It’s been a wild weekend, hasn’t it, readers? From the debut of “The Dragon Prince” to the accolades it obtained, to its huge popularity in the A:TLA fandom and the rise of Aaron Ehasz to the fame he’s deserved for over a decade!
But hold onto your hats, because it’s going to get even wilder.
First, I would like to thank a few people. To the anon who sent in another Book 4 ask which overlaps with this answer:
I was wondering, do you think there should have been an ATLA Book 4? If so, do you think there would have been time for Zutara to unfold? I would have loved to have a book 4, but my boyfriend thinks there wouldn’t have been enough plot to drive it now that Ozai is in prison, and I guess I get his point. Do you think a book 4 would have just felt like a tack-on season?
To @durgonpranz, for giving me the links to this information.
Aaron Ehasz planned Book 4. Definitely.
I know, I know, this is all just a theory, right? Some tumblr users claiming to have worked on the show supposedly told us all the things he said he would like to explore; so what? Heck, even I labeled all Book 4 theories as “speculation” in my Greatest Hits page. Until now.
While I was away, I was linked to a twitter post.
Aaron (head writer of Avatar: the Last Airbender) droppin’ some knowledge on a reddit thread right now, neat stuff (link: https://www.reddit.com/user/ehasz/) reddit.com/user/ehasz/
Hmm, the trail of links continues! But could this poster be trusted? Well, as it turns out, this woman is a writer for “The Dragon Prince”: https://mobile.twitter.com/devongiehl
So, confirmed: this reddit user “ehasz” IS the real Ehasz, according to one of his own coworkers. There’s a whole lot of interesting stuff in that link, but I’m going to share the meat of it. From here, emphasis mine:
I was head writer of ATLA. Azula and Zuko’s relationship was not always well understood, even by the team internally. Azula loved Zuko, more than anyone save her father. She also felt competitive with him for their parents’ attention of course, but since she had alienated herself from her mother, she focused her energy on pleasing dad… which of course meant acting in more and more intense and possibly evil ways. By the end of the series, of course, her loss of her friends shatters the part of her identity that she could somehow control affection and love through intimidation. As a result she spirals… I did however intend to leave a kernel of humanity, and had we made a season 4 Azula would have completely bottomed and we would have explored the possibility of a path to redemption. True story! -Aaron
So there you have it. Not all the people who worked on A:TLA got the complexity of Azula and Zuko’s relationship; Azula loved Zuko; her alienation from her mother was her own doing; and oh yes, Azula’s redemption would have been explored had they made a season 4.
Ehasz is a writer, so he chooses his words carefully. He doesn’t say “may have explored”, but “would have explored.” This means he had been planning the fourth season, not just as a flight of fancy, but as a concrete addition to the franchise including specific ideas. And no matter how many times Bryke insist that there was always a specific number of episodes and a finite number of seasons, it’s hard to see a head writer planning ideas for a season that has no chance of moving forward.
Book 4 never saw film; it never even saw production. But it did exist, and still does, in the mind of Avatar’s most influential writer. (I suspect, with “The Dragon Prince,” we’re seeing it.)