Just finished Book 1 of The Legend of Korra. Not to give too much away, but the ending is much more… conclusive than I would have expected. If that was the end of the Legend of Korra, and the next time we checked in with the Avatar universe it was to see what the next Avatar was like, it could work.
But fortunately it’s not the end of Korra’s story, and Book 2 will continue the adventures of Korra, Tenzin, Mako, Bolin, and Asami, but as of the last episode, that story could go basically anywhere. I’m just a voice in the wilderness, but here’s what I’d like to see in Book 2 and beyond.
1. More of the World: Book 1 of Legend of Korra takes place mostly in one place, Republic City, the cosmopolitan center founded by Aang and Zuko in the heart of the Fire Nation. We see a bit of the Southern Water Tribe, and how the Air Nomads as a people are coming back on Air Temple Island, but we see nothing of the Earth Kingdom. When we last saw it, its capital, Ba Sing Se was liberated not just from the Fire Nation but from a century of Orwellian fascist rule by the Dai Li. That could have gone really well or really poorly.
Not that Korra needs to tour every location Aang went to, but part of the fun of the first series was the exploration of a huge and varied world. Has anything changed drastically? Where there amazing things Aang never saw?
2. More of the Spirit World: Entirely lacking from Book 1 was any communication with the Spirit World. That reflected both Korra’s personality, more physical than intellectual, and the industrial nature of her times. But the Spirits in the world of the Avatar are very real, and very powerful. How do they feel about being ignored by the world at large, and the Avatar in particular? I’m guessing they are not happy about that, and are just waiting to start trouble.
3. More about non-benders: Yes, Amon is a villain and is manipulating anti-bender sentiment for his own power, but the resentment he exploits is real and exists with or without him. Again, in Aang’s time, conflict between nations, and therefore between benders, bound benders and non-benders of the same nation together. With that gone, conflict between the powerful few and the powerless many is bound to happen. What is Korra going to do when those resentments are championed by a moral and upstanding person?
4. More about the return of Air benders: In the last episode, Korra becomes the first person in one hundred and seventy some odd years who learns how to air bend who is not directly descended from Aang. We’ve seen people, like Toph, learn how to bend without being related to benders. Does Korra’s bending unlock air bending for others? Could we be seeing a real return of the Air Nomads?
5. More about the Avatar as an authority figure: Avatar: The Last Airbender ends with Aang coming into his own as the Avatar. It ends with what is, on one hand, the high point of Aang’s life, bringing an end to the Hundred Years War, but on the other what is only the beginning. Through flashback, we see more of his life as the Avatar, but how does that translate to Korra’s life? What happens when, instead of being asked to fight crime, she’s asked to stop wars? What happens when those around her try to use her power as Fire Lord Sozen tried with Avatar Roku?
Bringing all of these plots together, I feel like the plot of Book 2 would be something like this (not to get too much into fan fiction, think of this more as speculation).
The Earth Kingdom has actually found the last seventy years hard. Though technically at peace with the Fire Nation, with weak government ruling from Ba Sing Se they have trouble competing economically with the already industrialized Fire Nation. Republic City actually made things worse, since any Earth Kingdom subject with intelligence or talent emigrated to the big city where they were welcomed with open arms. And where the Water Tribes have continued to exist as they always have, the Earth Kingdom fell into poverty.
But in the last few years, a new, “benevolent” dictator has taken control of the country again, and is pushing a harsh effort to rapidly industrialize in order to catch up to and surpass the Fire Nation. Think Stalin’s “Five Year Plan.” This plan is great for the non-benders, who can now compete with benders with new technology, but it’s hard on the over-worked earth benders, and it’s even harder on the environment. The Earth Kingdom is destroying its own wildlife in ways Fire Lord Ozai dreams he could. Not happy about that? Every spirit in the Earth Kingdom, who have come back to earth with a literal vengeance.
Now Korra is caught between the people of the Earth Kingdom, who demand forced industrialization, and the angry and violent spirits who demand environmental protection and justice. And if there’s a malevolent spirit (or human) stirring the pot, what’s a newly proclaimed Avatar to do?
Anyway, those are my ideas. What’re yours?