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We had the idea for the lion-turtle early in the series and always knew he would play an important role in helping Aang unlock his skill that would help him defeat the Fire Lord. The lion-turtle is the oldest creature in the Avatar world, from a time that predates the Avatar and bending. We planted the mythic creature's image in a few places throughout the series. It first appeared in the pilot episode's main title, then later Aang saw a picture of one in "The Library," and there were also lion turtle statues around the grounds of Piandao's castle.(Avatar The Last Airbender - The Art of The Animated Series. )

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