By Amber Lena
The big news to come out of the "Legend of Korra" panel at San Diego Comic-Con is that Book Two: "Spirits" will premiere some time in September. While no specific date was given, that means fans only have two months (and maybe less) to wait before they get to see Korra's latest adventures.
The energy in the room was high even before the announcement. Cosplayers ran around, taking picutres with other fans and getting the audience hyped up. The Book Two trailer began with a roar from the audience as even those who had been relaxing in their seats suddenly snapped to attention.
If the mood of the trailer is indicative of the mood of the entire season, fans can expect nothing less than an emotional tour de force. More than one audience member was moved to tears from the action-packed series of clips, all set to a very moving soundtrack that we've come to expect from the Nickelodeon show.
The panel is introduced (with amusing accompanying illustrations). Much to the delight of the audience, P.J. Byrne, who voices Bolin, walked out with a stuffed fire ferret as an homage to Pabu. The plushie remained on his shoulder for a majority of the panel.
As a special treat -- the revelation of which threatened hearing damage for everyone in the vicinity -- attendees of the "Korra" panel got to watch the premiere of the first episode of Book Two in its entirety.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
There is trouble in the Southern Water Tribe. Spirits are attacking boats and wreaking havoc on the community.
On a happier note, the first episode of Book Two is all about family. Not only do we get more of Bumi, Tenzin's older brother, we also get to formally meet Kya, the eldest of Avatar Aang and Katara's children.
The first episode largely focuses on the Southern Water Tribe and it's annual festival. While everyone is there to celebrate (including Mako, Bolin, and Asami), the arrival of the Northern chief provides some tension. Chief Unalaq is Korra's uncle, a position he only inherited after Korra's father, Tonraq, abdicated. Perhaps this is the reason why the brothers appear to dislike one another, but it's suggested that their distrust runs deeper than that.
With spirits on the rampage, Unalaq establishes himself as a spiritual guide and eventually convinces Korra that he is the only true mentor for her. While this causes a rift between Korra and Tenzin, we get the feeling that their estrangement will not last for long.
There also appears to be trouble in paradise. Though Mako is trying to be the best boyfriend possible, Korra's moodiness and strong personality creates some misunderstandings between the two. Perhaps the couple isn't as perfectly matched as fans want to believe.
END OF SPOILERS
When the episode concludes, there is deafening applause from the crowd. The panel jokes that they would like to watch the new episodes with the audience every week, earning more cheers.
Voice actors Janet Varney, David Faustino, and of course P.J. all earn several laughs as they joke around with one another. They share their experiences as voice actors: P.J. admits that he never liked his voice growing up, David says he relates to Mako's lady trouble, and Janet cannot get enough of her job. “How lucky am I to be doing this,” she gushes.
One of the biggest additions to Book Two is the inclusion of the Avatar origin story. Steven Yeun of "The Walking Dead" joins the cast of Korra as Wan, the original Avatar. With a whole new style to reflect the difference in times, the background story will cover Wan's entire life and "many hairstyles" according to art director Bryan Konietzko. Wan, much like the present-day Korra, will struggle with coming to terms with the spiritual side of his duties.
The panel continues with many more exciting announcements concerning autographs, exclusive artwork, and a signing for the much-awaited "Legend of Korra" soundtrack.
P.J. gives one final message from Pabu: "Korra fans are the best fans in the world!"
The panel closes with a second showing of the Book Two trailer. There were many watery eyes even the second time around.