (Asami Sato), in a table read of several scenes.

After the read-through, Konietzko and DiMartino introduced Book Two, "Spirits," explaining that the events of the series were set six months after the climax of "Air." They gave the fans a taste of "Spirits"'s concept and background art (from the talented Fred Stewart and Emily Tetri), which depicted colorful scenes of a Southern Water Tribe Festival, a banquet hall, and the surrounding area of scalloped ice formations and barren tundra. In addition, they showed a storm in progress, with an eerie, otherworldly green glow. Vistas of the Southern Air Temple, featured prominently in "The Last Airbender," were also shown and were hinted at as a major location in the upcoming book.

Costume designs have been updated in order to suit the Avatar and company in a new, colder climate. Additionally, new characters have been introduced, including Korra's family and new members to the Avatar team. (Notable mentions include Verink, who was described as a "humorous Howard Hughes playboy inventor, who deals with the shipping industry.")

A series of animated action sequences (still in rough animation and editing) were shown next, depicting moments in future episodes. These include Bolin rallying the "new" Fire Ferrets in their pro-bending skills; Mako as a cop chasing down on-the-run criminals; Asami dealing with the faltering Future Industries; and finally Korra racing Tenzin's children and encountering an ethereal spirit and entering into Avatar state to fight it off.

Like its name, "Spirit" is going to delve deeper into the spirit world mythology of the Avatar world, and expand on the origin of the Avatar itself. For Korra, it will represent her emotional and spiritual journey, not just with herself, but in her relationships with others, especially her family. "Spirit" will show how Korra's fate is tied with her family and the Northern and Southern Water Tribe, and how she now must cope as a fully realized Avatar.

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