I.D. on the Guy in Malum's Box Art

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:


Zoomed Back Guy

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:

  1. I don’t have the eyes for this and don’t know what I’m doing.
    or
  2. It’s an amalgamation of several different pieces of artwork.

Here’s what my research ultimately resulted in:
Zoomed Back Guy Text

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 :stuck_out_tongue:. 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:

Kongu!

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. :+1: :heart:

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Very interesting, I too thought that they just made for the box art, but it makes sense that they would reuse other models

Edit: I could a hewkii mahri know that I think about it

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I can’t guess Why he is there, but he seems like a Special Force Skrall for me…
:thinking:

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I think he resembles horizontally inverted Hakann with this running pose. The spear is certainly added, 'cause I don’t remember any Bionicle character holding a spear like that on a box art (aside from Vastus). Blue line indicates spear.

Also, I think it actually looks like Pohatu Uniter’s spear. G2 existed in 2009.

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The mask looks a lot like a Great Mahiki to me and the torso seems to be the broad shouldered one from Kongu Mahri.

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I didn’t actually know about these mystery characters on the glatorian boxes till now (most of my bonkle boxes are in the basement collecting dust)

My first thought was that the guy sort of resembles Umbra, with the shared piraka legs, staff weapon, and trapezius spikes.

but, according to Willess12:

I’m looking for the original art now

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Upon closer inspection… Isn’t that head the same as Matau’s?

image

It appears to have the same extended crest on the back of the head.

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this is weird.
maybe it’s just an amalgamation of zaktan, kongu mahri, and a spear.

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EDIT: My friends at BMP have given me a bit of a pointer:

This is the original image used as the base for the box art photoshop file. There’s a much clearer view of this mystery man here.

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Most likely a prototype of another set. We can never be sure who, but I would think it’d Vastus because he has a polearm.

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I think that’s more of a coincidence, but a nice one. It’d be a neat retcon!

I was thinking it could be mirrored as well, albeit for Reidak. I dismissed it at the time because the legs still didn’t line up precisely, and there was still the issue of the Zamor Launchers largely obscuring the arm (although it’d be possible that someone else’s arm was edited onto it). Definitely agree that the spear is added on though, similar to the weapon in the Strakk-Matoro example.

I considered that as well, but I couldn’t find any art of his that really matched this. I currently think that the spear was added in post.

Now that’s some crispy art right there. Looking closer at that, along with @Rockho’s cleaned up image found here, it’s looking a lot more like Kongu Mahri. There’s of course the signature wide chest, and the lower legs are almost definitely Vahki legs to my eyes. The arm on the left looks like Kongu’s*, with the two “Zaktan spikes” possibly being the Cordak missiles stored there. And on that same left arm, the hand looks rather bulky, almost like a block colored Cordak Blaster. It still doesn’t completely line up with either of these pieces of Kongu Mahri artwork, but I’m willing to believe it might be preliminary artwork for him. That said, I’m not 100% sold on this theory, but I’m much more warmed to it than I was last night.

*I’m wavering on whether the lower arm on the Glatorian is the Metru leg piece, or if it’s an Inika leg piece. The former makes more sense if the Kongu Mahri theory is accurate.

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Honestly, that post was (literally a few days) before the discovery that Strakk’s figure is Mahri Matoro, so I’ll admit I was wrong

Kongu Malum
I think it’s clear it’s Mahri Kongu. You can make out the Cordak missiles, the Vahki legs, the dordak blasters, the same torso shape (you can even kinda see the hordika limb on the shoulder, and the holes through the metru leg arm)
Edit: you can even see the shape of the Zatth

Edit2: and the holes in the Metru hip and Metru chestplate on his hips

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Yeah, with the HD picture, it definitely looks like Kongu. Or rather, Kongu with a spear and some spikes

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I think you’re right actually. The pinholes on the right side of the mystery Glatorian line up too perfectly for it to not be that Kongu Mahri artwork. The pinholes in the abdomen area line up pretty precisely as well. Nice work!

Neat to have that cleared up after over a decade! Now what?

(Also edited the main post with this information, as well as with some deserved thanks.)

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Now we figure out who the other guy on Strakk’s box art is.

image

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Y’know, even before the Matoro revelation, that guy always did look like a Rahkshi to me… :thinking:

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And same for this guy on Kongus right (on Malums box art)
I can see some Shadow-Matoran feet used there

I’d argue that’s not the zatth, but the great mahiki, although the body is most certainly mahri kongu with random portions added.

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I now have a need to make MOCs of these characters.
Maybe some kind of core war veterans! :thinking:

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it would have been cool of they were easter egg hints to future characters

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