@Wolk My stance is similar albeit there are possibly some differences I would like to elaborate on. When it comes to older versions of the story bibles, I would tend to agree that outdated versions of information which is exclusive to them and not carried over to later story bibles or published material is probably not relevant to the story. This would be most noticably true if said information contradicts later iteration somehow.
That said the final version of the story bible should be considered “canon” in all aspects basically. Not only is it the source of from which all the major story elements stem, it acted as the ultimate reference for the story team and just about anybody involved in keeping Bionicle running - Even Greg himself often times said he was going to “check the story bible” to find out the answer to someone’s question.
But regardless of the source (as long as it’s official), I would say if the information is additive, or explanatory and it does not contradict anything in the “wider story” I consider it “canon”. Even if it is formally unreleased, it could be the truth behind some apsect of the worldbuilding we just didn’t know about. And other times it is in fact released, only obscure.
I actually have a big recent finding to demonstrate something of what I mean.
If you look at one of the 2000 story bible pictures, you will find a
publication plan for various media. The Book 4 of Bionicle is called “The Legends of Mata Nui” and what it consists of are several legends. These bear the names: “The Joy and Deception of Mata Nui”, “The Ways of the Tohunga”, “The Legend of Onua”, etc. One might think that all of these Legends were only planned, but nothing came of them in the end… however, one would be mistaken and these have been both written and published! They all appeared on a Polish bionicle.com in 2001: https://web.archive.org/web/20010821101811/http://bionicle.onet.pl/legenda1.html
Here is translation - it is a fascinating read and even more Maori mythology is included here. I wonder if these stories will be included somewhere in the story bible once we see all of it, or if they weren’t written at that point.
Chapter I: Mata Nui’s Joy and Betrayal
Once upon a time, the world was a paradise - Mata Nui watched over its happiness.
Mata Nui, delighted with the beauty of the world, decided to explore its length and breadth.
During his journey, he met the only people living on earth at that time - the Tohunga people.
Mata Nui took care of people and animals.
However, Mata Nui did not know that he had a brother named Makuta. Makuta envied Mata Nui and believed that the world should belong to him - only him. Thus began the great battle between the two spirits.
Mata Nui fought against Makuta for many years.
Mata Nui was strong and the tide began to turn against Makuta. Makuta summoned dangerous monsters to help him defeat Mata Nui. However, he was unable to take his life. He cast a spell that caused Mata Nui to fall into a deep, eternal sleep.
Makuta was happy - now the world belonged only to him! However, fear, sadness and destruction reigned on earth…
However, not everything was lost, because six sages called Turaga knew about one more, only chance. In the times before all time, Io, the Great Creator placed six great heroes to guard the world, who were to maintain the balance of the elements, heroes who controlled storms, rains, lightning and thunder, earthquakes and winds. And the Great Creator called these heroes Toa.
Chapter II: The Ways of Tohunga
Once upon a time, the land of Tohunga was a wonderful and happy land. Its inhabitants lacked nothing - neither peace nor food. When Makuta took over the world, the situation changed. The years of plenty are history.
In those dark times, the priests of the six Tohunga villages - the Turaga, whose names were Nokama, Onewa, Matau, Whenua, Vakama and Nuju - were the keepers of the legends. The Turaga sustained the spirit of the Tohunga people.
The Tohunga knew the prophecies about the arrival of the Six Invincibles - Toa. They believed that heroes would come and restore peace and rule to Mata Nui. Every year they held a great festival in honor of Mata Nui.
During the festivals, the inhabitants of Mata Nui danced, sang and feasted. There were also competitions between the six villages. The Turaga who patronized the victorious village was called Turaga Nui - in honor of the ancestor who spoke with Mata Nui himself.
Meanwhile, festivals and feasts held in Mata Nui’s honor made the Makuta’s anger grow.
One night, each of the six Turaga priests had an identical dream. Through a dream, Mata Nui gave the Turaga a prophecy that announced the arrival of the Toa.
The Six Invincibles, the Toa, will help the island of Mata Nui regain its former glory only with the help of its inhabitants. Tohunga’s task will be to bring the Kanohi Masks of Power to the Heroes. The Toa’s task will be to find all the missing Kanohi Masks scattered by Makuta all over the world. The Toa will learn their strength and discover a way to defeat the Makuta. The ultimate reward will be the restoration of peace to Mata Nui.
The Tohunga people sang a song:
Come, mighty Toa:
Lewa, Onua, Tahu,
Kopaka, Gali, Pohatu!
Find all the masks and right the wrongs!
Together! Together! There is strength in unity!
Chapter III: Prophecy for Onua
Onua is the Earth Spirit. It protects the land and takes care of it. Onua is a good Spirit - his anger is aroused by the mistreatment of the earth. It can then cause avalanches and earthquakes, destroying trees, rocks and human houses.
People cared about their land, so Onua made sure that they could live peacefully and that the land was kind to them.
The Tohunga waited for the fulfillment of the prophecy that announced the arrival of Onua and his brother Toa. They were supposed to restore peace and prosperity to Mata Nui…
Onua was to travel the world in search of the Kanohi Power Masks.
According to the prophecy, at the beginning of Onua’s stay on earth, even the smallest ray of sunlight would blind him - because Onua was used to staying in dark corners of tunnels and caves.
However, his great hearing will help him - thanks to it, Onua will be able to hear voices coming from one of the Turaga villages.
The Tohunga are initially afraid of Onua. Fear will grip them at the thought that the Spirit is coming to punish them with mudslides and earthquakes.
Soon, however, the Tohunga will understand that Onua’s arrival is the first part of the prophecy coming true. So they will bring him one of the Turaga Power Masks - the Ruru Kanohi Mask. After putting on the Mask, Onua will understand what the purpose of his coming to Earth was…
Onua will tell Tohunga about his search and that his task is to find the great Mask of Power. The Tohunga will tell him about their leader, Turaga Whenua. It is Turaga Whenua who will help Onua. However, you have to find him - and he is hiding in deep caves.
At dusk, Onua will go searching for the caves. You will reach them after overcoming many dangers, including, in addition to sharp rocks, snakes and malicious ants.
Turaga Whenua will recognize Onua. And since he knows the words of the prophecy, he will be happy - he knows that Onua’s arrival means the beginning of the fight against Makuta - the fight to regain peace on Mata Nui.
At the same time, Turaga is filled with anxiety - he knows that a powerful monster will stand in the way of obtaining the Masks of Onua’s Power. The monster will guard the entrance to the rock that hides the Masks.
Despite the warning, Onua will set out. It will be accompanied by a terrifying sound - a sound he has never heard before and that only a great monster - the work of Makuta - could make.
Onua will be aware of all the dangers he will face if he chooses to fight Makuta. However, he will join forces with the forces of the remaining Toa - and together they will free the country from Makuta’s rule.
They will meet their destiny. Only together can they restore happiness to the inhabitants of Mata Nui.
Chapter IV: The Prophecy for Lewa
Lewa is the Spirit of Air. It warms all creatures living on earth.
Lewa is the eternal enemy of Gali - the Water Spirit. The roar of thunder and the flash of lightning, often heard and seen by the inhabitants of the earth, were the result of these disputes.
Lewa was the Spirit who loved people the most. Thanks to it, they could sail or take a break from the heat. But when they deserved his wrath, Lewa punished them with typhoons, tornadoes, and storms. It blew down houses and destroyed crops.
People showed their gratitude to Lewa by making offerings to him. The grateful Lewa kept the sky calm and no violent winds disturbed the peace of the people.
The Tohunga waited for the fulfillment of the prophecy that announced the arrival of Lewa and his brother Toa. They were supposed to restore peace and prosperity to Mata Nui…
Lewa was to travel the world in search of the Kanohi Power Masks.
According to the prophecy, at the beginning of Lewa’s stay on earth, the sandy ground was supposed to make it difficult for him to move - until now Lewa had only moved in the air.
First, Lewa will meet one of the Tohunga.
Tohunga will initially be afraid of Lewa, twice his size. However, when Lewa speaks to him in a gentle voice, Tohunga will overcome his fear.
The Tohunga will take Lewa to the place where they keep the Kanohi Mahiki - the Mask of Power of Turaga Matau. After putting on the Mask, Lewa will understand what the purpose of his coming to earth was…
Lewa will tell Tohunga about his search and that his task is to find the Masks of Power.
As it turns out, only Turaga Nuju will be able to answer the question about the whereabouts of the Masks of Power. To meet Turaga Nuju, however, you need to climb to the top of the highest tree in the forest - this is where the priest is hiding.
After a short rest, Lewa will set out to conquer the forest. He will reach the highest tree after overcoming many dangers, among which, in addition to flocks of squeaking birds with beaks and claws as sharp as razors, there will also be large, malicious lizards living in the treetops.
Turaga Nuju will recognize Toa Lewa. And since he knows the words of the prophecy, he will be happy - he knows that Lewa’s arrival means the beginning of the fight against Makuta - the fight to regain peace on Mata Nui. At the same time, Turaga is filled with anxiety - he knows that a powerful monster will stand in the way of obtaining the Masks of Lewa’s Power. The monster will guard access to the most powerful tree, the tree in whose leaves the Masks are hidden.
Despite the warning, Lewa will set off. However, strong winds, downpours, falling branches and bats will conspire against him.
However, the greatest danger will meet Lewa at the foot of the most powerful tree… He will have to face it - on the way to the Masks of Power and unification with the other Toa.
Together they will meet their destiny. Only together can they restore happiness to the inhabitants of Mata Nui.
Chapter V: The Prophecy for Tahu
Tahu is the Spirit of Fire. Its flames give people warmth, allow them to prepare meals, and dispel the darkness of the night. However, they can be dangerous - they can destroy everything around them in the blink of an eye…
People offered sacrifices to Tahu, quick to anger, and the grateful Spirit protected them.
The Tohunga waited for the fulfillment of the prophecy that announced the arrival of Tahu and his Toa brethren. They were supposed to restore peace and prosperity to Mata Nui…
Tahu was to travel the world in search of the Kanohi Masks of Power.
According to the words of the prophecy, at the beginning of Tahu’s stay on earth, he was supposed to be helpless and lost like a child. He is used to staying in the land of fire - meanwhile he will land on the sea shore. Angered by his own helplessness, he will set fire to the trees and plants surrounding him.
The Tohunga will initially be afraid of Tahu. However, they will soon realize that Tahu’s arrival is the first part of the prophecy coming true. They will give him the Mask of Power of Turaga Vakama, kept in the main square of the village. After putting on the Mask, Tahu will understand the purpose of his coming to earth…
As it turns out, only Turaga Vakama will be able to answer the question about the whereabouts of the Masks of Power. To meet Turaga Vakama, however, you need to get to the top of a large volcano - the priest is hiding there.
Despite the warning about the dangers lurking, Tahu will set off towards the river of fire flowing nearby. This river will lead him to the volcano. He will reach the top of the volcano by moving on the liquid fiery surface of the river, overcoming many dangers, including fire-spitting scorpions and hundreds of fireballs.
Turaga Vakama will recognize Toa Tahu. And since he knows the words of the prophecy, he will be happy - he knows that Tahu’s arrival means the beginning of the fight against Makuta - the fight to regain peace on Mata Nui. At the same time, Turaga is filled with anxiety - he knows that a powerful monster will stand in the way of obtaining the Masks of Tahu’s Power. The monster will guard access to the interior of the volcano, the interior that contains the Masks of Power.
Despite the warning, Tahu will set out. In the lava lake at the foot of the volcano, his path will be blocked by a monster - the work of Makuta. He will have to face it - on the way to the Masks of Power and unification with the other Toa.
Together they will meet their destiny. Only together can they restore happiness to the inhabitants of Mata Nui.
Chapter VI: Prophecy for Gali
Gali is the Spirit of Waters, cooling the heat of fire. Gali was sent to Mata Nui so that living creatures could exist in the world.
From the very beginning, however, Gali was at odds with Lewa, the spirit of the air, and often the world trembled in terror at the roar of thunder and the flash of lightning as the spirits argued with each other.
However, Gali loved the people of the world no less than Lewa. She brought them rains to fill the rivers and lakes, enabling the people to water their crops and quench their thirst; but if the people angered her, she sent storms and floods, washed away their houses, drowned their animals, and destroyed their crops.
People made offerings to Gali so that she could see how grateful they were for the water. Seeing how righteous they were, the great Gali ensured that most of the waters remained calm and good fortune did not abandon the people.
But in those dark times, when the evil Makuta ruled the land, the Turaga told their Tohunga people to pray to the Great Beings to send Gali and her fellow Toa to bring them salvation.
The Tohunga then asked the Turaga sages how Gali would deliver them? It was then that the Turaga gave their people a prophecy for Gali, stating that she would travel the world in search of the Great Kanohi, the Masks of Power, whose power would help her defeat Makuta and restore peace to Mata Nui.
The Turaga also told their people that the Toa Gali was a great spirit that no one could reach, neither in water nor on land, and that of all the great and great Toa, while certainly not the most powerful, Gali was undoubtedly the most agile. No obstacle can slow her down as she moves nimbly from the coast to the inland to find the Great Masks.
When he finds a village near the seashore, its inhabitants, the Tohunga, immediately recognize and bow to the Great Gali, as their gratitude for water is great.
Gali, however, although usually gracious and gentle, is also impatient, so she will have little time to worry about Tohunga’s slow and strange behavior, and in that time she will only want to know where the Great Masks can be found.
Soon the Tohunga will realize that Gali’s arrival is the first part of the prophecy coming true. So they will bring her one of the Turaga’s Masks of Power - the Mask of Rau. After putting on the Mask, Gali will understand the purpose of her coming to earth.
However, this mask will be only the first of those that Gali will have to find. So she will ask the Tohunga people again where she can find the Masks of Power.
However, when she hears the answer, she will not be in a hurry to set off, because - unique among the great Toa masks - the Great Mask of Gali is not hidden on land but among the waters, where Gali has just come from. The Tohunga will also tell Gali that she must make a pilgrimage to the highest of the three mountainous islands and climb to its peak, for there she will find Turaga Nokama, the guardian of all wisdom.
However, neither the pilgrimage nor the climb will disturb Gali’s peace - only the dangers lurking at sea will disturb her. Because although she is a spirit of water, she will not be able to control these waters, because they are in the captivity of Makuta, the spirit of darkness, whom Gali and her brother Toa are to defeat. Gali will realize that she must find the missing masks and so she will set out across the seas in a large canoe made by the grateful Tohunga.
There will be violent storms on the sea; However, these will not be storms caused by Gali, but sent by the evil Makuta, who will try to send Gali to the bottom of the sea at all costs before she starts fighting his guards. A huge whirlpool will form, but Gali - an excellent rower - will survive all dangers.
Seeing that the vortex did not engulf the great Toa, the Makuta conjured schools of fish that would descend on Gali, hacking at her with its razor-sharp fins. Gali will face this obstacle as well, wanting at all costs to reach the wise Nokama, who will tell her how to find the Great Masks so that she can unite with other Toa to fight the evil Makuta.
Together, the Toa will meet their destiny. Only together can they restore happiness to the inhabitants of Mata Nui.
Chapter VII: The Prophecy for Kopaka
Kopaka is the Spirit of Snow and Ice. He is a good, benevolent Spirit - but his revenge will be brought upon himself by anyone who threatens the earth in any way… Kopaka is then ready to send frost - there would never be summer again, and all living creatures would face destruction.
People made offerings to him, and the grateful Kopaka did not allow them to suffer from the cold.
The Tohunga waited for the fulfillment of the prophecy that announced the arrival of Kopaka and his brother Toa. They were supposed to restore peace and prosperity to mata Nui…
Kopaka was to travel the world in search of the Kanohi Power Masks.
As the prophecy says, at the beginning of his stay on Earth, Kopaka will move clumsily in the unfamiliar surroundings of a hot, sandy beach, unsure of which direction he should go to find the Masks of Power. He will wander, enjoying the cool darkness of the night.
One day, at dawn, he will meet the inhabitants of the land of Mata Nui - Tohunga. The Tohunga will initially be afraid of Kopaka. However, they will soon understand that Kopaka’s arrival is the first part of the prophecy coming true.
The chief of the Tohunga village, Turaga Nuju, will give Kopaka the Kanohi Matatu Mask made by Mata Nui, a Mask that has been waiting for centuries for the Toa to arrive. After putting on the Kopaka Mask, he will understand what the purpose of his coming to earth was…
However, the Turaga Nuju mask will be only the first of those that Kopaka will have to find. Turaga will tell Kopaka that the first mask he is looking for is located on the top of a large mountain, hidden deep under the ice. However, this will not discourage Kopaka. He will arm himself with an ice sword that can cut through ice of any thickness.
Kopaka will stay with the Tohunga and their leader for a while, as he is not used to the impatience of battle like the other Toa and will prefer to wait until the time is right. So Kopaka will rest, listening to Tohunga fairy tales and legends.
After darkness falls, Kopaka will begin his journey - regardless of the danger ahead.
He will conquer the Mask despite numerous obstacles - fragile ice, snow avalanches, and finally - twelve monsters encountered on the top of the ice mountain.
He must fight them and meet his destiny. Only this way will he join his forces with those of the remaining Toa - and together they will free the country from Makuta’s rule.
They will meet their destiny. Only together can they restore happiness to the inhabitants of Mata Nui.
Chapter VIII: Prophecy for Pohatu
Pohatu is the Stone Spirit. His power extends over deep canyons and high mountains. He lives in every rock and stone, guarding even the smallest part of the building - the work of Tohunga’s hands.
However, when he gets angry, he will crumble the building material…
People made offerings to Pohatu, and the Spirit returned the favor by ensuring peace in the mountains.
The Tohunga waited for the fulfillment of the prophecy that announced the arrival of Pohatu and his brother Toa. They were supposed to restore peace and prosperity to Mata Nui…
Pohatu was to travel the world in search of the Kanohi Power Masks.
According to the words of the prophecy, at the beginning of his stay on earth, Pohatu was to move slowly and carefully, unsure of his fate and the direction in which he should go in search of the Masks.
One day he will reach a village on the edge of the desert. The Tohunga living there will initially be scared and hide from Pohatu.
Soon, however, the Tohunga will realize that Pohatu’s arrival is the first part of the prophecy coming true. Turaga Onewa will be the first to come out of hiding. He will show Pohatu the location of his own Mask - Kanohi Komau. After putting on the Mask, Pohatu will understand what the purpose of his coming to earth was…
Pohatu will tell Tohunga about his search and that his task is to find the Masks of Power. Turaga will warn him of the dangers waiting on the way to obtaining the Masks. They are hidden in such dangerous places as the bottom of the Grand Canyon or the heart of the desert, and access to them is guarded by monsters.
Despite the warning, Pohatu sets off. He will have to overcome moving rocks and boulders, monsters, and above all… his own fear.
Chapter IX: Mata Nui’s Last Battle
When the Six Invincible Toa manage to defeat the monsters sent by Makuta and find the Kanohi Masks of Power again, they will meet in the middle of the Land.
The Masks of Power will be placed in the Temple, and the Toa will gain the power that will allow them to fight against the Makuta, a fight in which the fate of the island of Mata Nui will be at stake. A large gate will open before them, after crossing which the Toa will find themselves in an underground land. This land will become the arena where the Toa and Makuta will fight.
The Toa will find Makuta.
He will be accompanied by the soul of good Mata Nui, radiant with beauty.
Mata Nui will surround the arriving Toa with light. The light will protect them and give them strength.
Makuta will summon monsters - each of them will be as ugly as each of the corners of Makuta’s soul is ugly. He will also fight himself - the final fight.
In the world - the sound of Tohunga songs will mix with the prayerful whispers of the Turaga.
So as you can see, these Legends describe the mythology of the world. By today’s standards, and even by standards of late 2001, they contradict several aspects of the story. However, we have to remember that these are meant to be the Legends told by the Turaga and passed on among the Matoran, they do not represent actual events. We are told in countless media that the Turaga tell many legends of the Toa, Mata Nui and Makuta, but we never get to see the contents of these legends…
These are the legends that they tell, at least some of them. This is the Matoran culture on the island of Mata Nui during the dark times that we knew so little about.
Simply put, these legends are an undocumented, published story material that is indeed “canon” as the Legends of Mata Nui, stories told by the elders.