Wow, which of the news stories that we posted yesterday was the most well-read so far? With more hits than Star Trek
? Almost as much as 90210
and Family Ties
combined? Kicked Transformers
in the transisters? Well, it was Avatar: The Last Airbender
, of course (since this is where I'm writing this up), and our report of Nickelodeon and Paramount's announcement
that the Book 3, Volume 4
DVD is on the way for release this July 29th
But our story triggered a significant number of questions among our readers: fans of the show who are confused about how the final group of episodes could be committed by Nickelodeon to DVD, when new episodes haven't aired in the USA since November? More to the point, folks are wondering whether the previously-announced Book 3, Volume 3
DVD is still planned for release on May 6th.
Let's break it down (as best as I can; I'm certainly not going to be as good at this as a dedicated fansite like the excellent AvatarSpirit.net): The last episode to air in the USA was at the end of November, when the two-part story "The Day of the Black Sun" aired as a special event. Since then, the two stories which come after that have apparently aired in Canada ("The Western Air Temple" in mid-December, and "The Firebending Masters" in the first week of January). But neither have aired in the USA yet, and there has been nothing I've found on the 'net where Nick says when it plans to air those two.
Furthermore, Part 1 and Part 2 of "The Boiling Rock" has yet to air in either the USA or in Canada. But according to the back of the DVD box for Avatar: The Last Airbender - Book 3: Fire, Volume 3
(seen just below in a small wrap-around look, and seen larger at the bottom of this story), the 5 episodes on this release will include "Day of the Black Sun, Part 2: The Eclipse," "The Western Air Temple," "The Firebending Masters," "The Boiling Rock: Part 1" and "The Boiling Rock: Part 2."
However, of those 5 episodes, only 1 has aired in the USA and two others haven't aired anywhere in North America. This leads many of you to worry that Nickelodeon and distributor Paramount Home Entertainment will delay the planned May 6th release of the DVD, right? Well, at this time I can only confirm that Paramount's official schedule still shows May 6th for the Volume 3 disc; there has been no change. However, that doesn't mean it still couldn't change. If it does, we'll report it as soon as we know. As I write this, however, it's still looking like May 6th.
In order for all 4 unaired-in-the-U.S. episodes to make it onto Nick by that time, they would have to show the first one ("The Western Air Temple") this Friday evening (4/18), continue with the next one ("The Firebending Masters") for the next Friday evening (4/25), and then show all of the two-parter ("The Boiling Rock") the following week (5/2). So, it's possible. But is it likely? It sure doesn't seem like it, because Nick ought to be heavily advertising new episodes airing in three days from now, you would think. However, right now if you visit Nick's website and look up what next Friday's episode will be, the description is "undefined" (as is the one for 4/25):
They could still do it, of course, but it doesn't seem probable that they will. And, even if they do, there's another problem with that thinking!
The Internet Movie DataBase (IMDB) shows
(WARNING: Possible Spoilers) that the final six episodes of Avatar
(and hence, the ones that ought to appear on the Book 3, Volume 4
DVD in July) will be "The Southern Raiders," "Ember Isle Players" and the four-part finale, "Sozin's Comet." As you recall, Sozin was the original Fire Lord from a hundred years ago who started the war when the comet first appeared, and Aang has to defeat Sozin's grandson (current Fire Lord Ozai, voiced by Mark Hamill) before the comet returns and allows the Fire Nation to draw upon its power to finish their conquest of the world.
The IMDB doesn't give dates on the first two, but says that "Sozin's Comet" will air on May 16th. There have been reports that this date is wrong, and I agree that it could simply be inaccurate, or an old "planning" date that has changed. On the other hand, a book based on the 4-part finale
is due to begin selling on May 20th, and it would be strange to ship the book before airing those episodes!
But a May 2nd airing of both parts of "The Boiling Rock" and a May 16th airing of all four parts of "Sozin's Comet" means that "The Southern Raiders" and "Ember Isle Players" would both have to air in between, presumably back to back on May 9th. Again, this doesn't seem likely, does it?
The bottom line is that the DVD release schedule (and the release date for the book adaption of "Sozin's Comet") seem to be at odds with Nickelodeon's broadcast schedule (or rather, their lack of one) for Avatar
episodes. It seems very likely that Nick won't make it on the dates I guess at above, and that would seem to mean probably changes to the DVD schedule. What's an Airbender
fan to do? Whatever it is, I suspect you're already doing it (waiting it out, searching high and low on the internet for info, staring at your Nick screen and hoping a "next time, on Avatar
" commercial comes on that has good news, etc.).
From a DVD news guy's point of view (that would be me), all I can do is tell you when the studio (in my case, it's distributor Paramount Home Entertainment) says the DVDs are coming out. As of this moment, it's still May 6th
for Avatar: The Last Airbender - Book 3: Fire, Volume 3
and then July 29th
for Avatar: The Last Airbender - Book 3: Fire, Volume 4
. If something changes, we'll let you know!