Whilst doing research for a different topic, I came across this post concerning the filler Glatorian behind Strakk on his box art. Prior to this, I had always assumed that this was just a silhouette created specifically for the artwork, not based particularly on anything prior. However, the post clearly shows that the silhouette actually belongs to Matoro Mahri’s box art. Yes, there are some detail changes, namely the frozen tree branch it’s holding, but other than that, it’s clearly Matoro. The leg and arm on the left side precisely match, and the pauldron on the right side matches. The claw on the right side matches in spite of the third digit in the middle. And honestly, I’d argue that the helmet, which I’ve always interpreted as being tri-pronged similarly to Metus’, might just be Matoro’s mask, only illuminated in such a way that it seems as though it’s tri-pronged.
After recovering from the shock of this, my mind started wondering about Malum’s box art, as he has his own mystery Glatorian behind him:
Like Strakk’s mystery Glatorian, I had assumed this was also created from scratch solely for his box art. But this revelation sent me down the rabbit hole. Could this guy as well be someone we know? The rest of the above-included thread didn’t provide any definitive answers to his identity, and a skim through these forums likewise didn’t produce any results, or at least any I could find. I’ve not checked other community outlets, like BZPower and Reddit, so if someone else has investigated this, I’d love to see what conclusion they came to!
But, failing all this, I did some digging of my own. And now, having referenced dozens of images of box art and promotional artwork, I’ve come to one of two conclusions:
- I don’t have the eyes for this and don’t know what I’m doing.
- It’s an amalgamation of several different pieces of artwork.
Here’s what my research ultimately resulted in:
I started my investigation with the linked thread’s suggestion that it might either be a prototype Tarix or Kongu Mahri. The Tarix thread I dismissed almost immediately, partly because it’d be impossible to prove, since we don’t have (as far as I’m aware) any real early prototype Glatorian aside for some near-finalized stuff, and because I just don’t think the graphic designer would really have access to those types of early files/assets. For Kongu Mahri however, there was some initial promise. The torso looks to be extremely elongated at the shoulders, suggesting this bit of Kongu Mahri art. However, that’s where the similarities end. Neither of the arms or legs match the pose struck in Malum’s box art, so I struck out Kongu Mahri as a candidate.
After this, I expanded my search to the rest of the 2007 box art. From this lot, Jaller was the only one that had any real promise. The Barraki and Titans didn’t have the right stance, and the Matoran and Hydruka don’t have the same poses available to them implied in Malum’s artwork. That left only the Mahri, and of them, only Jaller stood out as being a candidate. This bit of artwork of his struck me as being a likely candidate. The arm on the left in both pictures look good. The legs look pretty close, and Jaller’s unique chest piece could fit the upward angle of the chest in Malum’s artwork. But… that conclusion didn’t sit fully right with me either. For one, the arm on Jaller’s right doesn’t seem to have the same angle as the arm on the right side of the mystery Glatorian. Plus, the head doesn’t match Jaller’s either. But, the stance of the legs did get me thinking.
From here, I expanded my search beyond 2007. I immediately went to the Piraka, who I recalled had similar squatting poses to the mystery Glatorian. Add to that the foot on the right seems to end in three digits, and I thought I had sussed it out. Unfortunately, this was a dead end as well. All of them either didn’t have the right pose, or had their weapons largely obscuring their legs. I thought I might’ve been onto something with how the spikes on the Glatorian seem to bend at right angles like Zaktan’s do, but that was where the similarities ended. Nothing else from the 2006 range came close either, and besides for some oblong similarities between Hakann and Toa Ignika’s heads, nothing matched perfectly the same way it did for the Strakk-Matoro artwork.
So where does that leave us? Well… Earlier up thread I mentioned the possibility that Malum’s mystery Glatorian might be an amalgamation of several pieces of official artwork. But honestly? I don’t buy that. I severely doubt that someone would go to all the trouble of completely Frankensteining several different pieces of promotional artwork together just for a fuzzy, silhouetted background extra that no one in their right mind would look twice at, if the Strakk-Matoro example is anything to go by. If I had to put my money on anything, it would be that Jaller Mahri artwork, distorted just enough to throw doubt on the matter.
And that’s where I’ll have to leave it to the community to pick up, assuming there’s any interest in this at all. It’s a very niche topic, but if there’s one thing fandoms are good at, it’s finding, exploring, and tearing apart niches . Good luck hunting, fellow box art fans!
EDIT/UPDATE: Thanks to @Rockho and @Ghid for providing clear copies of the artwork, and @Willess12 for their keen eyes, it looks like this mystery has been resolved! As it was apparently long suspected, and I erroneously discounted, the mystery culprit all along was:
Thanks again to Rockho, Ghid, and Willess for helping put this mystery to bed, as well as everyone else who contributed to the discussion. It’s something I never would have put any thought into if it weren’t for that initial post several years ago, and now less than a day later, it’s been definitively resolved. I send you all my thanks and appreciation.