The Legend of Korra panel that took place at NYCC mirrored the actual show in the fact that it was an emotional roller coaster. With this being the final season, creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino sat down with voice actors Janet Varney (Korra), PJ Byrne (Bolin), and David Faustino (Mako), to say goodbye to a room full of passionate and loyal fans. This goodbye was filled with laughs, some tears, and nothing but heartfelt thanks to the fans that have supported the show from the Last Airbender series up until now. So instead of what is usually a formal presentation it was a very laid back atmosphere and mood as we sat down to several surprises and comments from the panelists.
The first surprise that guests were privy to was an early screening of the second episode of Book 4 titled “Korra Alone”! This announcement provoked a huge applause and cheers from across the floor but not as loud as for what came next. The cast and creators, in yet another personal moment, decided to come and sit with on the floor with the audience to watch the episode as well. Now, there won’t be any spoilers here about the episode but all I will say is that it was just as fantastic as the others but with a little extra thrown in that puts it over the top. “Korra Alone” focuses on the time she spent healing from the events of the Season 3 finale and helps bridge the gap to episode 1. The crowd’s reaction throughout was all over the place but it was evident that everyone in the room was overjoyed at the end as they stood up and applauded.
After that emotional episode the cast wanted to give us a glimpse of how they prepare for their roles before going into the studio. It was a very humorous video showcasing some of their very over the top antics. From various voice exercises to PJ getting into character by scarfing down a bowl of noodles or David cleaning the room to “stay in good with Nickelodeon.” From here we were also treated to the casts very first reading together from Episode 2. A recording that they themselves hadn’t heard and also contains some extended dialogue from the episode. The chemistry was quite evident from that early recording and shows that they made the right choice in their voice casting.
From here the cast spoke to the audience directly as they found the words to thank the fans. Janet Varney spoke about when the show was going to premier and was asked by Nickelodeon’s Sarah Noonan if she was ready for her life to change. Not fully understanding the question at the time so she laughed it off then realized that Noonan was right. Several fans were in tears as she spoke from the heart about her adoration for the show and the work that goes into it but then she had the room on their feet when she said “I believe in this show like I believe in Avatar and I know that this show is going to exist forever because it’s just that goddamn good!” then with watery eyes and a smile she apologized to a non present Nickelodeon saying “the spirit took me.”
Faustino let fans know how appreciative he is of all of the love he has recieved over various social media outlets for his portrayal of Mako and the support for the show from the fans. He went on to say that he didn’t know what he was getting into when he went to the audition and now has gone from “Hey Bud Bundy!” to “Hey Mako!” from the younger fans. The crowd cheered and thanked him back several times over.
PJ Byrne did lighten the mood a bit which just shows how much of himself he channels into his portrayal of Bolin. He also says that he got to hang out with his friends the past five years while making this show. Another round of applause erupted when PJ let the audience know “We have the best fans of any show!”. There was praise for the fan art and the various cosplays that they’ve seen at the many cons and how inspiring it is to them. PJ also went on to also praise Bryan and Michael for their creativity.
Towards the end, Bryan and Michael went on to show some concept artwork from the series and the evolution of characters like Kuvira along with various costume updates for the characters as well. From the segmented armor that wears to the new sky suits worn by the Air Benders which had a much different look before the final design. They also let fans know that even though it’s not mentioned in the episodes that Asami is the one who designed the sky suits. But it was soon their turn to speak from the heart to the fans and thank them for support. Letting fans know that this has been a 12 year journey for them. Capping it off by telling a short story to go with a picture that was shown that had them at the computer working saying “Over two weeks we cranked out universe together.” More and more applause and cheers came as they closed out the panel and said goodbye to the fans.