Avatar Co-Creator Hopes to Inspire Girls with Scientific Superhero in the Upcoming Threadworlds

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Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra are two of the most beloved shows of the past decade, so fans have been understandably curious about what co-creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino would do for an encore after the conclusion of Korra in December. Thanks to a recent interview, we finally have half an answer.

It turns out that Konietzko is currently working on Threadworlds, an original graphic novel that will be published by First Second Books in 2017. The series is set on a group of five planets that share an orbit – these would presumably be the threadworlds – and chronicles the adventures Nova, a young scientist using science to do all kinds of heroic and science-y things. Threadworlds will blend elements of sci-fi and fantasy and – like its predecessors – it will also have a progressive angle that addresses societal pressures that people deal with here on Earth.

“Once science became the focal point of the story I knew it was important to me to have a young girl as the main character,” Konietzko told Entertainment Weekly. “This is basically Nova’s long origin story as scientific superhero. I hope she’ll be inspiring to readers of all genders and ages, but especially girls who are interested in studying and pursuing science.”

Given his track record, that seems like a reasonable expectation. Both The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra received deserved critical acclaim for their complex and multifaceted female characters (not all of whom were protagonists), and Threadworlds will keep that emphasis on personality and storytelling.

“Threadworlds has high stakes, relatable characters and a wide range of tones,” said Konietzko. “And though the focus is on science there will be plenty of action and adventure.”

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That’s reason enough to be excited about the project. Konietzko’s skills as a world builder are unquestioned, and if Threadworlds has even a fraction of Avatar’s heart and imagination it will still be a cut above most children’s entertainment. The early preview art already showcases the same rich, colorful tone that helped make Avatar such a treat, and while the characters have bunny ears instead of face tattoos, the unique look could prove to be equally iconic.

Sadly, we’ll have to wait a while to see the finished product. Beyond the move from television to print, the other major difference is that Konietzko is now flying solo, handling all of the writing and drawing duties for Threadworlds. That may not always be the case – Konietzko says he could eventually outsource some of the artistic responsibilities – but at one point there were a mind-boggling 30 episodes of The Legend of Korra in various stages of production so he doesn’t seem to be terribly worried about the workload.

At the moment there aren’t any plans to expand Threadworlds beyond a graphic novel, but given Konietzko’s background, a TV adaptation is always a possibility if the book proves to be a hit. Whatever the case, Threadworlds represents a new universe from one of the most groundbreaking minds in entertainment, and you probably won’t need to be a kid to be inspired.

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