Avatar’s Untold Bounty Hunter Story Deserves a Mandalorian-style Spinoff

Avatar: The Last Airbender told an epic tale about the battle between good and evil, but one of its biggest strengths was always in showing just how complicated the gray territory between those extremes can be. As Avatar Studios expands the franchise's future, focusing spinoffs on non-Avatar characters would be a great way to flesh out that moral greyness in the world of bending. But who would be the best antihero to center that story around? Easy: The bounty hunter June.

Inhabiting just a few of the episodes in the original series and never seen since; June and her trusty companion Nyla could be the epic main characters to a Mandalorian-style spinoff. Bounty hunting is indeed a complicated profession, and the pair have a rich potential for a newly told backstory that audiences deserve to see.

2 june from avatar

June's debut in Avatar came during the first season's episode "Bato of the Water Tribe" where Prince Zuko recruited her services in tracking down Avatar Aang. By using Katara's necklace, June used her companion Nyla's unparalleled tracking abilities to follow the scent of the Avatar's companion, eventually leading to a showdown where the bounty hunting pair proved their abilities in combat. June and Nyla remain unseen for nearly the entirety of the rest of the show, appearing again only toward the end of the series when their tracking abilities are needed once again. Outside those scant few episodes, there are only scraps of information known about the pair to this day.

Primarily, their backstory comes from the now-defunct Nickelodeon website for Avatar, where June's Earth Kingdom origins, training in the arts of bounty hunting under her father, and growth alongside Nyla are briefly given. As fascinating as those origins sound, the truth is that they weren't even necessary for fans already hooked by the bundle of cool concepts June represents. As a tattooed mercenary unconcerned with the harmony or justice that so concerns the main cast, June's cool personality, sleek design, and butt-kicking glimpses were enough to get fans hooked. Throw in the fascinating uniqueness of her companion, a shirshu who "sees" by smell and wields a paralytic tongue, and there is already plenty there for the perfect Mandalorian-style spinoff.

Part of what proved so refreshing about The Mandalorian was its exploration of the Star Wars universe away from the main action of epic battles and contests between mighty powers. Instead, its central bounty hunter is a morally-conflicted and mysterious antihero the audience only ever wants to learn more about. June shares in exactly those same qualities, and exploring her career as the world's best bounty hunter following the fall of the Fire Nation regime would be a singular way to gain a new perspective on the Avatar world.

With Zuko imposing new order over the Fire Nation after replacing his father as Fire Lord, there would doubtless be plenty of violent Firebenders abandoning their military posts in need of hunting down. The show even hinted at other mercenary elements like Combustion Man, the Rough Rhinos, or the Yuyan Archers who could serve as viable competition for June and Nyla. Considering that the Gaang only put a stop to the rogue elements they happened to come across, like Hama the Bloodbender or the Freedom Fighters, there could be countless threats out in the world of Avatar that would provide ample fodder for June and her ilk to set themselves after.

There is clearly a lot of potential in the particular stories that could be told, but at the end of the day what it's really all about is an interesting character and a bold new direction for the franchise. If Avatar Studios is to truly expand the world to an unprecedented degree then multiplying plots can't all have the same world-ending scope as the two TV series had. As the comics are already exploring the main cast to flesh out the events of their lives between the two series there is ample space for side characters to shine.

The Kyoshi novels already prove just how powerful such focus on smaller characters can be. Much like June, Kyoshi was always a strong and independent character whose every detail from the particularities of her design to the morsels of backstory given created a rabid hunger for fans to know more. Whether she gets her own books or an animated spinoff series, June deserves the same treatment. And fans deserve for her to get it.

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