As I was browsing The Last Airbender sub-Reddit this morning, I came across an interesting topic by a poster that talked about what he or she wanted from Books 3 and 4. The redditor explained that he or she wanted a villain that would sustain throughout the course of Books 3 and 4 so that the character would have time to develop. This, in turn, would make Book 4 more suspenseful because we wouldn’t be left with a definite conclusion upon Book 3’s finale.
I thought the idea of a “suspenseful” or “anticipated” Book was an interesting idea because neither suspense nor anticipation has been created as a product of one of the seasons. So far, both Books 1 and 2 have had definite conclusions that have forced most fans into guess-work when it came to predicting the following season’s plot. Book 3 will be slightly different in that it does deal with the aftermath of Book 2, but the season did not necessarily leave us off on any kind of cliff-hanger. It had a definite conclusion.
The idea of keeping the portals opened certainly seemed like a bad idea that would need addressing the following season. But keeping the portals opened also seemed like a fitting conclusion to a Spirit-dominated season. We didn’t know that its repercussions would be brought into light next season until Bryan Konietzko told us.
I found this Reddit post intriguing because it made me ask myself, “What if Book 3 ended with some sort of cliff-hanger?” I had a few ideas of my own in regards to that topic, but I decided to check out what the other redditors thought first.
My favorite post regarding this topic came from a redditor by the name of tiger66261:
“I think the show would really benefit from a good character death at the end of season 3, or at least, have the bad guys winning. It’d increase the stakes for season 4 and would be heavily reminiscent of TLA book 2, where Aang almost died and the fire nation pretty much destroyed all hope.”
How about having a good character die while also allowing the antagonists to win at the conclusion of Book 3? Fans would have a reason to tune in the following season because season 3 wouldn’t be wrapped up in a bow like past season. Let’s say, hypothetically of course, that Bolin gets “killed off” at the end of Book 3. Viewers would be in disbelief and the anticipation for Book 4 would be higher than usual because fans would want to know if Bolin was truly gone.
I’m not suggesting that Bolin actually gets killed off, but the writers could plant that idea into the minds of the viewers in order to build anticipation for Book 4.
As an example, the writers of Family Guy decided to kill off Brian in episode six of season 12. I don’t even watch Family Guy but I still tuned in after Brian’s death to find out if Stewie’s best friend was truly dead. After two episodes of higher-than-usual-ratings (anticipation!), Brian was brought back to life in the Christmas special and all the Family Guy viewers let out a sigh of relief. I let out a sigh of relief because that Al Pacino-sounding dog (Vinny) was irritating me.
Other redditors who posted on that topic had a similar thought process…
“This show has done a fantastic job at introducing and attempting to create complex antagonists, however they managed to make them into one dimensional villains at the end of both series. I think having one antagonist for Books 3 and 4 would solve this problem and provide the characters with more time to grow!”
“I want someone major to be killed off. Someone like Mako just to see how the characters handle it and how it affects them.”
Many viewers want the writers to formulate some sort of villain that arcs over from Book 3 to Book 4. Some viewers even want the writers to kill off one of the main characters. Despite the differences in opinion, both seek similar results: building anticipation for Book 4.
Legend of Korra fans want to be excited and I think the Reddit community did a fine job of highlighting a few ways the writers could build anticipation for future seasons.
What are your thoughts on this matter?