Jeremy Zuckerman, the composer of all the music in Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, is officially joining Avatar Studios!
First, the big news. Jeremy Zuckerman announced the following on his Twitter:
“I’m beyond excited to further explore the Avatar universe with Mike, Bryan, and everyone else at Avatar Studios.”
This is amazing to have officially confirmed, as the musical soundscape of the two original series is legendary and world-class, and it’s a fundamental part of the identity of the world of Avatar.
Avatar Studios is developing a huge expansion of the franchise, with a “very ambitious, multi-tiered plan” for films and series exploring the history and future of the world of Aang and Korra. It’s so exciting to think about the evolution and expansion of the music through those projects, from the new frontiers we’ll explore, to the iconic, familiar themes coming back at just the right moments, to hearing the music of Avatar as big and epic as it deserves in a movie theater– that’s right, Avatar Studios’ first project is a theatrical animated film set to go into production this year.
Speaking of the past, present, and future, I sat down with Jeremy and we discussed all three! Avatar Studios’ plans are still top-secret, but he did delve into a very cool, very tantalizing hypothetical scenario for the future. Check it out:
Avatar News: “Hypothetically, if there was a new show, and, say, a hundred years pass: Korra was like the 1920s, so the new Avatar is one hundred years later in the 2020s equivalent of Avatar. How would you go about making 2020s-equivalent music— so, like, modern day— for Avatar?”
Jeremy Zuckerman: “There are so many facets to that I’d have to have answered first. Setting is a huge part of it, right? So time period is something, but there’s more than that— there’s the aesthetics, the machines, what’s the technology like? What kinds of clothes do they wear? How do they talk? What’s their transportation like? How many people are in this world? Are there other— is there, like, artificial intelligence? You know what I’m saying? There are so many questions. But if it were a techie world, then I would lean into that for sure, and have a lot of fun with it. My background is in music technology and computer music, and that gave me a really nice tool to use occasionally in Avatar, to make things that are unique like tsungi horn or chanting where it sounds like a whole big crowd of people even though it was just Ben and me. So the technology definitely gave me tools that are super unique, and still does— Amon’s theme, that sort of algorithmic, generative thing I made, and other spots in Korra too, but it’s very subtle. I always wanted the technology to be very hidden— it could never sound synthy or modern in that sense.”
This is just one short excerpt from our interview earlier this year. You can read the whole thing at avatarnews.co/jeremy– it’s one of the coolest conversations I’ve ever had in my life and if you’re an Avatar you’ve got to check it out, I’m sure you’ll love it too.
Lastly, at the same time as announcing his involvement with Avatar Studios today, Jeremy also confirmed he won’t be doing the music for Netflix’s live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender series:
“To those who are wondering, I will not be working on the Netflix live action ATLA adaptation.”