Why The Legend Of Korra’s Technology Is So Much More Advanced Than ATLA’s

Summary

  • The Legend of Korra
    is advanced technologically due to its placement in the
    ATLA
    timeline, as it’s set 70 years after Aang’s story.
  • The Fire Nation’s industry and advancements during Sozin’s war contribute significantly to the technological progress in Korra’s world.
  • Collaboration between the four nations during peacetime and the development of metalbending also drive industrial growth in Korra’s era.



The Legend of Korra returns fans to the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender, but it looks significantly different in the sequel series — and that may leave viewers wondering why the technology is so much more advanced in the spinoff. Nickelodeon’s Last Airbender sequel follows the next Avatar after Aang, and Korra’s circumstances differ from his in numerous ways. Korra resides in a far different world than the characters in The Last Airbender, and that’s not just because the Fire Nation is no longer oppressing the other kingdoms. Korra’s world is more industrialized than Aang’s, and that’s evident from almost every location she visits.


While the Air Nomads and Water Tribes maintain many of the customs introduced in The Last Airbender, their homes look and feel more modern. And the urban parts of The Last Airbender‘s world evolve even further by the time The Legend of Korra kicks off, showcasing new types of transportation and groundbreaking technology. The sequel’s setting has a much more modern feel than the original Nickelodeon show, and that’s not by accident. There are reasons The Legend of Korra is so much more advanced, and they have to do with its placement in the ATLA timeline and the aftermath of Sozin’s War.

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The Legend Of Korra Takes Place 70 Years After Avatar: The Last Airbender

The World Evolves A Lot During Those Decades


The reason the backdrop of The Legend of Korra looks so different from that of Avatar: The Last Airbender is because the sequel series takes place 70 years after the original. Aang is 12 years old when ATLA opens, and he survives until the age of 66. Although The Legend of Korra shows flashbacks to Aang’s adulthood, the television franchise mostly skips over his life after he defeats Fire Lord Ozai. It also follows Korra during her late teens and young adult years. So, even if the spinoff opens with Korra as a child, it quickly jumps ahead in the ATLA timeline. This leaves plenty of space between the series.

With so many decades passing between the original show and The Legend of Korra, it makes sense that the setting evolves into something new by the time the latter begins. That said, there’s very little technology present in the world that Aang and his friends travel around. By contrast, it feels like The Legend of Korra features far more advancements, from electricity to radios and automobiles. That’s a big jump to make, even in 70 years, so those questioning the spinoff’s technological progression are right that it happened quickly. This speed can be traced to the end of the Hundred Year War.


Technology Advanced Surprisingly Fast Between ATLA & Korra

Both The War & Peacetime Contributed To The Speedy Changes

Korra smiles in the backseat of Asami's race car with both wearing helmets in The Legend of Korra

Technology advances rapidly between Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, and there are a few plausible reasons for this. For one, the era of peace that Aang and Zuko herald in at the end of ATLA likely leads to more collaboration between the four nations. With three of these nations no longer worried about surviving attacks by the Fire Nation, they have more time for intellectual pursuits. This means they can invent new technologies and work towards conveniences rather than necessities for survival.


Additionally, the Fire Nation working with its neighbors rather than against them is a huge change — and it likely factors into the growth that takes place ahead of Legend of Korra. After all, the Fire Nation is arguably the most advanced of the four nations in the original Nickelodeon show. While Fire Lord Ozai uses this to conquer and control other kingdoms, Zuko probably shares this technology with better intentions. That would help move things along, as the stepping stones are already there. The war itself led to technological advancements, even if they weren’t as rapid as those that occur in the aftermath of the conflict.

The Fire Nation’s Industry Was Ahead Of The Other Nations During The War

Avatar: The Last Airbender Shows The Fire Nation Already Industrializing


Avatar: The Last Airbender spends a lot of time in the Fire Nation during Book Three, and it’s clear Zuko’s homeland is more industrialized than the rest of Nickelodeon’s fictional world. This is noticeable throughout the series, as the ships characters like Zuko, Iroh, and Admiral Zhao travel on are more advanced than anything seen in the other nations. Likewise, the Fire Nation uses a massive drill in its attempts to break past Ba Sing Se’s defenses in Book Two. This is unlike anything the main characters have seen before, but clearly, the Fire Nation is technologically capable enough to build and operate this weapon.

There are many things at play when it comes to
ATLA
‘s advancements, especially in the wake of the Hundred Year War.


During Book Three’s “The Day of Black Sun,” Aang and his allies invade the Fire Nation and advance on the royal city. Their enemies use war balloons, tanks, and even bombs to defend themselves — weapons that are uncommon, if not unheard of, in other parts of this world. Although the Fire Nation isn’t fully industrialized in ATLA — they still don’t have cars or long-distance communication — they’re way ahead of the other kingdoms. This gives them an advantage during Sozin’s war, but it also gives them technology to build on when the fighting is finished.

And while peacetime contributes to the advancements in The Legend of Korra, it’s worth noting that the conflicts within the sequel show also lead to innovation. While harmony gives inventors time to hone their crafts, threats offer a reason to create better tools and weapons. There are many things at play when it comes to ATLA‘s advancements, especially in the wake of the Hundred Year War.


The Aftermath Of Sozin’s War Led To Even Greater Technological Achievements

This Is Why The Legend Of Korra Is So Much More Industrial

Fire Lord Sozin and an image of younger Sozin in Avatar: The Last Airbender

The Fire Nation creates new technology in the midst of Sozin’s War, and the aftermath of this conflict leads to even greater technological advancements. In part, this has to do with the Fire Nation becoming allies with the other kingdoms. Their newfound relationships undoubtedly led to them sharing their inventions with one another. And after everything the Fire Nation does during and leading up to Avatar: The Last Airbender, it’s likely Zuko relinquishes some of this knowledge as a peace offering. Even with Aang’s support, building trust between the four nations probably took a great deal of effort.


Additionally, metalbending — which came about thanks to Toph’s part in Avatar: The Last Airbender — allowed advancements that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise. There are far more metalbenders in The Legend of Korra, and their existence speeds along the industrialization of that society. It’s far easier to build and operate machinery with such a means of controlling it.

The other three kingdoms likely felt an urgency to advance after the Hundred Year War as well, as they were caught off guard last time the Fire Nation attacked. With peacetime upon them, the Earth Kingdom, Water Tribes, and Air Nomads had to rebuild. This would involve preparing for any future conflicts, as well as attempting to push their societies forward. And with more time on their hands and the Fire Nation’s knowledge at their disposal, it seems everyone in The Last Airbender world develops technologically. That’s precisely why The Legend of Korra features a more industrial setting.


The Legend of Korra

This spinoff of Avatar: The Last Airbender follows the titular Korra, the new generation’s Avatar and reincarnation of Aang. As an Avatar, Korra can bend all four elements, and the show follows her adventure through the difficulties in a rapidly growing world.

Cast
Janet Varney , P.J. Byrne , David Faustino , J.K. Simmons , Jeff Bennett , Dee Bradley Baker , Seychelle Gabriel , Mindy Sterling

Release Date
April 14, 2012

Seasons
4

Writers
michael dante dimartino , bryan konietzko

Directors
Joaquim Dos Santos

Showrunner
bryan konietzko

Creator(s)
michael dante dimartino , bryan konietzko

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