The Avatar: The Last Airbender series - which includes Avatar and its follow-up, The Legend of Korra - is beloved by many and considered to be one of the greatest animated adventure series of all time. And while season 1 and 2 of Korra received their share of criticisms (the ending for the former, the beginning for the latter), season 3 was almost universally praised by fans and critics alike for its sprawling adventure, interesting villains, and beautiful action sequences, among other things.
Of course, there were controversies for the season, but they took place apart from the storytelling. First, Spanish-language episodes of the unreleased season were leaked to the Internet. Second, Nickelodeon announced the premiere - with almost no advertising to speak of - less than a week before it aired. Third, Nick began airing episodes two at a time, almost as though they wanted to finish the season off as quickly as possible. And then finally, it was revealed mid-season that Nick was taking the series off the air and releasing the remainder of the show online.
While this was bad news for some, the creators - Bryan Konietzko and Mike DiMartino - reassured everyone that the show would go on. After all, Nickelodeon had already ordered season 4 to series and it was well into production. Still, there were questions: How would season 4 be packaged? What would it be called? When would it air? And would it be the last of Korra and the Airbender universe on the small screen? Thankfully, we now have at least some of the answers to these questions.
Earlier today, the Nickelodeon Twitter account tweeted an image that revealed the title of the new season: "Book 4 - Balance." Check it out below:
— Nickelodeon (@NickelodeonTV) September 6, 2014
And not long thereafter, a video of Konietzko and DiMartino appeared on Nick.com announcing the release date for the next season. While most sane human beings presumed that we wouldn't see a new episode of Korra until 2015 - there was nearly a year between all three previous seasons - we will, in fact, see the entirety of Book 4 before the end of 2014. That's right: The Legend of Korra season 4 will premiere Friday, October 3rd, 2014.
It's hard not to have some mixed emotions about this whole thing. On the one hand, more Legend of Korra? Sign us up. Now. As in right now. Having to wait a whole year to see more episodes of Korra would've been agonizing, especially after the incredibly emotional and somewhat shocking ending of season 3.
On the other hand, releasing this season so quickly after the previous one lends credence to the theory that Nickelodeon has buyer's remorse and just wants to get rid of this show as quickly as possible. In all likelihood, the upcoming episodes of Korra will be the last we see of the world of Avatar for a long, long time - potentially forever.
Then again, maybe that's precisely what Konietzko and DiMartino want. Indeed, the show has to end sometime, and Book 4 could very well be its high note. As long as production on this season wasn't rushed - and we assume that it wasn't - then all that really matters is the show is as excellent as ever, right?
It's just a shame that the series will conclude and fans will come away from it thinking that Nick treated it - and them - so poorly in the end. What could've been this incredible celebration of one of television's greatest children's shows ever, a sendoff for the ages, instead feels like Nickelodeon is dropping it off at the nursing home for cartoons and never finding time to visit.
Hopefully, we'll get the behind-the-scenes story about all this someday (in an unauthorized tell-all book, if possible).
What say you, Screen Ranters? Are you happy that season 4 is airing next month? Are you sad to see Korra finally coming to an end? Drop us a line in the comments.
The Legend of Korra - Book 4: Balance will premiere Friday, October 3rd, 2014 on Nick.com. New episodes will release every following Friday.
Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.