SDCC 2011 Legend of Korra Panel
Panelists: Bryan Konietzko, Michael Dante DiMartino, Joaquim Dos Santos, Ki-Hyun Ryu, and composers Ben Wynn and Jeremy Zuckerman (The Track Team). Moderated by Roland Poindexter.
Transcriber: Lavanya Six
Transcript done using the recording provided by TheYumchunks on Youtube.
I've left out the 'ums', 'uhs', and odd moments of minor verbal stumbling for the sake of clarity. Occasionally, there are moments when a speaker is inaudible either due to moving away from their microphone, the crowd's cheers, or a combination of both. Those moments will be indicated with [inaudible].
Poindexter: We skipped a year last year and didn't appear on a panel like Comic-Con so I didn't get a chance so I didn't get a chance to do this. Now I've worked up the energy to do this since it's been, what, two years now. So I'm all ready and I'll start out with my traditional welcome.
Poindexter: (loudly) Good afternoon Comic-Com San Diego 2011!
Poindexter: My name is Roland Poindexter and I'm Senior Vice-President for Current Animation at Nickelodeon. And--
Poindexter: Thank you.
Poindexter: And actually, I want to start this out by thanking *you*. Nickelodeon has enjoyed a lot of success obviously over the years and certainly in the last couple of years and that is all because of you, the great fans of all of the things that we do, including Spongebob, and Penguins of Madagascar, Fanboy and Chum Chum, a little show called iCarly.
Poindexter: So I really want to thank you guys for all the support that you've given the network and the company through the years and especially for your undying, unceasing, incredible love for Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Poindexter: Because of all the phone calls, because of all the emails, because of the non-stop demands, we sat down with Mike and Bryan and we said, "Dudes, you gotta do something else."
Poindexter: And they, "Okay, we can put a little something together." And you know, they have. And I'm really excited for them to share it with you today. And again thank you all for attending today. And you know what? That's enough of the 'thanks yous', let's get on with the good part.
Poindexter: And you know, before we start, we actually, we're, y'know, we're just going to give you as much as we possibly can today. All the great things about Avatar, and Legend of Korra, and this whole experience here at Comic-Con is, all of the costumes that we see, both at the panel and around--
Poindexter: We know that you guys have been dying to see what Korra looks like, and we've had a couple of pieces of artwork online, but we actually brought our own live Korra--
[A woman in Korra's costume comes on stage and poses beside Mr. Poindexter.]
Poindexter: So next year, everybody who wants to put together their own Korra suit, you've got a high bar.
[Korra leaves the stage.]
Poindexter: So with that, without further delay, let me bring out the Executive Producer of The Last Airbender: Legend of Korra, Bryan Konietzko.
Poindexter: I am also pleased to bring out the other Executive Producer and creator of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Last Airbender: Legend of Korra, Michael DiMartino.
Poindexter: One of my favorite people to have worked with on this and other shows is here as well. He's the Co-Executive Produced of Legend of Korra, Mister Joaquim Dos Santos.
Poindexter: And I think this team here would be the first ones to tell you our Supervising Director is an incredible, incredible talent. You're going to get a chance to hear from him today, and you're going to get a chance to marvel at his work in this incredble series. Mister [Ki-Hyun] Ryu.
Poindexter: And I don't know if you guys have ever done this, but sometimes you can just, you can almost sort of, even those guys write great dialogue and produce an amazing picture, you can kind of close your eyes and just listen to the music of Avatar.
Poindexter: [inaudible] goosebumps.
Poindexter: We have the incredible duo that produce all of the music and are the sound designers for the entire series. The track team, Ben Wynn and Jeremy Zuckerman.
Poindexter: So I'm going to shut up now and let the guys take it away.
Mike: Thank you, Roland. Thank you, everyone, for coming and supporting us and supporting this new series which you haven't even seen yet. So it's very cool to be here again.
Random Dude in Crowd: You guys rock!
Bryan: You guys rule. Seriously, you're the best fans. We did a panel, the track team invited us to a panel on Thursday, and afterwards one of the producers of the other shows was like, "Your fans are really passionate." We later that most of the room was, y'know, full of Avatar fans though. Thank you for coming out for that.
Mike: Cool. So we're going to get started out right away. We have a trailer to show you.
Mike: [inaudible] very excited about the trailer, so we're going to show it first, then we're going to talk about the show a little bit, and then at the very end we'll show it again 'cuz I know there's gonna be screaming and all this stuff. So if you missed something the first time, just hold tight to the end and we'll show it again.
Bryan: (quietly to Mike) And hold just one sec. (regular voice towards microphone) We did this with Studio Mir. It's a new studio but it's comprised of a lot of the great animators we've worked with since the pilot. So you'll recognize some of the style. But y'know, with Byran, Joaquim, and Ryu really high up in the creative team, I think you'll see an increase in the sophistication of everything. It's just been a dream working with these guys and all our friends in Korea, so we're really excited to show this to you.
Bryan: (to someone off-screen) Play the trailer.
[First ever trailer for The Last Airbender: Legend of Korra plays. It's largely silent save for a single line in the stinger.]
Bolin: [shocked, pointing at Korra] (quietly to an unidentified someone in the foreground) *The* Avatar.
Bryan: We got a lot of fan mail which is always great, a lot of fun to read, but sometimes y'know it's pretty bossy, telling us what to do, and I have to admit y'know that we've been working so hard, we're all really busy, and I've stopped opening the fan mail because, like, two out of three letters was like, "We don't want Korra. Stop making this series."
Bryan: (jokingly) So, y'know, we appreciate the enthusiasm for our hard work but I just had to stop opening the mail. So don't send those kind kind of clips(?).
Bryan: But anyways, I just brought it up because it's really nice to hear your [positive] reaction to the show that we've been slaving over so...
Mike: Yeah, we're really excited to be back developing this world again in a whole new way. Like, for Bryan and us, Bryan and I, the exciting is to be in this world and be able to expand it. As much as we love the old characters -- we love Aang, we love Katara, they're awesome -- creatively it's so inspiring to dive back into this world in a new location, a new time period, it's seventy years later, a lot of new themes, dealing with Korra, dealing with airbending spirituality, so it's really exciting to explore that so I think you guys will dig it.
Bryan: Yeah, when we put together the Art of Avatar book, y'know as satisfying as that was, and really nice to tell a story in a really personal way, and look at all the art we created, y'know the artist in me just couldn't help as I looked through this stuff saying "We could do this better now." Y'know, we could make all of this stuff better. So doing a whole new kind of, like, fresh take on the Avatar world gives us a chance to improve all the art direction and the animation and everything, so that's been the big challenge and that's why we brought these guys [gestures to Ki-Hyun Ryu and Joaquim Dos Santos] on as the Co-Ex [Co-Excutive Producer] and Supervising Producer and, man, Mike and I are just trying to keep up with them. They are... the first few months were just humiliating trying to design with these guys because Joaquim and Ryu were there from the ground up. Roland [Poindexter] and [Executive in Charge of Production for Nickelodeon] Megan [Casey], y'know, brought us in and said they wanted to do a new series and gave us pretty much a free run [rein?] with what we wanted to do creatively. But the most important thing was, like, "we gotta get Joaquim and Ryu or else we can't do this." So these guys sacrificed a lot to come work with us and we really appreciate it so...
Joaquim: It was totally our honor to be asked in the first place to come onto the show. And Bryan's lying when he says he's trying to keep up with us.
Joaquim: The idea, and the cool thing I think about this production that makes it really unique from other shows that I've been a part of and really a lot of the other shows that are out is that, y'know, the top leads are all artists. So the art, sort of is -- the integrity is maintained from the top all the way through the production cycle. And it's really a unique position for us to be in, and it'll show in the series when it premiers, but more importantly than that it sort of permeates the industry and hopefully makes everybody and every show in the industry better for it. And I think that's something the original series did. When I went onto it, I was a fan, and I went to you guys [Mike and Bryan] because I loved the way the show looked. So hopefully we're continuing that tradition.
Bryan: [nods] Yeah.
Joaquim: Should we...?
Bryan: Yeah, we can... [to Mike] should we jump into the art?
Mike: Yeah. Let's start going through it.
Bryan: Cool. Do the laptop thing.
[Powerpoint begins. The first slide is just a title card for the series.]
Bryan: Revamping the world was bringing a little more sophisticated style to the character design, kinda changed the proportions a bit. Joaquim and Ryu are both amazing designers so, from the get-go Mike and I were like, "They want to do a new series." And we're like "Ehhh... all right." Then we're like, oh man, we started having ideas and the first thing, and we've said it in a few interviews, we really wanted Korra to be different from Aang. So were like "Let's do something about the next Avatar, and she's just totally different from Aang -- other than being female -- just different in her personality and everything."
Bryan: So that's really refreshing for Mike and I. We'd be writing a scene and just stop and kinda pinch ourselves and say, "Aang never would have said this. Aang never would have done this." And that's fun. So the other thing that we wanted, I didn't want to design her. I didn't want to do a sketch and then sent it over to Joaquim and then have them interpret it. We just told them on the phone our idea for the character and, I think, ten minutes later he [Joaquim] sent us the first image. So I really wanted Joaquim and Ryu to really be in on the ground up. And you'll see mostly their work here. Take it away.
Joaquim: All right. And before we go on, you're going to notice that all of the set-up here is me doing a little goofy sketch and then Ryu taking that sketch and making it one of the most beautiful things you've ever seen. So that's sort of the theme for this presentation here.
Joaquim: So while we're in our meetings, Ryu tends to do a lot of caricatures, and the first one he that did when we first started this was sort of setting up this moment right here.
[A sketch of Mike and Bryan, in a sky-bison and lemur outfit respectively, come up on screen. The text is too blurry to read from the footage but the audience laughs.]
Joaquim: And yep, I think you got it pretty well.
Bryan: Ryu draws me, like, really evil.
[A new caricature sketch comes up. The four panelists, presumably, representing the four elements: Mike is Air, Bryan is Fire, Joaquim is Earth, and Ryu is Water.]
Joaquim: And that's the crew, the art crew.
Joaquim: I look like an angry Hank Hill or something.
[A new sketch: a featureless white scribbled figure on a black background. The text below says "Who's not air?" or possibly "What's not air?"]
Joaquim: And that was Ryu's first sketch as we had no ideas.
[New title card: 'KORRA', subtitled with 'Development Art']
Joaquim: So this was Korra's development. Like Bryan said, it was that conversation over the phone that sort of led to this series of sketches that we see here.
[New image: a full-bodied color sketch of Korra. She's standing with her arms akimbo. While her outfit is close to her canon apperance, her build is slightly slimmer and her hair is worn down.]
Joaquim: That was my first initial concept of Korra. Bryan said she's gotta be tough, she's from the Water Tribe. As you can see her hair's nothing like it is with, uh -- the bones of the character are there, the main themes with the character are there.
Bryan: And I think we talked about, we kinda wanted her to look like a snowboarder. Like a cool, like a cool tomboy, kinda tough atheletic, y'know--
Joaquim: Yeah, the idea was to break the conventions of what, y'know, female superheroes. She's tough, she's rugged.
[New image: Korra from the waist up, with her arms crossed over her chest. This Korra sports arm band on both arms and also has long leather-looking wrist guards that take up almost her whole forearms. Her hair is pulled back into a ponytail, save for dangling lengths that frame her face. Her eyes are heavily shadowed is black mascara.]
Joaquim: That was the second concept. Just goofing around, just playing with ideas, trying to get the shapes down and the ideas across. And the attitude as well.
[New image. Korra, now with both forearm wrist guards but only one upper-arm band, shows three sides of herself to the 'camera': three-quarters, face-on, and from the back.]
Joaquim: And I think that was the first back turn that we did. You'll see her facial style is nothing like the Avatar universe that you've come to know, and I think initially we were playing with going a little more broad in terms of style. But Ryu, being a superstar animator and director from Korea, made sure to let us know [that] not every character can be completely unique-looking. There needs to be, like, a through-line that every artist, because there's so many animators in Korea, so every artist could understand and draw the character a bit more easily. So she looks different but, again, the ideas there.
[New image. Another waist up shot of Korra. The arm band has been slightly redesigned, white outlines have been added to where her sleeveless shirt cuts off at the shoulders. Her eyes still have a dark outline around them but it's much, *much* less heavily on the mascara.]
Joaquim: That's closed up on her attitude.
Bryan: Yeah, that was the one that we, even though we hadn't necessarily pinned down the style or all like the details, we we're like "That's her", that's definitely her spirit, that's her attitude.
[New image. Four B&W sketches of that previous Korra design. Two face-on. One from the back with her left arm held out horizontally. One with her facing right, mid-step, with her right arm held out horizontally.]
Joaquim: And that was Ryu's first turn. You can see she already started taking a lot closer, y'know, a turn a lot closer to the model that you know now as Korra that's been released in the press art and stuff.
Joaquim: [To Ryu] Did you have any ideas when you were...?
Ryu: Frankly I had no idea.
Ryu: We were so much busy. So, that time, we were so much crazy.
Joaquim: It was a crazy time.
Ryu: I don't remember anything.
Joaquim: Ryu draws better than all of us in his sleep, so half his stuff he won't remember.
[New image. Four sketches of Korra. Three of them are shoulders and above shots, of which two are B&W and one is color. All three of these are slightly more classically feminine-looking takes on Korra than we've seen thus far. The fourth image is a waist up shot of Korra in an action pose.]
Joaquim: [To Bryan] I think this was you taking Ryu's design?
Bryan: I had done... underneath you can see kinda a transparent, like, concept thing. 'Cuz Korra already fire-, water-, and earthbends so... and Ryu was inspired by that drawing and did this overlay which really helped us get closer to the final model.
Mike: These were Ryu's drawings.
[New image. A full-bodied Korra, facing forward, with her left arm dangling free and her right hand placed on her hip.
Joaquim: Seven heads high. It's the basic proportion. Again, I think we ended up making her a bit thicker and a bit more brawny.
Bryan: In the old series, the heads were -- I mean, when I go back and look, the heads are so big. Lollipop heads. So, I have a small head, so I relate to these new characters.
Joaquim: But the characters are, I mean, y'know classically the characters were a lot younger.
Joaquim: They were aging out(?) [unclear audio].
Joaquim: She's [Korra's] sixteen...?
Joaquim: Seventeen. So--
Bryan: Most of our main characters are, yeah, older than our other crew [Team Avatar from the original series].
[New image. Five B&W expression sketches of Korra from the shoulders up, or featuring only her head. Korra is showcasing a verity of emotions.]
Joaquim: Some expressions. Again, Ryu just going crazy and inspiring all of us.
[New B&W image. Four full-body shots of Korra from front, back, and both sides. There are three additional head shots.]
Joaquim: That's the official turn. And this was really a culmination of all of us throwing our art in the pot and then Bryan taking it all and bringing it all together for this model. So it's got elements from my drawings, from Ryu's drawings, and Bryan's drawings.
Bryan: I just glued it together.
Joaquim: He's lying. [To Bryan] Don't lie.
Joaquim: But again, what I think that sort of lends itself to is the idea that on this production even the creative leads at the top were all throwing in artistically, which is a great help, a benefit to the entire production.
[The full-body turn of Korra shifts from B&W to full color.]
Joaquim: There she is, all colored up.
[New image. A close-up dead-on face-forward color shot of Korra from the mid-chest up. Her expression is neutral.]
Joaquim: So, she's beautiful.
[New image. Three sketches of a determined-looking kiddie!Korra, the middle one of whom is firebending a tiny puff of flame.]
(entire audience goes AWWWW!)
Bryan: This is the one we went with.
Joaquim: I love her belly button.
Joaquim: That's Ryu. This is what Ryu does all day long. He's crazy.
[New title card: 'The NEW TEAM AVATAR']
Mike: All Avatars need a team, of course.
Mike: So and, when were developing Korra and thinking about who are her friends going to be, you know we wanted to kind of encapsulate, like -- it's taking place seventy after the original series, it's in a very much more modern metropolis sort of city. The world is a little different place. Like now there's benders living together in a city with non-benders. It's kind of a much more, like -- you know, it's like New York or something like that.
Bryan: A melting pot.
Mike: Yeah. A melting pot of all different cultures and stuff. So there's still the Water Tribes and Earth Kingdom and Fire Nation, but there's this one place called the United Republic where everyone comes together. And it's a place that Aang and Zuko founded back in the day, after the war.
(crowd goes 'awwww')
Bryan: So we came up with these brothers and really early on. They're brothers and they're from a, y'know, a 'multicultural family', if you will. And so one of them's a firebender and one's an earthbender.
Mike: Answers a lot of questions we got through the years.
Bryan: So y'know, here we have the best designers, y'know, we're like 'these cool brothers', and Ryu's like "Okay. Got it."
Joaquim: And this was his first drawing.
[New image. Six head shots with various expressions and degrees of coloration, plus a full-body shot. It's a proto-Bolin. Unlike his final design, he's pudgy instead of possessing a muscular stockiness, his hair is mostly worn down aside from a small topknot, and his nose is bright red, inviting cruel jokes from all the other reindeer.]
Mike: And we were like, "Ryu, what does this mean? What is this character?"
Joaquim: This guy [proto-Bolin] goes to clown school.
Ryu: I think he looks cool.
Bryan: We were like -- he [Ryu] was like, "What's wrong? I love it." (laughs) Not that it isn't a beautiful drawing but--
Mike: Ryu can draw the craziest characters and it looks amazing, but we we're like, "It's not *exactly* the type of character we were going for when we were thinking of Bolin."
[New image. Three head shots and a full-body take on Mako. This proto-Mako is wearing a longcoat with no sleeves. His right upper arm boasts a flame tattoo. He's also wearing boots that go up to just below his knees, pants, and a tight shirt with frogs running down the center of it. Proto-Mako lacks his trademark red scarf.]
Joaquim: And this was--
(interrupted by audience, who goes "ooooohh" at proto-Mako)
Joaquim: This was Ryu's -- looks like -- to us it was fantastic but very Final Fantasy, maybe?
Mike: Maybe a little over the top? A little like a magician or something.
[New image. Two full-color body shots, one for Mako and one for Bolin. Additionally there is a head shot for each guy. Bolin is much closer to his final canon image, as is Mako, whose long coat now boasts sensible sleeves. Mako is now wearing his fingerless and his scarf, although the scarf here is purple. Bolin's outfit consists of a sea-green tunic with a yellow sash around the waist, and brown pants.]
[There is a notation at the top of the image that says "Trying to create a style that is 'real world' 1900s with an Avatar twist."]
(the crowd goes 'woooo')
Joaquim: This was my first concept that sort of brought them into the era that the story was taking place in. My style is not good but--
Joaquim: --the idea is there.
[New image. Sad Mako in snow. He's standing on a snowy street, with snow falling, bending a flame in one hand to keep him warm. His scarf is now red.]
Joaquim: So that was another--
Bryan: Yeah, it's kind of a 1920s, like, Jazz Age/Shanghai/Manhattan thing. So, Joaquim was doing these really cool, like, Dickens, y'know, like Old World concepts and stuff with the clothing. With that information I think Ryu--
Joaquim: He took it and started killing on it.
[New image. Two full-body shots of Mako. No scarves. Instead, the one on the left has an orange scarf around his waist. The one on the right has an open orange vest over his shirt. Left-Mako has tall, almost spikey hair. Right-Mako has his hair pulled pack into a wily ponytail.]
(The crowd approves. Vigorously.)
Mike: Reining it in.
[New image. Seven B&W head shots of Mako with various hair styles.]
Joaquim: It was, y'know, a little up closer. I love [the one with] the ponytail that just comes outta nowhere.
Bryan: [jokingly] It's a little scrape of hair.
[New image. Three head shots of Mako, front-on, side, and three-quarters. His hair is cut short against his skull now, probably no more than an inch or two long.]
Joaquim: So that was--
Bryan: He [Ryu] did these studies of hair. He was like, "We need to figure out Mako's hair."
[Two new images in rapid succession. Keeping the same three heads of Mako, his hair twice gets longer and taller. By the second new image, it's tall enough to shame a 1950s Greaser.]
Bryan: It kept getting crazy--
[New image. Again, same position for Mako's head, but his hair now towers over his head.]
Bryan: --and crazier.
Bryan: We were like, "Ryu, it's like the Twenties, c'mon."
Bryan: This isn't Twilight.
Joaquim: Bringing it in.
(lots more laughter)
Bryan: This is research and development.
[New image. Six B&W Mako head shots of various expressions. His hair and face is basically his final canon design.]
Bryan: So this is the one we liked.
Joaquim: That's the one we were looking for.
Bryan: And if you're wondering, we did name him after Mako [Iwamatsu], the great actor.
(crowd goes wild with approval)
Mike: I think that was [inaudible over roar].
[New B&W image. Basic turn for Mako's design: three-quarters, front on, side view, and from the back.]
Joaquim: So Mako's basic proportions. He's a beautiful man.
Bryan: Very tall.
[The basic turn for Mako fills in with color.]
Joaquim: Let's just color him in. I think one thing that was really cool -- and this was your direction, Bryan -- was that the color palette for the characters living in the city reflected again that era, sort of, y'know, Industrial Revolution type era. So the color's more subdued.
Bryan: And just to be clear, I was always the Art Director on the first series, but this time around Ryu, Joaquim, and I shared that responsibility, so just a lot of dividing and conquering. I tended to do, and [am] still doing, more of the color, and these guys tended to do more of the design. But we all, y'know, kinda pitch in on everything and it's very collaborative.
Joaquim: That's good.
[New image. Two head shots of Bolin, side and front-on, plus a shot of Bolin's upper body where he's catching his fist is his opposite palm. The bottommost head shot's expression is one of wide-eyed realization, garnering 'awwws' from the audience.]
Joaquim: So this is brother Bolin.
Bryan: Ryu is like, "I get it now."
Mike: So where as Mako's kind of the brooding, little bit Zuko-ish maybe -- not quiet as -- he's less brooding. He's a little lighter. Bolin is his younger, goofier brother. And he's naive.
Bryan: He's kind of -- you know, if you've heard the commentary and stuff, our original concept for Toph was a male character who was kind of a big -- not the sharpest tool in the shed, y'know right? And [Avatar: The Last Airbender's Head Writer and Co-Executive Producer] Aaron Ehasz had the awesome idea to make Toph a little -- a smaller girl, which was great, all became a wonderful character. [Note: That last clause is somewhat unclear. Bryan is talking quickly and the crowd is shouting over him. 'All became a wonderful character' is my best estimate.]
Bryan: That said, we still had a lot of ideas for this guy, so he found a place in this series.
Joaquim: How did you come up with his hair?
Bryan: His hair reminds me of a duck.
Ryu: I told you -- I can't even put it up.
Bryan: I remember.
Bryan: He wanted Mako's hair to go forward and Bolin's hair to go back.
[New image. Bolin, staring off past the camera with his right hand held up and clenched personality. There's a word balloon pointing to Bolin.]
Bryan: [reading the word balloon] So he [Ryu via Bolin] says, "Guys, I get the feeling of drawing Bolin." He's starting to get the character down.
Joaquim: He's almost there.
[New image. Six B&W head shots of Bolin with a wide verity of expressions.]
Joaquim: So there's Bolin.
(audience goes 'aaaaawwwww')
Joaquim: He [Bolin] can still be suave.
Bryan: Yeah, he's cool.
Mike: He's tough.
Joaquim: He's [inaudible].
[New image. Six more expressions of Bolin, some of them very comical.]
Bryan: Ryu's expression sheets are just amazing.
Bryan: So alive.
[New image. Six more expressions, some from the chest up. In the bottom row, center, an eager Bolin is reading a book.]
(belatedly, the audience starts to laugh as they read the title of the book in Bolin's hands)
Mike: And my favorite -- from the moment I saw it -- he's [Bolin's] reading a book called "How to Be a Man" and-- [Aang, the apparent author, is on the opposite cover.]
[New image. A full turn for Bolin's final design.]
Joaquim: So there he is, in all his glory.
[The Bolin full turn transitions to color.]
Bryan: I'm so happy to work on a show with spats.
[New image. B&W of the new Team Avatar facing the camera. Korra and Bolin are roughly the same height. Mako is a head taller than both of them.]
Joaquim: There they all are together.
(crowd roars with approval)
[New image. Color drawing, such as there is color needed, of Naga, Korra's spirit animal and pet polar bear-dog.]
Bryan: So I cannot keep up with Joaquim and Ryu on the character design, but I can kinda draw animals.
Joaquim: He can definitely draw animals.
Bryan: So if you've read the Art of Avatar book, you know one of the three original characters in the first concept was this bipedal polar bear-dog character and, again, kind of like Bolin, we found a place for that character in this series. So as you saw in the trailer, this is Naga, Korra's, y'know, best friend and it's a girl in case you're wondering. So it's also inspired by dogs that we each have. So...
Mike: Yeah. The face, in some poses, especially Bryan and Ryo's, it looks exactly like our dogs.
[New image. A standing shot of Naga with her saddle.]
Joaquim: It's like polar in the front, lab in the back, golden retriever in the back.
Bryan: It's got the dog ears.
[New image. Naga standing on her hind-legs, facing the camera.]
(audience goes 'aaawwwww')
Bryan: Naga's awesome. She kicks a lot of butt.
[New image. Eight head shots of Naga, from various angles.]
Joaquim: That one especially looks like our dogs.
Bryan: Yeah. That looks like our dogs.
[New image. More facial expressions of Naga.]
(audience goes 'aaawwwww')
[New image. Our first shot of Pabu.]
Bryan: So another character that we've been kicking around for some stuff finally found a home in this series, and this is Pabu. He's a red panda and black-footed ferret.
Bryan: This is just an early, early concept for the initial pitch.
[Two new images in rapid succession. Various facial expressions and poses for Pabu.]
Bryan: And some more development. He's Bolin's little buddy. And he's called a Fire Ferret, which one of the names for a Red Panda is a Fire Fox, so kind of a play on that.
[New image. B&W shot of a sky-bison, one drawing facing forward and the other showing it's back -- er, tail.]
Bryan: Then -- so on the trailer, there's a slightly different species of flying bison. Y'know, just some subtle differences in the horn and the [arrow] pattern. The idea is that Aang found like, y'know, a herd of these things on some island after the war. So...
[New image. Color shot of the new species of sky-bison. Unlike Appa, its dark 'arrow' fur and underbelly is reddish-brown. There are also other, smaller differences in the details.]
Bryan: And the colors are a little different too. But it was just kind of a chance for me to upgrade, y'know, some things, kinda update the model and stuff.
Joaquim: Anatomically, it's much more sort of--
Bryan: Yeeaaaah. To look at the old models, I mean I just cringe.
Joaquim: I would hear him in his office, as he was flipping through the old artwork and go "WHHYYYYY?"
Bryan: Which I hope means I'm getting a little better. So, hopefully...
[New image. Six color shots of a flying lemur in a verity of poses.]
Bryan: This is the new species of flying lemurs, which I always wanted to do the ring-tailed lemur and -- they have this funny patch in their fur that always looked like a toupee to me that when I was designing Momo I thought was kinda goofy but this time I was like "I love it!" So we don't honestly see too much of these guys in this first twelve [episodes] but I think they're going to have a bigger part in the second half [Season 2], so...
[New image. Tight in shot of the new lemur's face. It does indeed have a soot-colored patch of hair on its head that looks like a toupee. Unlike Momo, it's face is largely color white like the rest of its fur, save for small circles of brownish fur around its eyes and mouth/nose. Also unlike Momo, it's eyes are bright orange, not pale green. The coloration inside its ears and around its neck is also different from Momo. It's very much a different species of lemur.]
Bryan: [inaudible] it's a freaky little toupee.
[New title card: AANG & KATARA'S DESCENDANTS]
(The room explodes with cheers.)
Mike: So Kataang won.
Mike: Yeah, so if there's any confusion: Korra is Aang's reincarnation, which is different than being their daughter.
Mike: She's not related to them in that way. But Aang and Katara did have three kids.
[New image. Several concept head shots of Tenzin. A few of them have him wearing glasses, or boasting a different sort of beard/goatee. Some beards are pure white, one is black. Two head shots show Tenzin as a boy with an airbending arrow and thick eyebrows.]
Mike: The youngest of which was an airbender named Tenzin.
Bryan: And once again Ryu's just like, "Here you go." [laughter]
Joaquim: Crazy concepts.
Mike: And we knew, y'know, as Bryan said, that Korra has learned Water, Earth, and Fire, but she has yet to do airbending at all. So in this series one of her missions is to train with Tenzin and study airbending with him in Republic City. We created a little kind of sanctuary off in the bay of Republic City which is called Air Temple Island and that's where Tenzin and his family live. [To someone] You said there was a shot of that in the trailer. Second shot, I think.
[New image. Color. It's a picture of Tenzin and his family. He and his wife, Pema, are standing behind their two little girls. The girl on the far right, Jinora, is reminiscent of a short-haired Ty Lee. Tenzin is airbending a squirrelly-looking Meelo with one hand.]
(crowd goes 'aaawwwwww!')
Bryan: That's one of Ryu's early concepts. Crazy colors, always.
Joaquim: Yeah, if you let Ryu color it, it's going to be some crazy trip.
Bryan: No offense, Ryu.
Joaquim: No, we love it.
[New image. Full body color shot of Tenzin in brown-and-saffron airbender garb. He's bending a small sphere of air in one hand.]
Mike: And I think Ryu's favorite character is Meelo, who is [the] little boy.
Bryan: There was a lot of speculation when we did the signing last year. Ryu was drawing Meelo on the posters and everyone was like "Who is this Meelo?"
[New image. Another full-body color shot of Tenzin, this time in crimson-and-saffron airbender garb.]
Bryan: So I was trying to rein in the colors.
Joaquim: But this was really -- this ended up becoming the template for Tenzin as you'll see moving forward. It was -- [To Ryu?] I remember when you did this sketch, this was sort of -- we just kinda, it just kinda clicked at this point.
Bryan: These guys [Studio Mir?] draw all digitally. Since the last series ended and they went to work on other projects and they came back, *all* on the Cintiq. So, I was trying -- that was the other thing, just trying to draw like them anyways was hard, but then trying to do it digitally, so...
[New image. Seven B&W head shots of Tenzin from various angles. In the bottom-right drawing, Meelo is gnawing on his father's bald head, causing the meditating Tenzin to grow scarlet with rising anger.]
Bryan: I was trying to [inaudible over audience's laughter].
Bryan: There's Meelo. And the inspiration for Meelo is my good friend and former professor Christopher Moss, former university professor. He has this crazy little son who, when Mike and I visited him in Amsterdam, was just crawling all over him and like "Arrgggh!" But man, we gotta make that kid a character, so...
Mike: So Tenzin is like -- he's a very serious kind of guy but when his kids get all crazy on him he can be very funny. He's always trying to be the Zen master but he isn't so good at it sometimes, especially when he loses his patience with the kids and there's that so... he's been a very fun character to work on.
[New color image. Front and back full-body shots of Tenzin in his crimson-and-saffron outfit, with enlarged details off to the side noting his collar, hands, wrists, and other minor details, including some sort of official badge.]
Bryan: So this one was kind of a collaboration between Ryu and myself, which was fun. It's really neat, different characters with different pairings. Sometimes one of us will just get it right off the bat. Mostly Ryu, but we kind of did this one together.
[New image. This one is three full-body shots of Pema, in a non-airbender dress of some sort, holding a hand to her swelling belly.]
Joaquim: And this is Pema, Tenzin's wife, and she's currently pregnant. And she's sort of given birth to three airbenders so far and they're all driving her a little crazy.
Mike: She herself is not a bender, so...
[New image. Tenzin and Pema's three kids in an action pose, with Meelo in the center and his sisters flanking him on either side. They're all dressed in the type of Air Nomad clothes Aang wore in the original series. Interestingly, unlike the rare other female airbenders we saw in the original series, both the girls here have full heads of hair instead of those half-bald 'dos.]
(crowd goes 'aaawwwwww!')
Joaquim: And so here's Meelo.
Bryan: Ryu's just -- right off the bat, he got these kids right away.
Joaquim: [To Ryu] Any ideas?
Ryu: No idea.
Ryu: Sorry, Mike.
[New image. B&W. A full turn for a little girl with her hair pulled up in a single bun.]
Mike: It's Jinora. She's kinda the bookworm of the group. She's the oldest.
[The image shifts to color. Jinora has brown hair. She's dressed in something that looks identical to the outfit Aang was wearing at the start of the original series.]
Joaquim: There's her colored.
Mike: So they're in training--
Joaquim: They're all in training.
[New image. B&W. Another full turn, this time for a little girl with her hair in two buns, covered in saffron fabric that matches her leggings, reminiscent of the young Mai we saw in the "Zuko Alone" flashbacks.]
Mike: That's Ikki. She talks a mile a minute and is super funny and crazy.
[Ikki's picture shifts to color.]
[New image. B&W. Six head shots, three for each sister, showing off different expressions. While Ikki's are very emotive, Jinora's are either neutral or melancholy.]
Joaquim: Ryu's beautiful expressions again. And just sort of figuring out the volumes of the head. One thing that always amazes me that Ryu does is become a term we all the time in our production, it's called "far eye." And it's something that I have huge trouble with but it's when you can *just* see the eyelash when the head's turned three-quarters enough away from the view of the camera, and you can see on Ikki down there -- you can just see her eyelash and it amazes me that he knows to draw an eyelash there because I would never do it.
[New image. B&W. Full turn for Meelo. Unlike his sisters, he's bald.]
Joaquim: It's Meelo.
[Image turns to color.]
[New image. B&W. Six head shots showcasing various expressions for Meelo. He's FAR more emotive than either of his sisters.]
[New image. Six more head shots of Meelo, including one with him smiling rather monomaniacally.]
Mike: (overlapping above image change) Ryu kept going--
Mike: We kept wanting him to be a really cute kid and Ryu's like, "No. He's ugly."
Joaquim: Strangely though, the more ugly he was the cuter he became.
[New image. B&W. Line-up of Team Avatar, the kid trio, and Tenzin. Tenzin manages to stand slightly taller than Mako. Jinora, the tallest kid, only comes up to Korra's and Bolin's mid-chest.]
Mike: There's our main crew right there.
[New image. A sketch of some bearded man with a baseball cap reading 'UFC'. A word bubble attached to him says "Awesome man~".]
Joaquim: That's me, in Ryu's eyes, as a silver-back gorilla.
Joaquim: Usually I'm not clean-shaven.
[New image. This one a caricature of Mike and Bryan.]
Joaquim: And this is whenever we're behind on deadline. Mike's pulling a gun and Bryan's plotting our demise.
Mike: See how evil he draws me?
[New title card: THE EQUALISTS.]
Bryan: This is the revolution that you might have read about.
[New image. Color. A masked man in a cloak on a streaked orange-and-yellow background.]
Bryan: This is an early concept I did of the revolutionary leader, this creepy guy Amon. He's masked.
[New image. A full turn for Amon.]
Bryan: So Joaquim and I paired up on this one, and he sort of did the whole costume and body and I worked on the mask with him.
[New image. Color. Full body shot of Amon. There is a character written in stark white on his armor's chest plate, and his mask now sports a large red circle where the third eye would be.]
Bryan: This was another...
Joaquim: This was Bryan taking what I had done previously and really refining it and making it über-creepy and dark and super-sinister.
Bryan: Trying to bring it a little more into the slightly steampunk, 1920s vibe, like--
Bryan: Motorcycle gear, y'know...
[New image. A full turn for Amon and his fancy mask.]
Bryan: And this was the final model sheet that Joaquim and I did together.
[The image fills with color.]
Bryan: It's colored.
Joaquim: There he is.
Bryan: Very creepy.
[New image. Color. An armored warrior with a sword strapped to his back and wearing a conical hat.]
Joaquim: This was a really bad drawing of what was initially supposed to be the concept for his henchmen, the chi-blockers.
Mike: So you know like... like, uh...
Many in crowd: Ty Lee!
Mike: Ty Lee.
Bryan: Ty Lee.
Joaquim: Ty Lee.
Mike: So that disciple of blocking a person's chi paths to make them stop bending has kinda spread.
Bryan: Well, I mean, we had this idea that it's [the discipline of chi blocking] pretty ancient and it's kinda like this ancient order that's always kinda been cloaked in secrets, so...
Mike: And now there's this group of antibenders who are using it to combat the benders of Republic City.
[New image. Several full-body sketches of a masked antibender.]
Joaquim: So this was Ryu sort of refining more of a ninja take on it. Just kicking around ideas so they're all really loose and gestural.
[New image. Several more full-body sketches of a masked antibender.]
Joaquim: Getting a little closer, playing with some crazy shapes for masks. Really cool looking but I think we were going for something a little more simple, a little more easy to animate.
[New image. Three color takes on the antibenders in full uniform.]
Joaquim: This was pretty early on, too.
Bryan: Yeah, these were all really early on.
[New image. B&W. Two full body shots of an antibender, this one close to the final design.]
Bryan: There's so much, like, steampunk masked type stuff, especially in video game VizDev [Visual Development], as people like-- [inaudible, maybe "this stuff"?]
Joaquim: [Overlapping] That's right.
Bryan: Yeah, we tried to do a slightly more steampunk twist on it.
Joaquim: Yeah. The googles.
Bryan: Yeah. Joaquim had this cool take on this, y'know, bringing the mouthpiece -- instead of down here like you see in most videogames -- like more of kind like a topknot, like you might see in, like, Ancient Chinese type costumes and stuff.
[New image. Color. A full turn for various masked Equalists.]
Joaquim: So these are the chi-blockers.
Bryan: Yeah, this was just a big collaboration.
Bryan: Mostly Ryu and Joaquim.
[New title card: METALBENDER COPS.]
Mike: Soooo... Toph, as you know, was a metalbender first, and she kinda like travelled the world, started teaching people -- earthbenders -- how to harness this ability. And it's still kind of a rare thing. Not every earthbender does metalbending, but we have these kind of -- it's the elite, kind of SWAT team of Republic City. And--
[New image. Color. Two full body shots of proto-metalbender cops. In this take, they're wearing something that's a fusion between samurai armor and modern police riot gear, only all in steel. They're equipped with police batons. There's also a small drawing of a proto-cop standing behind a large steel riot shield.]
Joaquim: This was early, very early, and very different from what it became, but again just getting those ideas out.
[New image. Color. A single metalbender cop in a different version of their uniform. This was consists of darker steel with a bit more leather around the legs. The helmets from the proto-cop's design have been replaced with a metal police cap. Overall this design leans more heavily on the 'samurai' aspect than the 'modern riot police' aspect.]
Bryan: Yeah, I was looking at a lot of police uniforms from New York and stuff like in the Twenties and the early part of the 20th Century--
[New image. Color. The back of a uniformed metalbender. This one has six spools of metal wire attached to his back, with long cords that are unfurled from his wrists.]
Bryan: --and try to get that silhouette, but mix it with like a samurai armor. And yeah.
Joaquim: A really cool concept that Bryan had come up with is that they have these spools on their back that can, y'know, release and retract these metal cables. So they can use them to tie up the criminals that they're going after.
Bryan: Kinda zip around.
Joaquim: Zip around the whole city with 'em.
Someone in crowd: Like the Dai Li.
Joaquim: Like the Dai Li.
Bryan: It is, yeah. Kinda a Dai Li-ish thing.
[New image. Color. Three full body drawings of an older woman in a police uniform. There's an odd gold badge affixed to her chest, over her heart. Her hair is steel-colored, black turning grey. A different, smaller version of the wire spools is attached to her back. Her left cheek boasts two long scars running vertically at the jawline.]
Mike: So this is Toph's daughter. Chief Bei Fong.
Mike: She is the Chief of Police of Republic City and in charge of all those metalbenders.
Someone in crowd: Who's the daddy?
Bryan: [Referring to the Chief] A tough cookie.
Many in crowd: Who's the daddy? Who's the father?
Bryan: I don't know what you're yelling but we gotta keep moving.
(laughter and groans)
[New title cards: CONCEPT ILLUSTRATIONS]
Bryan: All right, so very early on the network was just like "Yeah, do whatever you want!" and we're like, "All right," and they were like, "What are you guys doing?" So we had to do some concepts to show what we were doing.
[New image. Color. Team Avatar, in their arena gear, in an action pose, bending their native elements.]
Bryan: So there's this whole thing that we were really excited about, especially Joaquim and I being huge Mixed Martial Arts fans. We're really excited about this concept of pro-bending. And it's, ah...
[New image. Color. Korra, riding Naga, chasing after a bunch of firebending gangsters driving a Twenties-looking convertible.]
Bryan: So you saw little clips of it in the trailer. It's like teams of three benders, y'know one of each discipline, and you'll see some more stuff.
Joaquim: But these were all early concept illustrations to get everybody excited about it internally at Nickelodeon.
[New image. Color. It's Amon in his canon outfit, backed up by several masked Equalists.]
Bryan: So it's Korra taking on some gangsters.
Bryan: Nah. It's fine.
Bryan: Amon. I kind of refined that earlier concept a little bit, y'know, halfway through the design stage.
[New image. Loose sketch of Mako in the foreground, kicking, with several people in the background doing various exercises in some sort of gym.]
Joaquim: That was a rough for them training their pro-bending techniques.
[New image. A revised, final version of the previous sketch.]
Joaquim: And that was the colored up version. You can see Bolin getting yelled at by his instructor. [Inaudible]
Bryan: There's a little tiny Pabu right there on the top.
Joaquim: Yeah, right on top.
[New image. Rough sketch of Korra using waterbending to fight a bunch of people at the edge of a rooftop.]
Bryan: And I had done this concept in the middle of the night. Ryu was like "I loved it" so he completely destroyed my drawing and made it way better. And so I cleaned that up. This is--
[New image. A finished, detailed, colored version of the previous sketch. In the background there is now a nighttime cityscape of Republic City.]
Bryan: --Korra versus some metalbender cops.
[New image. Korra whaling on some Equalists in a narrow street. Two Equalists have just pulled up, driving a chopper. Another Equalist is riding a giant kite towards Korra.]
Bryan: And then Ryu did this awesome Korra VS Chi-Blockers in an alley.
[New image. Roughed audience cheering down at arena stage. The arena itself is computer generated, rough and blocky.]
Joaquim: This is the pro-bending arena. Again, just the rough.
[New image. Final version of the previous sketch.]
Joaquim: Then all colored up. The entire, y'know, Republic City comes to watch the elements battle each other.
[New image. Rough colored sketch of Korra, Bolin, and Mako in their pro-bending gear. Bolin is facing the camera.]
Bryan: Then, yeah, Ryu did this cool design of Team Avatar as this, uh, this concept of them as this pro-bending team.
Joaquim: And it's cool, you can see the progression of the character designs through -- this was during the early development stages.
[New image. Rough sketch of a pro-bender sending a water strike at an opponent.]
[New image. The previous sketch shifts to a fully detailed and colored version.]
Bryan: Joaquim did this awesome one of what gameplay might be like. I had to actually sit down and write all the rules. It was pretty crazy.
Joaquim: He made a little virtual -- sort of map of the ring, and he was moving these little virtual characters around. It was like a little video game.
Bryan: It was like an hour-long thing of me explaining to the animators how it worked.
[New image. It's the first image we ever saw of Korra, her facing away from the camera as she looks out over an early concept of Republic City.]
Bryan: This was our poster that we did last year and Fred Stewart, one of our two amazing background painters, Emily Tetri being the other one. We just found these young artists right out of school and we decided -- we picked someone who had a really cool concept style and we said "Your style is the style of the show." So we just ran with it. And Fred did that.
[New image. Color. It's the second officially released image of Korra that the public saw, her facing the camera with a determined look, a nighttime Republic City skyline backing her.]
Bryan: I took a drawing of Joaquim's from the storyboard and cleaned it up for the Wall Street Journal piece. That was the rough.
Joaquim: This was the rough.
[New image. Another version of the previous image, with minor differences in the shadow and coloring.]
Bryan: And this was the clean up.
Joaquim: Cleaned up to that.
[New image. Monochrome blue drawing of Korra.]
Bryan: Oh man, if you guys got the t-shirt-- [with this image]
(crowd goes 'wooooo')
Joaquim: This was the last minute sort of audible call to get that one done. That was fun.
[New image. Color. Tall vertical drawing of Korra, in her heavy duty Water Tribe clothes, riding Naga in a snowy field. Both are facing the camera.]
Bryan: Joaquim did that one [the t-shirt image] for you guys.
Several in crowd: Thank you!
Bryan: And then we are really excited to introduce if you were one of the fifty people lucky enough to get this limited edition [inaudible, likely 'poster'].
(several in crowd go 'wooooo')
Bryan: We thought a really cool way to introduce someone who's coming on for the second season, Josh Middleton. If you know comics, you know Josh Middleton.
Frat guy in crowd: (yelling over Bryan) Middle~ton!
Bryan: (agreeing) Middleton.
Bryan: He's right here.
Joaquim: Stand up, buddy.
(Josh Middleton, who is sitting amongst the crowd, stands for a moment and waves.)
Bryan: Somehow, y'know, I thought, wow, with the three of us, y'know, 'cuz, man, carrying the whole Art Direction burden by myself for the first series [Avatar: The Last Airbender] was just really taxing, so I thought if I share it with these guys [Joaquim Dos Santos and Ki-Hyun Ryu] it'll be fine. The problem is we raised the bar really high so we're still dying. So we thought we need someone, we need someone to come in for the second season so -- I've been a fan of Josh's work for years and luckily enough Joaquim knew him and he's coming to work with us. So I cannot wait to turn it over to him. So he did this piece for you guys and [it's] really beautiful.
Joaquim: Just speaks for itself.
Bryan: And another -- okay, cool. Another awesome person that's coming on for the second season who's an Avatar alum is [film animation director and storyboard artist] Lauren Montgomery.
Bryan: You know her work. She's amazing.
Mike: Right there.
Bryan: Right there!
Joaquim: There she is.
(Josh Middleton is sitting amongst the crowd.)
Bryan: We are really lucky that everybody we worked with is so awesome. We're so excited to add them to the team--
Bryan: --and as cool as this first twelve [episodes] is going to be, man, the next fourteen will blow those away.
Joaquim: It'll be awesome. And let me just -- I mean, I got to officially say that we officially have the most kick-butt animation crew, top to bottom.
[New image. A rough draft of the poster that gave us our first shot of Bolin, Mako, Amon, and the Equalists. While the positioning of Team Avatar is similar to the final version, a notable difference is that both Tenzin and Chief Bei Fong are featured as well, looming over the teens, staring off to the right (Tenzin) and the left (the Chief).]
Bryan: And then for the poster that we signed. Ryu did this concept and... sorry I couldn't fit Tenzin and Bei Fong on there in the clean-up. But he [Ryu or Joaquim?] cleaned it up and I colored it.
[New image. The final, published version of the Legend of Korra poster.]
Bryan: So that was the poster for you guys.
[Return of the series' title card.]
Bryan: So there are a few more minutes left and we are going to show you an awesome clip that [Production Coordinator] Bill Rinaldi edited. He's our new marital arts videographer and coordinator. Working with Kisu again, Sifu Kisu--
Bryan: Great master of all things traditional Chinese martial arts, so all the awesome classic styles that we love to see in Avatar. And in every regard, as we've been trying to expand the world and the artwork and the new story and the new concept, we wanted to bring in some mixed-martial arts elements. So luckily enough Joaquim and I are friends with Mac Danzig, an awesome professional fighter for the UFC, who came in and did some reference with us and one of his training partners was Jeremy Umphries. And some other people on the crew knew these amazing -- if you've ever heard of tricking, it's this crazy, it's like stunts, kinda parkour and stunts, really flashy... kinda mixed with martial arts. So these guys... don't try this at home. They've blown out their knees doing this stuff, so. You're gonna see kind of the cool -- where we're taking this style and... with this new video. So here we go.
[Video plays: THE LEGEND OF KORRA - MARTIAL ARTS REFERENCE]
[There's no dialogue, just demonstrations.]
Mike: They [the Track Team] are currently starting on the first episode. I'm gonna turn it over to them to kinda describe the new sound and then what they're working on right now.
Ben Wynn: First off I just want to say 'wow'. I'm incredibly humbled to be on the stage with all you guys. I don't feel like I deserve it, so thank you.
Jeremy Zuckerman: [Inaudible] we're just starting so it's really early so don't hold anything against us that we say. We'll let you in on some basic concepts. Bryan come to us with this really cool idea of -- of course in true Bryan Konietzko fashion it's really really difficult. He said, "What would it sound like if in the Twenties the Chinese were inventing jazz." Something to that effect, I mean that was-- so yeah, so what we're going to have to do is invent a style that's basically if the Chinese were inventing jazz, New Orleans jazz in China in the Twenties. That's the first part of the musical recipe and then the next part is the more traditional elements. We're going to explore those a little more deeply in this series which is really exciting. We found an incredible musician, this Chinese musician who plays, like, thirty Chinese instruments beautifully. Wind instruments, percussion, string instruments, all this stuff -- so we're getting pretty into that stuff as well. And then there's going to be a Western element, a string quartet, probably not as grandiose orchestral as the first one but that's what we said the first time around so who knows if we'll be able to stick that out. But that's the idea.
Bryan: Just save for, y'know, special moments--
Jeremy: Right. It's be special moments, so it'll be a little more dynamic. That said, yeah, so far things are starting to sound pretty cool. We're just really excited to sort of approach it from a little more of a mature angle. Not like the music was, I don't, y'know, I don't think it was children's music necessarily, stylistically, I'm saying there's nothing's wrong with that. Y'know, the music was definitely, y'know, it's own thing in The Last Airbender. And so we're going to have respect for that early stuff and we're going to treat it as its musical history. Y'know, it's sort of source material that we're going to explore as well. So we have a lot of elements to work with. We're definitely, y'know, if we're going to be out of ideas to sell it'll be our fault.
Bryan: Plus, y'know, it's been a few years since we were out in 2008 and Ben and Jeremy have been working on a bunch of stuff and they're were amazing then but their skills have just grown and I can't wait to hear what, y'know, the sound design, y'know, is going to be incredible. Even their company is growing. They used to do everything themselves and they're in such demand in music in Kung-Fu Panda and the TV series on Nickelodeon. And, yeah, so any thoughts on the sound design?
Ben: Well, I was just going to say seeing these visuals and the stories, it's definitely -- it's been stepped up even from Avatar. It's more sophisticated. It's a little bit more adult. There's more details. So we're going to have to step it up as well.
Bryan: [To audience] Hey guys. We really need your continued help trying to get that soundtrack released.
Bryan: We need you to tell Nickelodeon, you'd buy the dang thing if we put it out.
Bryan: So we realize that we all obviously want it to be released, and have, and we've been fighting for it for years but sometimes it's hard to get the big company to do what you want. So--
Mike: We're going to keep fighting for it.
Bryan: We'll keep fighting for it.
Mike: It'll happen.
Mike: Well, thank you guys so much for coming out and Bryan and I also just want to thank these guys, thank all the crew at Nickelodeon. They've been awesome. All the crew at Studio Mir overseas working crazy crazy, trying to animate this thing that we've given them.
Bryan: And everybody in Burbank that we work with--
Mike: Amazing team.
Bryan: Roland, Megan, Brandon, Brown, Johnson, everybody's been incredible.
Mike: Amazing support and creative freedom we have there, and so we really treasure that and are thankful for it.
Bryan: And we honestly don't know -- we don't have an premier date yet--
(crowd goes 'awwwww')
Bryan: We don't know when -- it *is* going to happen.
Mike: We just don't know when.
Bryan: We've heard a lot of crazy conspiracy theories. There's no conspiracy. There's just a lot of stuff that needs to premier and a lot of shows, kinda -- it's like being on a tarmac. Yknow, the captain's like, "The planes okay. There's nothing wrong with it. We just gotta wait in line", so. We appreciate your continued patience and trust us that it'll all be worth it.
Roland: And before we show the trailer again, I just want to say to each and every one of you... these guys have two goals set for Legend of Korra. One is to -- which is actually an achievement in and of itself -- is to do something even better than Avatar: The Last Airbender. And the second goal, and this is equally as important, was to make sure that they didn't do anything in a single frame of this new show that would disappoint anyone in this room. Because you guys are the most important--
Roland: And I can tell you, I'm not just a network executive, I'm a fan. Believe me when you see what these guys have come up with--
Roland: I've made myself [inaudible] I'm just--
Bryan: And so we'll see you next year, I'm sure. And can you please roll the trailer.
Roland: Let's hear it for Team Avatar--[inaudible]
Roland: --[audible] Ben Wynn and Jeremy Zuckerman.
[Trailer plays for a second time.]
Roland: For more information about Legend of Korra, please check out nick.com. Thank you very much. Have a great, safe con and we'll see you next year.
Transcriber's note: Again, HUGE thanks to TheYumchunks for recording this panel.
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