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The Avatar And The Legend Of Korra Connection Everyone Ignores

Few TV series can boast the exquisite worldbuilding of the "Avatar: The Last Airbender" franchise, including its sequel series, "The Legend of Korra." The animated series spans centuries of action and lore and deals with such mature themes as imperialism and genocide (good thing we have penguin surfing to break the tension).

Despite the impeccable job the franchise did with callbacks and continuity so far, fans hope more loose ends will be addressed and connections uncovered in the coming years – with new and original content from Nickelodeon's fledgling Avatar Studios (via Twitter), announced in 2021 and helmed by original "Avatar" creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko!

It's hard to decide which narrative we'd like to see first, which gaps we'd like filled in. We'd like to see the story of Ursa, Zuko's mother, come to the screen, or maybe expand on the slices of Kyoshi's history that we glimpsed in the original series. The wide-open possibilities give us room to revisit our favorite fan theories and Easter eggs, which means that before we get any of that new content, even the most eagle-eyed of fans might want to study up.

Because for all the more obvious connections between "The Last Airbender" and "The Legend of Korra" (from the insidious use of bloodbending to the intertwined lives of the characters descended from the original Team Avatar), there is one tiny detail whose implications reach all the way from Aang's triumph over Ozai to the birth of bending itself.

'Wan'-dering eyes catch an easily overlooked detail

Energy is king in "Avatar": It rules the worlds of both spirits and men, granting everything from bending abilities to life itself. Disrupting this energy, through the technique Aang learned from the lion turtle just before fighting Ozai, a person's bending can be taken away for good. What the lion turtle taught Aang was pure energybending: not bending just an element, but the very energy in another person's body.

In the story of Wan, the original Avatar, which we hear in "The Legend of Korra," we find out that the lion turtles were also the ones who granted humans the ability to bend the four elements: Each lion turtle is associated with a different element distinguishable by the marks on its forehead, with the one Wan lived on (and first received firebending from) being associated with fire.

If we look at the lion turtle that Aang learned energybending from, it has the exact same markings as the one Wan lived on thousands of years ago (via Reddit). Some fans on Stack Exchange even like to believe it was the same lion turtle! While we can't prove that, it's nonetheless meaningful that the same type of lion turtle who first allowed the original Avatar to bend fire, setting the course for the Avatar as a force of balance in the world that endured through the centuries, taught Aang how to take fire back from someone who was using it to threaten that balance.