Changing Eye Colors

All right, this is my first ever topic, so please be patient with me. But do let me know if I mess something up.

As you all know, from 2001 to 2006, all Matoran/Toa/Turaga affiliated with a given element shared the same eye color in the sets and in all media except for the films. However, between 2003 and 2004, the eye colors all switched, so that the same individuals had differently colored eyes depending on whether they were on Metru Nui or Mata Nui. The colors were:

Fire = Lime on Metru Nui, Pink on Mata Nui
Water = Orange on Metru Nui, Yellow on Mata Nui
Earth = Green on Metru Nui and Mata Nui both (the only color that didn’t change!)
Air = Red on Metru Nui, Lime on Mata Nui
Ice = Teal on Metru Nui, Icy Blue on Mata Nui
Stone = Dark Blue on Metru Nui, Neon Orange on Mata Nui

Then in 2006 the Inika all had the same neon green eye color, presumably attributable to their lightning powers. And from 2007-2008, everybody had lime green or neon orange eyes for some reason.

Out-of-universe, these eye color changes were obviously made for aesthetic set-design purposes (and I’ve got no problem with them, since they give MOCists about half again as many colors to work with). But in-universe, they seem really weird! Why would all the characters’ eyes change color simultaneously? My question for you all is: How would you explain this?

Personally I was content not to explain it for many years, rather just to assume that the set appearances were semi-canonical and that in-universe, the characters’ eye colors stayed the same throughout their lives, and maybe were not ever determined by element. However, coming up with elaborate headcanons to justify apparent inconsistencies in the text is much more fun than waving them away, and now one such has occurred to me: What if MU inhabitants’ eye colors change depending on the environment? Specifically, what if all the Matoran’s eye colors really did change simultaneously, as an outward manifestation of a change in “mode” adapting to the alien atmosphere and geochemistry of the Aqua Magnan environment as opposed to the environment inside the GSR? We already know the Toa are bending different elements inside the GSR as opposed to outside it (inside, everything is some kind of protodermis, while outside, the elements are really what they appear to be). So it’s not a stretch to imagine that the MU inhabitants’ mutation-prone anatomy would do some reshuffling to acclimate to the new environment, and the eye colors could be a side effect. This would also mean that once they went back to Metru Nui, their eyes would change back (and we have no evidence to contradict that AFAIK). Additionally I propose that the Onu-Matoran kept their green eyes because, living underground near the tunnels to Metru Nui as they do, they spend most of their time in an atmosphere containing mixed GSR and Aqua Magnan elements, not different enough from their home to cause a significant change in their biochemistry (This would in turn raise the question of why Midak’s eyes are still green…so maybe he only moved up to the surface relatively recently?).

As for the Mahri’s limited eye color diversity, it could be an effect of the Pit Mutation. As for why everyone has lime eyes on Karda Nui…hmm, maybe it’s an effect of being exposed to all the residual energy in Mata Nui’s power center?

Do you guys have any riffs on this headcanon, or alternative proposals, or other thoughts on this topic?

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I would consider these similar enough to be unchanged.

I haven’t really put much thought into theories explaining this, but I can tell you that the neon green eyes in 2008 were related to a visor to protect the Toa’s eyes at high speed.

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Personally, I’ve always imagined the Metru Nui Matoran’s eyes changing color to be another effect caused by the Matoran Spheres changing their bodies.

As for the Inika and Mahri eyes changing color, I’ve never really thought of it before. I like your suggestion for the Inika that their eyes changed because of the energies flowing through them. As for the Mahri, I’m fine with chalking that up to the Ignika transforming them. After all, there is something of a precedent for eyes changing color from transformations based on Norik’s eyes going from green as a Toa to orange as a Rahaga.

(Plus, personally speaking, I think eye color varies just on what region you’re from in the universe, not necessarily what your element is :stuck_out_tongue: :woman_shrugging:)

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the issue with that is that at least two of the Toa (Lewa/Pohatu) had visors, in trans-medium blue. Why would all the Toa have some kind of shielding but two of them need extra?

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Maybe Lewa and Pohatu have really sensitive eyes :stuck_out_tongue:

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To protect their eyes as they flew high speed vehicles. That was how I always interpreted it.

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I thought that was Onua?

That makes sense for when Lewa and Pohatu have are driving the Axelara and Rockoh, but they still have their visors even before they get those vehicles.

Maybe the blue visor provides heads up displays and data and whatnot, but Kopaka didn’t need it because his telescope served a similar function?

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more likely they just didn’t want to make two versions of the same mask.

They kinda did though, Lewa’s axalara miru is different.

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well

darn

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This is an interesting topic. I have never given this much thought… though I didn’t love it when they ditched all toa eye colors beside neon green and orange after 2004-5. I would really just chalk this up to TLG making design choices throughout the years. But here’s my theory spitballing:

  1. The eye-color is related to isle of residence.
  • Maybe the matoran and toa of Metru nui all had a specific eye-color related to whatever build of matoran they were. It would be nice if we ever got matoran from other isles that actually came with eyepieces to determine this. But maybe Ko-matoran from The Northen Continent all had neon green eyes? Who knows?
  1. External influences on eye color
    The Voya Nui Matoran were all marketed with orange eyes despite not having an eyepiece. Maybe Karzahni’s tinkering messed with their eyes? The Mahri-nui theory is interesting, but why do Hahli’s eyes turn orange while Kongu’s stay neon green? And the Mata Nui matoran may have had eye colors change due to the spheres diminishing their forms. No hard answers, but something to think about.

  2. The bio-mechanical nature of BIONICLE
    Laslty, something to keep in mind is the fact that each Matoran Universe resident is more machine than man. The movies portrayed characters with eyes almost like screens. While we can debate on how accurate the movies’ portrayal of characters was, the characters are biomechanical and could plausibly change what colors show from their eyes due to being almost robots. The Av-Matoran could change their colors, but that was an elemental power. Of note is that the Kraawa was noted as being able to change eye color when under distress. This special mention of changing eye color implies that it isn’t common for matoran universe inhabitants to do that. Again, something to think about.

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On this note, how canon is the GSR’s eye colour changing when Makuta takes over?

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Completely canon.

From Journey’s End:

“Mata Nui stared into the crimson eyes of the mechanical nightmare that stood before him.”

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Ooh, an overall unimportant topic that can be endlessly overanalyzed! My favourite. Seriously, I’ve thought about Matoran eye colours way too much.

I’ve always subscribed to the idea that Matoran/Toa/Turaga’s colours correspond not only to their element, but also to their environment. Usually, this applies to armour colours, with the most obvious case study being the dramatic changes in the inhabitants of Metru Nui after migrating to Mata Nui. I’m quite fond of the idea that most Matoran inside the GSR sport “Metru colours,” by which I mean the darker shades seen in 2004 onward, but that once they are exposed to the outside world and come into contact with real examples of their elements, rather than protodermic recreations, their colours brighten. A Ta-Matoran feels real sunlight on their armour and turns from a dull maroon to a fiery scarlet, a Le-Matoran can see the real sky and lights up in bright teal and lime, a Po-Matoran walks in real sand and goes from grey to a deep, rich brown, etc. I imagine the same may be true for eye colours. Take a Matoran out of the GSR and put them in real nature and their entire being brightens, including their eyes.

Keep in mind, though there was still some variation in eye colours on Mata Nui. Po-Matoran were shown with orange and yellow eyes, and Ta-Matoran were usually depicted with yellow eyes rather than pink. Jaller was even shown with the green eyes he’d have as a Toa once or twice. It’s possible that only some Matoran’s eyes change, as opposed to the much more common shifting of armour colour. We don’t actually know what most of the Matoran of Mata Nui looked like on Metru Nui, so it’s fully possible that many of them had the same colour eyes down there, aside from the exceptions we know about (Kapura, Tuuli, Hafu, Ahkmou etc.).

The Turaga have something of an excuse, I suppose, given that they underwent a complete bodily transformation, but it’s always seemed to me that eye colour is one of those things that should just remain consistent, y’know? Especially if their masks and armour colours are going to be different. Having the same eyes would keep something of the soul alive between the sets. Alas. All I can say here is the same as what I said for the Matoran. Their armour brightened to match their new environment, so perhaps their eyes followed suit. Though it seems Earth and Ice are locked in to green and blue, respectively, so at least we have that. And orange to yellow isn’t that big a change for Water, especially since yellow eyes got phased out after that, so I suppose we should be content with it. Vakama, Matau, and Onewa, though…yeah. C’est la vie, je suppose.

The Rahaga were forcibly mutated, so I think they have a fine excuse for their different eye colours. Nothing else to say here, really. A good excuse is a good excuse :stuck_out_tongue:

The Inika too have a fair excuse for their different eyes. Given that they all have the same green, I think it’s safe to say the colour comes from the energy coursing through their bodies. So that works. On the other hand, am i the only one who thinks the Inika should have all had red eyes? Since the lightning that made them Toa came from the RED Star? I think that would have been a neat tie-in with the plot.

The Voyatoran obviously don’t have eyes in their sets, and advertisement has mixed opinions on their eye colours, ranging from brown to green to yellow to orange to white depending on which set and which image you’re looking at. I think it’s fair to just pick whichever one you like as your personal headcanon for them and move on, whether they wind up with normal eye colours for their elements or weird ones thanks to Karzahni’s meddling. Personally, I like to imagine them all with normal colours except for Velika, who’d of course have to look somewhat off.

The Mahri’s eyes are just a mess, if you ask me, and I tend to let headcanon reign here. Jaller, Kongu, and Hewkii’s eyes are fine, since they have the same eye colours they had as Matoran, meaning they’ve reverted to normal now that they’re no longer Inika. Yeah, Jaller with green eyes was a rare sight, but it happened in MNOG, so it counts for me. Hahli’s orange is a bit of a stretch, but it is a normal Ga-Matoran eye colour and since the Metru brain piece was never released in yellow, it’s probably the best we could have hoped for. Nuparu and Matoro are just a disaster, though. Earth and Ice were the only elements so far with one firm colour and here they both throw that away for orange. Ugh. I’ve swapped their eyes out for green and blue pieces respectively in my sets, and they’re depicted with those colours in the comics anyway, so I have validation. If you’re not the headcanon type, you can always say they wound up with weird eyes thanks to the Ignika transforming them, but my suggestion is to just ignore the sets in this case.

We actually have a canon explanation for the Nuva’s green eyes in the Adaptive Armour. Their eyes are actually the same colour, but are covered by thin lenses to protect them from windshear. Yeah, Pohatu and Lewa also have those visor things, but those could just as easily be HUDs as protective visors.

Mazeka is a weird case, since he has green eyes instead of the Ko-Matoran blue. Maybe his eyes were altered when he was rebuilt?

And the final weird one that I can think of right now is Mata Nui himself, who has green eyes whenever he’s possessing a giant robot, but had blue eyes as a Glatorian. I honestly have nothing for this one, other than maybe the Ignika gave Mata Nui blue eyes as a tribute to Matoro? But then if that’s the case, then way were Toa Ignika’s eyes green? Like I said, I got nothing here.

But yeah, that’s my two, er, let’s go with 38, cents. Bionicle coloration is such a weird and honestly pointless topic, but I could go on for hours if I could find someone who’d care to listen.

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???

MNOLG_Matoran_Hewkii

And that’s not even counting same characters having different eye colors in various media, i.e. Turaga Vakama having orange eyes in the comics, pink eyes as a set and yellow eyes in MNOG, Macku and Gali Mata having blue eyes in the comics despite having yellow eyes in MNOG, on top of that 2003 Macku has green eyes in the box art, Ahkmou had blue eyes on Metru Nui, light orange eyes in MNOG (as opposed to most -but not all, i.e. Hafu- other Po-Matoran who had darker, almost red eyes) and then yellow eyes in MNOG2, Matoran Hahli having green eyes in the box art and yellow eyes in MNOG2 etc. etc.

The eye colors were never consistent to begin with and honestly it’s such a little pointless detail I don’t think it’s worth discussing it and trying to come up with in-universe explanations. Matoran/Toa/Turaga have different eye colors just as humans have different eye colors, that’s it.

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I’d say the sets take precedence in this case; it’s what other media is based on, and partially because MNOG and the comics are not even internally consistent. (There are many other examples.) This of course gets problematic with the Toa Metru/Turaga especially, as per the OP.

I’d personally say that their eye color can change whenever they are transformed or rebuilt, just like their armor color.

As for the eye-filter thing. Did a quick search and it seems that may have been a fan-theory? Its supposed purpose was to deal with the high-speed flight, as all the Mistika/Phantoka flew. Even so, the blue visor is part of the mask, not their eyes, and we don’t know what it does. On a similar note, I recall Takanuva’s eye color being caused by the virus that made him fly, but I don’t know if that was also a theory.

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The page for the Adaptive Armour on BS01 has a link to a conversation with Greg where he says the eye colour may have to do with filters in the masks. So, the info does come from Greg, but even then he was offering up a potential explanation and not a definitive statement.

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