Friday, July 29, 2022

Nickelodeon Releases 'Avatar: Braving the Elements' Season Two Trailer


Fan-Favorite Podcast, Co-Produced by iHeartMedia, Set to Debut Tuesday, May 3

Share it: @Nickelodeon @NickAnimation @AvatarTheLastAirbender

Nickelodeon and iHeartMedia today released a trailer for the second season of its fan-favorite original podcast, Avatar: Braving the Elements, the official companion podcast for Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra. In season two (40 episodes), hosts Janet Varney (the voice of Korra) and Dante Basco (the voice of Prince Zuko) move on to re-watch Book 2 of Avatar: The Last Airbender, which sees the introduction of beloved characters including Azula, Toph, Ty Lee, and Mai. Co-produced by Nickelodeon and iHeartMedia, the second season of Avatar: Braving the Elements will be available on iHeartRadio and wherever else podcasts are heard starting Tuesday, May 3.

Joining Janet and Dante this season as guests are Jack De Sena (the voice of Sokka), Grey DeLisle (the voice of Azula), Cricket Leigh (the voice of Mai), and James Sie (the voice of Cabbage Merchant). Original series creators and co-chief creative officers of Avatar Studios Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko return to share how they felt when the original series was renewed for a second season. Additional guest stars will be announced in the coming months. 

Avatar: Braving the Elements extends the Avatarverse for loyal fans who grew up with the beloved franchise. In this weekly podcast, hosts Janet Varney and Dante Basco continue to re-watch every episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender and break down key themes, notable battles, and behind-the-scenes trivia. Special guests from cast members to producers to superfans drop in to explore elements of Book 2 and reveal secrets behind the making of the series.

About Avatar: The Last Airbender

Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender emerged from its three-season run (61 episodes), from February 2005 to July 2008, as one of the most beloved animated properties in history. Honored with a Peabody Award and Primetime Emmy, along with multiple Annie Awards and Genesis Awards, the series follows the adventures of the main protagonist Aang and his friends, who must save the world by defeating Fire Lord Ozai and ending the destructive war with the Fire Nation.

In addition to the series’ success, the property has spawned into several bestselling book series, which continue to roll out new original stories. The graphic novel series most recently spent two months on the New York Times Graphic Books Bestseller list in 2020, and the young adult novels have spent 22 cumulative weeks on the New York Times Young Adult Bestseller list and have shipped over a quarter million copies. The DVD and Blu-rays are also incredibly successful, with the “Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Complete Series” generating nearly $38MM in retail sales since its 2015 release.



Avatar: Braving the Elements’ Janet Varney Previews the Podcast’s Season 2

Janet Varney, co-host of the Avatar: Braving the Elements podcast, dives into the show’s upcoming second season with her iconic enthusiasm.

Nickelodeon's Avatar: Braving the Elements podcast takes a look back at the iconic series through episode recaps and interviews. Hosted by Dante Basco, the voice of Avatar: The Last Airbender's Prince Zuko, and Janet Varney, the voice of Avatar Korra in The Legend of Korra, the podcast is now gearing up for its second season covering Book 2: Earth. Varney and Basco bring a camaraderie and delightful sense of humor to the series, sharing behind-the-scenes info and digging up previously unknown facts but also debating the best hybrid animals. With tons of guests from the series and even the occasional quiz show or live episode, Avatar: Braving the Elements is the perfect podcast for the Avatar fan.

Ahead of the release of Season 2 of Avatar: Braving the Elements, Co-Host Janet Varney spoke with CBR about the fan-favorite podcast. She dove into how she got involved with the podcast and how she and co-host Dante Basco established their friendship and rapport over the years. Varney also previewed some of what fans can expect in this second season, including returning segments and brand new guests.

CBR: I'm so thrilled to talk with you today. I'm a huge fan of Korra and also a fan of Escape!, so it's just a delight to talk with you.

Janet Varney: Oh, excellent. Well, that's great because this is gonna turn into an Escape This Conversation. You're gonna have to solve several puzzles. We're not gonna have time to talk about Avatar at all. [laughs]

So you are an obvious choice to host a podcast about Avatar with your association with the series as Korra, but also your work on tons of other podcasts. Can you tell us a little bit about how you did get involved with Braving the Elements?

Yeah, I mean, I gotta be honest, it was something that has been in my wheel of dreams -- that's not a thing, but it is now -- for quite some time. It was something that I casually talked to Mike [Dante DiMartino] and Bryan [Konietzko] about years ago because they were on my other podcast, The JV Club. They knew that I was just a giant ball of enthusiasm about all things Avatar-verse.

When the pandemic happened, even before that, it was something that I was sort of trying to edge towards. It just worked out that my availability and passion for it, revisiting that with Nickelodeon at the perfect time where they were just getting into the podcast space. It was one of those serendipitous, meant-to-be, "Oh my gosh, this is so great that this is happening!" [things]. I've kind of been giddy about it ever since.

It actually is very reminiscent of when I got cast as Korra because it's the same bubbly feeling of like, "I can't wait to talk to everyone about this. I can't wait for people to see it or hear it," and feeling almost like it's too good to be true. In Hollywood, sometimes those things are too good to be true. Time and again, things that I've done with Nickelodeon have been, "Oh my gosh, this is happening!" and it continues on. It's such a light in my life. So it's such a great way for me to continue being a part of this community just on a fan level. It's like, what are my two favorite things? Avatar [and] podcasting. Great, let's put them together.

That's perfect. Can you talk a little bit about how your rapport with Dante Basco has developed over the time recording with him?

Oh, sure. Well, you know, Dante and I have known each other for years. We started meeting when we were doing Comic-Cons maybe a decade or more ago. We always just got along so well. We have such different energies, but we both have such an enthusiasm, not just for the shows but for the fans, because that's the experience that you keep running into over and over again when you do these Comic-Cons.

One of the things that we always would joke about, especially when we would do panels together, is when people would talk about the first show, Avatar: The Last Airbender, I hadn't watched it in a while, and Dante hadn't watched it in a very long time. We were so intimidated and impressed by just the depth of knowledge that people would bring to these panels. So we would joke like, "Oh no, we're learning so much about our own careers from these people who are smarter and brighter and more terrific than we are."

When it became clear that Braving the Elements was going to happen, having that conversation internally with Nickelodeon was like, what a no-brainer to ask Dante to be a part of it. He is such an ambassador for the show and is such a positive influence not just in the Avatar-verse but in Asian filmmaking and in so many other avenues. So I'm so happy that he was into it.

I wasn't super surprised, again, because of so many conversations that he and I had had, and it's been so wonderful to stay connected to him. The pandemic, for so many of us, we just weren't able to see all the people we love to see. We weren't able to do traveling. Dante and I weren't able to do Cons. So having this thing in place where I was constantly seeing him, albeit across a type of Zoom, was really lovely. When we got to see each other for the first time in person, it was very much like, "Oh, you have legs! Of course, we have legs. Why would I have forgotten that?"

You introduce so many different segments during the first season of Braving the Elements. So I'm curious are some of the fan favorites -- Animal Crossing or Share Me the Details -- coming back for the second season? Do you have new ones planned?

Yeah, they are definitely coming back. We haven't dug that deep into recaps yet. We're very much in the beginning of recording Season 2, and we have so many special episodes we wanted to get recorded with new cast members that we've been desperately waiting to have on the podcast when certain ones of them were introduced -- [fake coughs] Toph [fake sneeze], excuse me, and many, many others. We really have gotten some of those locked in, and we haven't done a ton of recaps.

That being said, not to worry -- I always have to have some animal crossing in there. I just need a reason to always talk about those hybrids and non-hybrids. We feel like we got so much... The Most Valuable Bending and Non-Bending is such an integral part of the podcast now because it is this kind of wonderful way of... It's a lens that I especially love looking back at the episode [through]. So there [is] going to be stuff like that. I don't know if there's anything brand new.

To your point, I've really just shoved a lot into that first season. There were definitely moments where it was like, "Okay, we've trimmed down on that." When you start a podcast, you don't know how long it's gonna take to record an episode. You have a sense that you're going to be able to talk about an episode forever, but what if you can't? So we wanted to have a lot of fun avenues into talking. It turns out, it's Avatar, so you don't need a lot of help. That stuff's gonna come up organically.

At the same time, I would welcome people to write me on social media and say, "Hey, I've listened to the podcast. I have a great idea for a segment. Here's the thing: I think you can you have an opportunity to really zero in on every episode or every other episode." The podcast is better because of the people who listen to it and because of the interaction that we've been able to have. So that offer is also out there.

That's wonderful. In addition to the voice actor for Toph, whom I know everyone is eager to hear from, your promo also says you have the voice actor for the Cabbage Merchant, which I think is a huge get.


Are there any actors or creators or people involved with this series that you haven't had a chance to talk to?

Oh, for sure. I think just scrolling through social media, you'll kind of see who they are, based on [that] we want the same thing that the fans want, you know? It's a matter of scheduling or a matter of... It's absolutely never a matter of we don't want them on the podcast when people ask about Mai, when people ask about having Jason Isaacs on, or they want to see Mark Hamill. Everyone should know, that is always an open door. We would love to have our heroes on the podcast.

In many cases, they're off directing movies, or they live in a different country, or they're focused really hard on the project they're working on. They're really in that space. People should definitely know, it's never for lack of inviting. It's also no, we're not mad at anybody who hasn't been able to do it yet, or who won't do it. It's just the fandom knows because they're asking for the people that we're like, "No, don't worry, we definitely want them to come on. They're always welcome."

That's excellent. Now that you're branching into a second season, are you planning any additional live shows with Braving the Elements?

Absolutely. I can't tell you exactly where or when yet, because that's something that we're very much figuring out with scheduling and trying to get all the right people in the right room at once. We loved the stuff that we've done live, and I know we absolutely want to do more of it. So now it's just a matter of how and when.

Season 2 of the Avatar: Braving the Elements podcast premieres May 3.


From The Beat:

INTERVIEW: Dante Basco travels to the Earth Kingdom for new season of AVATAR: BRAVING THE ELEMENTS podcast

"There are things during certain scenes that come back to mind but also things I don’t ever remember saying."

Earlier this year, the second season of the fan-favorite original podcast, Avatar: Braving the Elements, the official companion podcast for Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra, launched from Nickelodeon and iHeartMedia. The latest season of the series sees hosts Janet Varney (the voice of Korra) and Dante Basco (the voice of Prince Zuko) continue their examination of the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender with Book Two: Earth.

During SDCC ’22, The Beat had the chance to chat with Dante Basco about working on the podcast, teasing what’s to come, as well as the emotional passing of Uncle Iroh voice actor Mako.

Taimur Dar: I was able to interview both you and Janet Varney at NYCC last year right before you hosted the Braving the Elements podcast for the first time in front of a live audience. Now that you’ve done the podcast live a few times since then, how would you describe the experience?

Dante Basco: I love the energy of the live audience. Janet and I have been having such a great time doing the podcast at home in our studios. But when you do it front of the fans, they really get engaged. We’re fans of the show too as we’re rewatching the show. So it’s really great to connect with the bigger fanbase and dive into some of the questions we all have about the show.

Dar: It’s been more than 15 years since Book Two: Earth aired, so was there anything that surprised you or that you completely forgot during your rewatch?

Basco: So many memories come flushing back in. Like you said, it’s been so long since we did the show. There are things during certain scenes that come back to mind but also things I don’t ever remember saying. It’s a very unique experience for me as an actor to go back and rewatch a project like this and really go through with a fine-tooth comb. Me and Janet get to investigate everything about the characters and themes and be assisted by people like Michael [Dante DiMartino] and Bryan [Konietzko] or the voice actors or musicians. It’s been wild.

Dar: Toph is a character fans have been eagerly awaiting so how has it been to reconnect with the voice actress of Toph?

Basco: I love it! Jessie Flower a.k.a. Michaela Murphy is a dear friend. It’s great to have her on the show because we’ve kept in touch over the years and she’s grown up. When she did the show she was a very young girl like 12-13 years old. For her to go back and relive those days and talk about what that character has meant to her has been wonderful. Toph is the G.O.A.T.!

Dar: Who are some of the other actors whose characters are introduced in this season that will appear on the podcast?

Basco: We have a few people coming up like Phil LaMarr. Of course we have some fan favorites like Jack De Sena. Also Jennie Kwan. Special guest this season is fan-favorite Azula voiced by legendary Grey DeLisle who joins us on the podcast. There are a lot of great guests as far as voice actors. Also not only people who worked on the show but also getting the fans involved in the podcast.

Dar: Were there any guests you had on the podcast who stood out?

Basco: The music is so important so talking with the musicians like Jeremy Zuckerman has been amazing. He was brand new to doing music for television at that time so he explained how he came up with the sounds. I love getting that behind-the-scenes information. As actors we do our thing but to see other people in their respective art add to the show is so fascinating.

Dar: The relationship between Zuko and Iroh in Book Two really grows and develops in ways that pull at the heartstrings. One specific episode “Tales of Ba Sing Se”—

Basco: One of my favorite episodes of the show!

Dar: —Iroh’s segment always brings tears to my eyes.

Basco: You’re giving me all the feels! I think it’s a tearjerker for everybody. That’s one of the great moments and of course the dedication to Mako who originally played Iroh and passed during Book Two. It was an emotional time for us when we were doing the show and it’s an emotional time when you watch the episode. It’s such a beautiful part of the story. It gives everybody the feels for so many reasons.

Dar: Actor Greg Baldwin had the unenviable task of taking over the role of Iroh after Mako’s passing.

Basco: Amazing.

Dar: He knocked it out of the park. Is he someone you’re hoping to get on the podcast?

Basco: Of course. I would love to have Greg on the show. I look forward to talking to him about the character. We’re waiting for him to come onto the show when he actually gets to voice Uncle Iroh. I have so many really great tender moments and memories of him coming onto the show and being so respectful to Mako and Mako’s life and legacy even before he did Avatar. Mako was such a prolific and important actor in the Asian American community. For Greg to come in and voice match him, it was almost emotional the first time we heard him do Uncle Iroh.

Dar: This being the midpoint of the series, it’s always the point in narrative storytelling where the heroes are at their lowest. Look no further than Empire Strikes Back. I think everybody can probably relate to Book Two: Earth more than ever, especially in these last few months. Has the second season resonated with you in any way?

Basco: Like you said with Empire, it’s the middle chapter and it’s so poignant for the days and times we’re living in. I think that’s one of the reasons for the resurgence of Avatar during the pandemic and when it came on Netflix it really hit hard and impacted everybody.

Dar: Finally, I know you still have to finish Book Two but when Braving the Elements gets to Book Three: Fire, are there any episodes you’re eager to examine and watch again.

Basco: The episode “The Beach.” I can’t wait to get to “The Beach!”


Stream Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra on Paramount+ and Netflix! Try Paramount+ for FREE at

Listen to the brand new podcast, Avatar: Braving the Elements!

Originally published: April 26, 2022 at 20:29 BST.

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