“I also sought wisdom from Stoic philosophers who were big on differentiating between what is within our control and what isn’t,” he wrote. “I realized I couldn’t control the creative direction of the series, but I could control how I responded. So, I chose to leave the project. It was the hardest professional decision I’ve ever had to make, and certainly not one that I took lightly, but it was necessary for my happiness and creative integrity.”
Still, he added that the Netflix show “has the potential to be good.” It just won’t be what he had in mind. But fear not Avatar fans, DiMartino says he’s not leaving the series’ universe, and he’s inspired by the recent fan response to the show and its follow-up series, The Legend of Korra. (And if you’re interested, I podcasted about all of Korra while it was airing.)
DiMartino and Konietzko’s departure might be a signal to other creators as well. Netflix may seem like a welcoming creative home away from traditional networks, but you can’t always trust it. If the creators of one of the world’s most popular shows couldn’t compromise with Netflix, what chance does a less powerful artist have?