At what point in the BIONICLE story was it clear that the MU was inside the GSR?

I’ve been trying to introduce my girlfriend to BIONICLE. At the moment we’re going through some 2002 stuff, and then I started to think forward to 2004 with the Metru Nui stuff, and further on.

In 2004, what was the explanation then for where Metru Nui is? Simply “beneath Mata Nui?”. Was it clear that it was inside a massive mechanical being, or was it simply thought that there were massive underground domes?

Then in 2006 when they go to the realm of Karzahni and back up to the Endless Ocean and out the MU on Voya Nu, what was the thought process then?

When Matoro gave up his life to save the Great Spirit in 2007, was it known that Mata Nui was the robot?

Or was it simply unknown to all until 2008?

I’m trying to give an experience whereby the mystery slowly unfolds, hence my question. Thanks!

It’s pretty much unknown until Makuta’s victory in 2008, however, there are little clues here and there that make it obvious in hindsight.

The main way we found out was from the animations. We didn’t get a proper map of the MU until Makuta’s Guide to the Universe.

There were more that were scrapped, such as 3-finger island near Mata nui, but that was a bit too on the nose.

In 2004, there was something called “the great barrier” which had a series of tunnels in it which lead up to Mata Nui (the island) so it wasn’t directly obvious they were beneath each other.

In 2006, there was no possible way to know whether Mata Nui and Voya Nui were in the same ocean.

In 2007, Mata Nui was very much still a spirit and not a robot, so we had no idea he wasn’t simply “reviving god” so to speak.

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The way I remember it, there was a theory topic over at BZPower that had it all figured out just barely a couple of weeks before the big reveal. It was pretty cool, actually.
IIRC the way Karda Nui’s name is pseudo-Latin/matoran for “Great Heart” was one of the final pieces of the puzzle


But wasn’t there this whole thing with the Cord, and returning Voya Nui back to it’s “original position”?

I was re-reading some 2008 serials, like “The Kingdom”, and at that point it seemed understood that Mata Nui island, and the rest of the MU were separate. How does this make sense without the understanding of the MU being the GSR, or atleast, being underground?

It was mentioned back in 2006 that Mahri nui sank beneath the waves. From what I understand, Voya/Mahri nui broke off from the GSR when it crashed on Aqua Magna thanks to the Metru Nui shenanigans. The force caused the southern continent to break off and not sink like the rest of the GSR. As for why it needed to be sunk? In hindsight it makes sense, at the time it doesn’t make as much sense, other than it was required for Matoro to get underneath the cord to revive Mata Nui.

I think that’s the point. That’s when things start to fall into place.

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A lot of things in G1 Bionicle didn’t really make sense at first. Weird geography was just kind of a thing we dealt with, same as the weird timescales

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Pretty much.

Yeah, I do understand what happened over all of these years, but from a GSR-centric point-of-view. Like this quote, from ‘The Kingdom’.

Takanuva glanced up at the sky. No, it didn’t look like the one over Metru Nui. It looked – oh, no, that couldn’t be, he thought. It was the same shade of blue as the one over the island of Mata Nui.

Did this just not make sense at the time?

And I understand what exactly went on with Voya Nui… but, at the time, did people just kinda assume that Mata Nui, Metru Nui, Karzahni, and Voya Nui existed on the same plane - so to speak? As though one could catch a boat or aircraft and reach there?

So, let’s say we’re going through 2004 material and I’m asked where exactly is Metru Nui? Would just saying it’s somewhere beyond the Maze of Shadows be a sufficient enough answer?

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Depended on what your headcanon was.

If you want the same experience yes. Or, you could say beyond the Great Barrier.

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We knew the MU consisted of underground domes. We just didn’t know what those domes were contained in.

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That’s generally what I’m going for here.

Hmmm… It’s been a while since I read through the 2004 books, but, is there a quote that explicitly made this clear?

It may have just been Greg answering questions that built up that understanding of it. It was one of those accepted facts that just sort of circulated without much certainty about the source IIRC

The biggest clue in my eyes was the Great Cataclysm itself, and the legend which refers to Mata Nui as being put to sleep by Makuta. Obviously, it’s hard to imagine exactly what I would have thought with what was known back then, but I would assume it apparent that the Great Cataclsym and the legend were one and the same. Additionally when that is depicted in the second movie, we see the twin suns close as if they were eyes.

There’s a line in one of the 06 books, when Jaller and co are going to Voya Nui, saying they needed to go south and then ‘up’. It’s quite implied that Voya Nui is above the rest of the world.


The Toa Metru recognize that they are looking at a different sky, and a different ocean, when they first arrive on Mata Nui in 2004.

In 2006, it’s made very clear that Voya Nui is on that same ocean - not on the one within the MU.

The explanation at the time was that all the islands in the MU were in interconnected underground/underwater domes - it just wasn’t known that those domes had any connection to the Great Spirit (I mean, why would they assume they did?).

The end of 2008 is when the reveal truly happened. Teridax’s takeover was the main reveal, and then Brutaka laid out the specifics in the last chapter of Dwellers in Darkness.

(By the way, if you’re looking to introduce someone new to the Bionicle story, may I recommend: )

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I’ve seen it and I personally think it’s a really great initiative by fans. For these purposes, though, I’m trying to get an experience as close as I could to the original experience. From what I’ve seen with that, is that the compilation is very timeline accurate, so it can jump from a novel, to a comic. And I do like how the relevant animations have links.

I just rather, when introducing the story, to go through the comics / novels / movies individually. There may be some redundancy and overlap, and when what happens (due to the multi-media nature of BIONICLE) can scratch your head a bit, but I just find the idea that you have to go to different places to get your story fill as part of the charm.

Ohhh okay. I haven’t read the novels since around 2014, and I honestly was rushing through the 2004/2005 story at the time because I was more interested in learning how the story progressed and, at the time, felt like the movies covered enough of the year. So I probably missed those bits.

Another question though, when did the term “Matoran Universe” become in use? Was it from 2004 with the introduction of Metru Nui, or not until 2008?

In the Mata Nui Online Game, there are symbols carved into the base of the Great Telecope that resemble the GSR body and GSR face, foreshadowing the GSR all the way back in 2001. The Onu-Matoran in the game tell you they’ve hit an impenetrable “rock” layer that foreshadows the underground location of the GSR, but there’s no mention of the MU inside.

The end of BIONICLE: MoL reveals a fully lit city underground in a silver ocean, which always confused me as a kid since I initially thought the Hau door was a portal to another dimension, since how else can there be sunlight underground?

In BIONICLE 2: LoMN the twin suns eclipse after Makuta puts Mata Nui into a coma. This confused me as a kid since the way the scene is shot, it seemed to me that Mata Nui was a giant entity floating up in the sky looking down on the Matoran the way God is portrayed in the Christian bible. But no, it actually turns out that we’re inside the GSR somehow looking through the upper part of its head. Yeah, I still hadn’t realized that the MU was inside the GSR.

It wasn’t until the reveal in Comic 15: Mata Nui Rising that I finally understood, but I had to reread it a few times since I was still confused. How can the stars inside the GSR be rearranged? They were artificial lights I guess. But then how can the islands inside the MU be held down when the GSR stands up? Artificial gravity or gyroscopic biomes I guess. It was a weird revelation to me when I learned the truth.