Legend of Korra fans were shocked a couple weeks back when it was announced that season 4 - a.k.a Book 4: Balance - would be released in October 2014, just one month after season 3 concluded. This came on the heels of a number of controversial moves made by Nickelodeon with regard to Korra, not the least of which was taking it off the air and relegating the remaining episodes to digital only.
But as frustrated as fans have been with Nickelodeon, it's hard to stay too angry when more Korra episodes are on the way - and especially when the premiere date is only one week away. That's right, The Legend of Korra season 4 will premiere next Friday, October 3rd on Nick.com. We also have the first trailer for the season (above), which looks - and I think I speak for Korra fans everywhere here - downright spectacular.
First of all, it seems pretty clear from the action and beautiful animation on display in the trailer that creators Bryan Konietzko and Mike DiMartino will be ending this series not with a whimper, but with a bang. Much of the footage is made up of fights between various benders and it's all fantastically rendered.
There are some interesting revelations, too. For example, season 4 will (mostly) take place three years after the season 3 finale. When we last saw Korra, she was recovering from a brutal poisoning at the hands of the dastardly Zaheer, one that left her wheelchair-bound and mostly helpless. After the three-year period, Korra is seemingly back in good health and strong as ever.
But she also seems different. Maybe her near-death experience changed her - affected her more deeply than any other time when her life was in peril. She cuts her long hair, perhaps as a physical representation of that change, and she seems to be on a journey of some kind (or perhaps that's just footage of her re-training).
We see some excellent shots of Kai and Jinora flying around with new airbending wingsuits. Jinora has grown most of her hair back after shaving it in the season 3 finale, and she very much resembles Avatar Yangchen.
As for the villain of Book 4: it's hard to know for sure (the trailer is just music over action; there are no speaking parts), but it seems like Kuvira - the captain of Suyin's metalbending squad - is the antagonist, perhaps in cahoots with Hiroshi Sato (Asami's father), as many of his patented mechsuits are featured. Kuvira appeared throughout last season in a small part, then there was a strange degree of focus on her in the second-to-last episode.
But perhaps the biggest reveal of all is the one that comes at the end of the trailer, when Korra says: "I can't believe it. Toph?" Now, we don't get to see elderly Toph onscreen, but you can rest assured that she'll be on the show this season.
For those who don't know, Toph Beifong was a main character - and fan-favorite - on Avatar: The Last Airbender. She was blind and, even at her young age, a master Earthbender, so skilled and powerful that she was able to "invent" metalbending. Her oldest daughter, Lin, has featured prominently in every season of Korra, and her youngest daughter, Suyin, was a major player in season 3.
Of course, it's not a huge surprise that Toph will make an appearance in season 4. There was some foreshadowing that she might return when it was revealed in season 3 that she long ago embarked on a trip around the world in search of enlightenment - and she had never been seen or heard from since.
What say you, Screen Ranters? Do you like the look of Legend of Korra season 4? Are you excited to see Toph return? Drop us a line in the comments.
The final season of The Legend of Korra premieres next Friday, October 3rd, 2014 on Nick.com.
Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.