Karl Walter/Getty Images
March 06, 2015 at 04:58 PM EST

Katy Perry made riding a mechanical lion look easy in the opening of her Super Bowl Halftime Show performance. The difficult part came before the show: building the beast.

The mastermind behind the 26-foot-long, 16-foot-high, nearly 1,600-pound lion was Perry herself with the help of Baz Halpin, her creative partner for the last five years. Michael Curry Design, the team behind the props used in the Broadway production of The Lion King, brought Halpin and Perry’s idea to life—but it wasn’t easy.

Head over to Sports Illustrated to get the full story on the 3,500 hours of labor it took to create the now-famous metallic robot lion.

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