‘The Legend of Korra’ Creators Confirm “Subversive” Series Finale Relationship
‘The Legend of Korra’ took a tremendous swing in the closing minutes of last week’s series finale “The Last Stand,” apparently confirming a long-shipped relationship between two of its leading characters. Debate raged every bit as much as fan elation, but now creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino have stepped up to confirm the fan-favorite relationship in a touching blog post.
You’re warned of some major spoilers for ‘The Legend of Korra’ overall, especially last week’s series finale “Day of the Colossus / The Last Stand,” like “get the frak out of here right now”-grade spoilers, but yes, friends, it is officially official. “Korrasami” is canon. Plenty remained uncertain, even as the closing moments of the series saw Avatar Korra and Asami walking hand and hand into a spirit portal, tenderly turning to face one another in the shadow of mountains that looked suspiciously like the bisexual flag, but both Bryan Konietzko and Michael DiMartino have confirmed the romantic relationship in separate blog posts.
Konietzko’s in particular went in-depth to explain that while they hadn’t necessarily thought to take the fan-shipped pairing seriously before season 3 (Asami was originally written as a Future Industries spy), Konietzko found inspiration in the words of revered animator Hayao Miyazaki, namely that male and female characters could coexist in a story without needing to end up romantically linked. Konietzko then took the idea further in pushing to advance LGBT representation, believing “just because two characters of the same sex appear in the same story, it should not preclude the possibility of a romance between them.”
To Konietzko’s surprise, Nickelodeon proved amenable to the idea:
We approached the network and while they were supportive there was a limit to how far we could go with it, as just about every article I read accurately deduced. It was originally written in the script over a year ago that Korra and Asami held hands as they walked into the spirit portal. We went back and forth on it in the storyboards, but later in the retake process I staged a revision where they turned towards each other, clasping both hands in a reverential manner, in a direct reference to Varrick and Zhu Li’s nuptial pose from a few minutes prior.
We asked Jeremy Zuckerman to make the music tender and romantic, and he fulfilled the assignment with a sublime score. I think the entire last two-minute sequence with Korra and Asami turned out beautiful, and again, it is a resolution of which I am very proud. I love how their relationship arc took its time, through kindness and caring. If it seems out of the blue to you, I think a second viewing of the last two seasons would show that perhaps you were looking at it only through a hetero lens.
While Konietzko goes on to describe more vitriolic and protesting reactions overshadowed by the positive outpouring of LGBT support, DiMartino’s shorter post similarly confirmed the romantic relationship between Korra and Asami:
Our intention with the last scene was to make it as clear as possible that yes, Korra and Asami have romantic feelings for each other. The moment where they enter the spirit portal symbolizes their evolution from being friends to being a couple. Many news outlets, bloggers, and fans picked up on this and didn’t find it ambiguous. For the most part, it seems like the point of the scene was understood and additional commentary wasn’t really needed from Bryan or me.
But in case people were still questioning what happened in the last scene, I wanted to make a clear verbal statement to complement the show’s visual one. I get that not everyone will be happy with the way that the show ended. Rarely does a series finale of any show satisfy that show’s fans, so I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the positive articles and posts I’ve seen about Korra’s finale.
We know neither creator intends to return to the ‘Avatar’ universe in the near future, while Dark Horse’s comics remain focused on the Aang gang’s untold adventures in earlier decades, but it’s a great relief to see “Korrasami” so overwhelmingly confirmed, and urged as a loving celebration of an underrepresented culture. Bryan and Mike, we can’t wait to see what you do next.
Did you think ‘The Legend of Korra’'s series finale made its bisexual relationship perfectly clear? How would you have preferred to see the Nickelodeon series end? Everything is magic, guys.