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Trailer Analysis: ‘The Legend of Korra’ “Book Four: Balance”

Joey Sack ‘17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

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Ever since it was revealed that the fourth and final season of The Legend of Korra, entitled “Book Four: Balance,” would be premiering October 3rd (less than a week), fans have wanted more information about the upcoming adventures of Avatar Korra. Now, a trailer for Book Four has been released, and from the looks of it, this season of Korra may be its best one ever.

The trailer shows us that “Book Four: Balance” will take place three years after Book Three: Change. That’s quite a time-jump, but due to a previously released preview, it looks like the story will start shortly after the end of Book Three and then jumps to three years later. This set-up could be both a blessing and a curse; what has Team Avatar been up to for three years? Will Korra (Janet Varney) spend that whole time recuperating from her battle with the Red Lotus? How well have the airbenders maintained balance in the Earth Kingdom? How will the dynamic of this show change now that most of our main heroes are in their early 20s?

It’s clear from both the scenes shown in this trailer and the Earth Kingdom insignia behind the title card that Book Four will mostly deal with the turmoil in the Earth Kingdom and how our heroes will help to restore balance; don’t forget, in the last season, the Earth Queen was assassinated, leaving no government controlling the largest landmass in the Avatar World, so that’s something that will have to be addressed. From several shots in this trailer, it’s clear that Suyin Beifong (Anne Heche) and the Metal Clan will be doing their part to maintain balance in the Earth Kingdom.

It looks like Korra will be going into the Spirit World a few times this season, and not just meditating to get there like before, but going through the spirit portals at the North and South Poles; perhaps she’ll be going there to do some soul-searching, or maybe to find a way to reconnect with her past lives. It’s nice to see that this season is going to deal with the Spirit World more, as we only saw snippets of what the world was going through this past season whenever we saw spirits floating around. At the end of Book Two, Korra was talking about how living in harmony with the spirits was going to be tough, but we saw very little of that in Book Three. Since Korra will be going into the Spirit World at least once this season, it’s likely that we’ll be seeing more spirits and their effects on the Physical World.

Some of the highlights of this trailer include the following: the airbenders wearing wingsuits in order to fly, Korra cutting her hair Mulan-style with one cut of a blade, Lord Zuko sitting with his daughter, the Fire Lord, what looks like The Metal Clan captain Kuvira (Zelda Williams) leading an army in the Earth Kingdom, complete with updated mecha-tanks from Book One, and Korra’s moments alone, where it looks like she’s working through some of her inner demons. Of course, the pièce de resistance of this trailer comes at the very end: Korra holds a flame in her hand while she stares in disbelief at what she sees: “I can’t believe it. Toph?” In Book Three, it was revealed that Toph Beifong, Aang’s earthbending teacher from the original series, was still around, and ever since then, fans have been hoping for an appearance by their favorite blind earthbending master, and given the ending to this trailer, fans will be getting their wish one way or another.

Everyone seems to be moving on three years after Book Three; Bolin (P.J. Byrne) appears to have some sort of connection to the Metal Clan now, given his attire (maybe he’s an officer in their military or something), and he’s still taking advantage of his impressive ability to lavabend, a skill he discovered he had in the Book Three finale. Mako (David Faustino) is seen briefly wearing a dark green trench coat and sporting a shorter haircut, indicating that he may have continued working with the Republic City Police as a detective over the past few years. Asami Sato (Seychelle Gabriel) is sporting a slightly modified version of her original attire and a different hairstyle, while retaining the image of a businesswoman not to be messed with. Tenzin’s children are shown traveling on their own, showing that they’re growing up with everybody else; Jinora, master tattoos and all, has grown her hair back, Meelo actually has hair now, and Ikki seems to have let her hair grow to shoulder length. Tenzin’s three oldest are seen flying in their wingsuits with a sky bison (possibly Oogi, or Kai’s bison Lefty) behind them. From this trailer, it looks like we’ll be splitting our time between several groups, namely: the airbenders working to keep the peace, the Metal Clan trying to maintain order, and some time spent with Korra alone and other times spent with Korra and her old friends.

This trailer sees a return to some familiar locations, including Republic City, where we spent very little time in last season, the Spirit World, which we only saw twice last season, the Si Wong Desert, and, quite possibly, the Foggy Swamp, which was featured in the Avatar episode “The Swamp” and which featured the first appearance of Toph Beifong, albeit in a vision. We also see some new locations, including a volcanic area, possibly in the Fire Nation, the vast landscapes of the Earth Kingdom, and what looks like a White Lotus prison built into the side of a mountain; could this be an indication of Korra paying Zaheer a visit? It would make sense, since the building appears to be built underground, and that would be the perfect place to keep an airbender locked up.

What was odd in this trailer was that there were moments where it would cut to Korra fighting in the Avatar State, but in the same attire as when she fought against Zaheer, with her hair down and a platinum chain wrapped around her right arm and everything. There is even a moment in which Korra is standing there, then someone passes in front of her, and she’s gone. Could this be some sort of hallucination that Korra has to deal with? Or perhaps this is someone else’s hallucination.

One thing that we have to consider is this: this trailer made a point of saying that this season of Korra is “The Final Season.” That is indicative of two things: one, the creators are wrapping up Korra’s story with Book Four (which is confirmed; there’s no more episodes of Korra after this season). Two, the creators may be trying to make this the final season of the entire Avatar franchise; as in, wrapping this story up so much that they can’t go back and make more stories after this. Does this mean that a potential end to the Avatar Cycle and possibly the entire Avatar World may be on the horizon, or should we not assume the worst possible outcome? The creators of Korra, who also created Avatar, have indicated in the past that they would be taking a break from the Avatar World after Korra wrapped up, and that makes sense; there was a four-year gap between Avatar and Korra, and to be honest, it would be crazy to expect these creative minds to keep making shows in this universe forever. There are only so many different characters you can make, and only so many times you can put them in world-shattering situations. For the time being, these two shows will suffice as the bulk of this universe. It will be up to the creators, the fans, and the demands of Nickelodeon to decide whether or not this beloved franchise will return after Korra wraps up.

Book Four: Change of The Legend of Korra, the fourth and final season of the show, premieres on nick.com on October 3rd, with new episodes premiering every Friday after that. Prepare to enter the world of Avatar one more time.

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