Jeb's Bionicleanup 1: Voya-Nui Arc

An interesting brain exercise I sometimes partake in is taking a story from a movie, game, or book and seeing if I can rework it to be better or make more sense, and Bionicle is a story I have done this for many a time. While I continue to hold that the overall story outline is a masterpiece with the themes it tackles and the way it was built up and presented over the years, once you dive into the nitty-gritty of the novels, serials, etc… that’s where things start to get a bit messy.

Let me preface this by saying I mean absolutely no disrespect to Mr. Farshtey; many of the characters and plot points he introduced were fascinating to see and consider, and writing an entire legacy like Bionicle must have been unbelievably taxing. With that being said, some of the story choices he made were bizarre, inconsistent and strangely goofy. He actually wrote dialogue in one of the later books where Lewa tells Tahu to not be “such an ash” and that almost made me drop the entire series.

So, I’m going to put myself in the role of Bionicle’s story revisionist and see if I can make some suggestions that would improve the story, beginning with 2006’s Voya Nui Arc.

  1. Title - Major props to Farshtey for two incredibly well thought out story titles for 2007/8: Downfall and Rising, both having multiple story implications. Downfall references the descent of the toa to the Pit, Mata-Nui’s downfall (death), and Matoro’s downfall into Karda-Nui during his shining moment, while Rising references the Nuva’s taking to the sky and Mata-Nui’s rising upon awakening. For this year the best we got was Island of Doom; I would recommend a title to match the two following, such as Into the Fire, referencing Karzahni, heading to VN, and the Ignika lava chamber. Also references the start of the “Ignition” theme.

  2. Jovan - While I love Jovan’s backstory of leading a team to get the Ignika, his story mentions a) his team went to Karda-Nui (where the energy storms should have still been active, as MN had not been shut down, just weakened) and b) a member of his team was sacrificed to heal MN. I had always thought Matoro sacrificed himself as MN had already died, and an entire life was necessary to resurrect him. If a sacrifice was just part of the job and SOMEONE had to do it, it almost completely invalidates the action. I’d suggest Jovan led his team, got the Ignika, used the Ignika in the chamber which all but exhausted his energies to heal MN, he gave up the little remaining power to become a turaga as he completed his destiny, and his fellow toa leave for other lands, spreading the legend of his deeds. Makes Jovan way cooler, keeps Matoro’s sacrifice impressive.

  3. NO NUVA - I get Farshtey wanted to establish the Piraka as a threat, but having these SUPER toa be taken out so easily doesn’t make sense. They already had a fallout with the Bohrok-Kal, they really didn’t need another. Also consider: Vezon arrived in a toa canister. The piraka arrived in toa canisters. The Nuva arrived in canisters. The Inika arrived in canisters. This means 19 toa canisters are junking up the beach of Voya-Nui. I’d say Dume wanted Nuva to go, other turaga said no, Matoro tells Jaller, Inika leave in secret w/ Takanuva, Nuva stay behind. I’d also suggest the Ignika leads Vezon to some teleportation device to Voya-Nui to get there quicker.

  4. Karzahni - This dreadful island being next door to Metru-Nui is absurd, especially since it would be in the way of anyone hoping to get to Metru-Nui. I’d imagine there would be matoran-transporting chambers set up throughout the universe so they would be able to travel to Karzahni and be repaired quickly, but that would only transport matoran. Keeps story similar (leaves Takanuva behind) while keeping Karzahni near the bowels of the Universe where it should be.

  5. Irnakk - Love the concept of this character, but have one issue: his power. If this being was a legend made to keep the skakdi in line, having the threat of “he makes your worst fears true!” is pretty childish and silly. Find it hard to believe brutish warriors would take that seriously, much less be scared of it. The religious equivalent, the concept of hell (eternal suffering for past actions) brought an idea to me; what if he made you experience all the pain you’ve ever inflicted in your life? Every time a skakdi would be tempted to injure or kill, in the back of their mind they’d be hesitant, “if Irnakk catches me this will add to the pile!” It’d just make more sense to me.

  6. Umbra - So some guy is just eternally standing on the stairs as a guardian? Why not make him like Irnakk, a physical manifestation meant to test intruders? He could use doubt instead of fear, making the toa think they weren’t ready and making them question everything. He wouldn’t be able to be defeated until the toa had unwavering will and didn’t have a shadow of doubt remaining… Eh? Eh?

  7. Kardas - So Vezon wields the spear of fusion, his second form is a combiner model… and it’s just a form change? :grimacing: MMkay, how about this: Vezon (& Fenrakk) don’t have kinetic powers. They’re meant to be tough but overcome. Inika get upper hand. Brutaka, defeated in piraka fortress, opens gateway to chamber of life. Tries to rush Vezon but gets tackled by Axonn, also coming through gateway. Vezon, near defeated, gets idea. Rushes to pair, madly exclaims that it’s time they prove themselves as guardians, fuses them all together. Makes Kardas way scarier, makes Vezon’s shield-arm canon.

  8. Finale - So Inika bust out a zamor sphere that freezes V&K and they take the mask. YAWN-O-RAMA. How about they’re losing badly, spitball idea to freeze in protodermis, realize they wouldn’t be able to get mask. Decide on new plan: the toa send their energies into one special zamor sphere, make Vezon distracted by Matoro by Kongu (same as original story), Vezon gets Kardas ready to fire, Matoro gets struck by glowing zamor sphere as the blast comes toward him. While he is obscured at first, suddenly powerful blasts of ice can be seen repelling the attack. Matoro is shining with a golden glow.
    THE HERO MODE THEME STARTS PLAYING MAX VOLUME.
    After an epic beam battle Matoro manages to freeze V&K solid, Jaller melts away to the mask, Matoro retrieves it. Zaktan stops them, having faking his defeat by the piraka fusion, becomes a massive cloud of protodites, toa panic over how to defeat him. Kardas manages to blast through ice, mask dropped and sends out shockwave. Kardas is unfused, Zaktan is healed and whole again, masks ascends stairway.

I think the only plot point that would be dropped is the return of Krahka and the Tahtorak, which ends up being pointless anyway. What do you guys think? Do you agree with these suggestions? Are there suggestions you would make for this arc? Let me know below, and of course, thanks for reading!

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All right, a lot to discuss here. I like seeing topics like these, seeing people try to take Bionicle and improve it. And I think some of these work and some don’t, so I’ll go through them all.

Huh, never heard of these.

Honestly, I don’t have a strong opinion either way. I think “Island of Doom” and “Into the Fire” are both good names.

I kinda agree and kinda disagree.

On the one hand: I don’t see how removing Bob the Toa’s sacrifice (that’s what I’m going to call him now) invalidates Matoro’s sacrifice. Even if the mask only costs the user’s life if Mata Nui dies… he does die in 07. A sacrifice is still necessary. Plus, we wouldn’t have the whole comparison where Bob was afraid to die but Matoro wasn’t, and only wanted to save his teammates.

On the other hand, I have one major issue with Bob’s sacrifice: who the heck is Bob??? We learn nothing about him in the story, not even his element or name. Why does Matoro get shrines and dedications and legends and Bob gets a footnote?

So, with that in mind, here is what I would do:

Bob, Jovan, and the other guy who wore the olmak(Jeff) go to get the ignika(Bob wore the Elda). Bob sacrifices himself to save the world. Jovan becomes a Turaga and shares Bob’s legend with the Voyatoran, and Jeff promises to spread it to the rest of the world… but he gets killed before he can because the Makuta want to take his olmak. Years later, the Inika come to Voya Nui, they learn of Bob’s sacrifice, and then the legend of Matoro AND Bob gets spread to the rest of the world. Also we get a name for Bob (and maybe Jeff, but that’s less necessary)

I’d argue they did, and the two were very different:

  1. the defeat by the Kal was only temporary, and they went on to beat the KAl in the end.
  2. The defeat by the Kal happened when they had no elemental powers, and were still overconfident and reckless (especially Tahu). The Piraka go up against the Toa Nuva who are a competent team now and have their full powers.

And that’s an issue?
Either they got brought back with the island (at the very least Avak’s probably was, since he hauled it ashore), and can be used again by someone else, or they got left in the sea of Aqua Magna, and the Matoran can just make more if they’re needed (and they really wouldn’t be, their main unique feature was getting into/out of the Robot, anyone else can use a boat)

Dume: “The entire universe is at stake, we must send the Toa Nuva to Voya Nui.”
The other Turaga: “Nah, let’s not do that for some reason.”
Takanuva: “Okay, I’ll take a bunch of Matoran instead.”

Yeah, you’d need a really good reason for the Toa Nuva to just stay in Metru Nui – and an even better reason for the Matoran to go. In the original, Jaller and co just hoped to help the Toa, until they became Toa themselves. Here, though – if it’s so dangerous that the Nuva won’t go, what do Jaller and co expect to achieve alone? They aren’t expecting to become Toa. Sure, Takanuva’s with them at first, but still, one Toa and six Matoran is nothing compared to six Toa Nuva – and they lose Takanuva at Karzahni. Okay, granted at that point they can’t turn back, but then they should start trying to come up with a new plan or find new Toa, because six Matoran are NOT going to survive Voya Nui and get the Ignika.

I don’t think it’s that much of an issue. We know that there are multiple routes to Metru Nui, and multiple sea gates, so there’s definitely ways to get to Metru Nui without going anywhere near Karzahni. Plus, Karzahni should be somewhere central, to get Matoran from all over. I’d make it a point in the story that Jaller and co only used the one that led to Karzahni because it was the only one that was open – the Mangai closed the rest under Teridax’s orders. Perhaps the Dark Hunters used the one to Karzahni because they’re the few people brave enough to go by that place.

Oooh, now THIS I like. We could see the Piraka suffering the same pain they inflicted upon the Nuva, or other foes.

I don’t personally care whether he’s a real guy or a manifestation like Irnakk. However, I do like your proposal of making him use doubt; otherwise, Umbra is just “some guy you have to defeat to prove you’re worthy”, which works but is cliche as anything.
(Also, why is there only a physical guy on one route down the 777 stairs? The Piraka never face him)

Why remove their kinetic powers? They’re still defeated with the kinetic powers, so they can still be meant to be “tough but overcome”.

I’m a bit torn on this

Pros: it makes sense that Vezon is supposed to be defeatable, having him rise up stronger after every defeat is a little strange. But here, he does something unexpected.
Cons: So Brutaka wants the Mask of Life, can open a portal to it anywhere at any time… and doesn’t until Axonn defeats him?

Why not have Jaller try to blast him with Fire, and it backfires (pun intended), because while Vezon is supposed to be defeatable, you’re supposed to defeat him by being smart, and not just throwing power at him.

This is pretty cool (pun intended), and I think it works well as an epic finale, but there’s three things I must bring up:

  1. it’s a little silly if they all just stop during the fight to charge up a sphere. I’d make it so that Axonn made them do this beforehand, as a last resort
  2. suggestion: they charge it up with some of their Toa Power, making it function similarly to the Nui Stone.
  3. Why does Matoro glow gold? I get the meta reason for it – rule of cool, connection to the video game – but story-wise it seems a little bizarre, and makes Matoro seem a bit too special too early in the story.

Why would the Ignika just randomly cure Zaktan? Personally, I’d have him be “cured” by the pit mutagen – or just not cured at all.

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Appreciate the responses, very insightful stuff here! I’ll work through as much as possible without making my reply too long:

My reasoning is that Mata-Nui hadn’t died during the Civil War, but a sacrifice was still necessary. The fact that it’s a requirement for a sacrifice every time MN is struggling takes away how special and noble Matoro’s action was, as if he didn’t, someone else would have to, regardless of whether or not MN was dead or not. It seems very strange that the same circumstances would be required for a MUCH less serious situation.

My nitpick on this wasn’t with not being able to further use the canisters, but rather the absurdity of so many canisters coming to the same island.

Perhaps Dume read in the stars that Voya Nui was lost to the seas above, and predicted the toa may not return; therefore the turaga were apprehensive of losing all of the toa. Jaller assembles a team of what he believes are the best-equipped matoran for the job they may not return from, and Takanuva and Matoro insist to come as well.

Huh, I was not aware of this, but that makes a lot of sense. Nice. Still don’t like Karzahni being so close to the head though.

Exactly, always seemed strange to me.

True, but it was a defeat that “killed” them and led to the next form. The kinetic power seems strangely overpowered, and they just end up losing it anyhow.

Perhaps Zaktann had convinced him that he had information from a source (Makuta) and convinced him he was planning to make the universe right since Mata-Nui couldn’t. Brutaka trusts them until his defeat, where he takes drastic measures in a fit of rage and desperation. Just spitballing, Brutaka’s motives were always strange to me.

Maybe they were passing it around and taking turns in the heat of battle? Keep things exciting

Cool, sounds interesting

Just as a cool reference to Bionicle Heroes. Being a major function in the game and the inspiration for the title it would be neat to see it cross over.

Fair, but then again he made a pseudo-sacrifice on the way to the chamber (which I would have taken out, totally unnecessary foreshadowing)

Make him not a threat for the toa anymore. But that comment just made me realize: being protodites saves him from Makuta and lets him join his brothers to become the GSB… guess that’s a no-go.

How does that make Matoro’s sacrifice less noble? What’s the alternative; if Matoro didn’t do it, no one else had to? Then what was the point of Matoro doing it in the first place?

What makes Matoro’s sacrifice so noble isn’t the fact that he did it; it’s the fact that he did it selflessly and without fear.


While we’re talking about changing the 2006/2007 story, here’s something I’d add:

I’ve never liked how Toa Inika/Mahri were “special” Toa, with super special unique circumstances befalling them twice. I’d much prefer if the story took advantage of pre-established “rules”, rather than coming up with whatever new ones were convenient to help the Toa.

In 2006, this would mean becoming Toa through standard Toa Stones/Toa Power, perhaps still from the Red Star, or maybe Toa Stones in the canisters. In 2007, they would be mutated by the Pit Mutagen.

Of course, these changes would also require other slight tweaks to their background.

If the Toa Inika are standard Toa, then they wouldn’t have organic Kanohi or Lightning powers. I’m fine with getting rid of the organic Kanohi entirely, but their Lightning powers affected the story too much to just get rid of them. To fix this, I’d just say that the Lightning came from their Toa Tools, rather than the Toa themselves.

Then, if the Toa Mahri were mutated by Pit Mutagen, that no longer explains how their masks and weapons were changed. I’d fix this by simply saying that they found their new masks and weapons in the same weapons cache as the Cordak Blasters.

These changes to both years would have allowed us to avoid any questions regarding standard shapes of their masks, as well as merge the story better with the rules set forth in previous story.

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Yeah, I don’t know if I’m communicating myself well on this point. My gripe is I wish sacrifice wasn’t part of the job, it was an unforeseen complication that Matoro still does without hesitation.

I feel somewhat similarly… I do think the organic masks are unnecessary, but I do like the uniqueness of their powers. Spices up the story a bit, don’t want to let things get stale.

Or were onboard a sub to take them down the cord… but I’ll get to my '07 cleanup down the line :wink:

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Well, canisters are the only way to reach the island, aside from going up to Mata Nui or teleporting. The Piraka used them so they could pass as Toa, and they were using canisters we already knew were there. I do agree it makes sense to change Vezon’s arrival method, though, since his canister kinda came out of nowhere.

Ok, I see, so basically expendable Matoran?

“What are we, some kind of Suicide Squad – wait no that’s the Federation of Fear.”

In that case, I’d just leave Takanuva behind, since A) he’s hardly expendable, and B), he doesn’t complete the journey anyway.

I think it works well with the whole idea that “you have to be smart to beat Vezon” thing. You can still defeat him – dropping him in lava is one way, but there’s a ton of others – but you aren’t going to manage by just hitting him very hard.

I actually agree, the pseudo sacrifice makes the actual sacrifice lose some of its impact.

(Side note: I want to know what would’ve happened if the Piraka went into that “one of you must die” room instead)

Honestly, I figured you would’ve taken out his survival in your rewrite and just say the GSB only had five Piraka.

Something that made me realize: the Toa Inika beat the Piraka in like five seconds after the Ignika flew off. Yeah, it was temporary, just holding them for a moment… but the Piraka can totally do the same, in fact Thok can do it on his own. So I would make it so that the Ignika left a surge of energy in its wake that stunned them for a moment when it flew off.

I shall look forward to this.

Actually, I just realized we could have this with your proposal about Jovan using the mask and not dying. He doesn’t have to die, he just has to be afraid to die. Since Mata Nui was so close to death, using the Ignika taxed Jovan so much that he thought he was going to die, and he was afraid, but Matoro isn’t.

Minor nitpick: the Mask of Life transforming people technically was established, with Fenrakk and the Protodax.

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True, but I also wanted a reason to get rid of the non-standard masks, as well as the fact that it doesn’t really make sense for the Ignika to turn their non-living weapons into different non-living weapons. Plus, mutation could explain some of the odd features of the Toa, such as Hahli’s wings and Kongu’s big head, as well as remove the convenience of the Ignika being nearby at the same time the Toa emerge from The Cord.

Really cool thread! A lot to discuss here.

I actually kind of like this change, but I’m of two minds on this. I think there’s dramatic story potential either way, and they ultimately result in the same sort of tension being introduced, but you can take your pick.

  1. Jovan healed Mata-Nui long ago in the manner described above. He chose to remain behind on Voya Nui to protect and guide the Matoran, and his use of the Ignika remained in legend. The Inika learn of Jovan and his legend along their journeys and, upon arriving on Voya Nui, seek Turaga Jovan out in hopes of learning from him how to use the Mask of Life. Eventually, though, they discover Jovan was killed a long time ago (subtle foreshadowing of Mahri Nui) and are left to figure out how to achieve their goal themselves, all the while wondering if they can live up to Jovan’s legend.

OR

  1. Bob is the legendary Toa. The Toa come to Voya Nui, having heard of Bob and his deeds, as well as the Turaga that was once his leader. They seek out Jovan in hopes of learning more, but again, he’s dead and they must learn for themselves. This way, if the sacrifice is kept, the Toa could slowly learn about how Bob was afraid to die and wasn’t true to his duty. This could feed into the doubts the Toa have (“we were just Matoran a few days ago, do we have what it takes to see this mission through?”), and especially feed into Matoro’s self-doubts (“I’m not a warrior or a leader or a hero. How could I ever be expected to make a sacrifice?”).

I kind of agree with @Willess12 on this one. The Nuva have to be involved.

Not only does it show them acting as a cohesive, working team (which is just fun), it does a lot to prove how dangerous the Piraka are and how important the mission is.

Consider this as well: to the Turaga and Matoran of Metru-Nui, the Toa Nuva are practically the only Toa left. If Mata-Nui is dying, who else would there be to send?

And it makes the Inika’s bravery and resolve that much more potent when they succeed where the Nuva didn’t. And it should be noted too that the Inika aren’t more powerful than the Nuva, but it was their drive, determination, and spirit that allowed them to succeed.

The comparisons between the Nuva and Inika and the respect grown between them is a very important part of the '06 story. The entire emotional core is that you don’t need to be a destined hero or physically strong to do what’s right; the Toa Inika succeed mostly because of their humble Matoran traits and not because they’re special.

Agreed. A simple change, but a nice one.

Something that goes very well with the other tests along the stairs (like the visions of Lhikan and Vakama).

And it would be an even better change if the previous ones to Jovan or Bob were included. Having expectations and legends and doubt hanging over the Inika as they descend the stairs is not only interesting but relatable to a lot of people.

I actually think it helps that Vezon becomes “undefeatable.”

I propose this:

  • The Mask of Life made Vezon its guardian, but only out of desperation and fear. To do so, it gave him great powers (kinetic powers, the ability to become stronger when defeated, etc.)
  • The Mask acts on instinct, and is fallible. It needed a guardian in Vezon, but once Matoro arrived on the island, the Mask wanted to be free of Vezon. However, it had accidentally made Vezon too powerful, thus trapping the Ignika with him.
  • The final battle then becomes not only trying to overcome an unstoppable enemy, but also to free the Ignika from its oppressor “guardian.” The Ignika longs to be free, but can’t keep its powers from fueling Vezon. The Toa eventually find a way to outsmart Vezon and his powers and “rescue” the Mask. Of course, this is all revealed once Kongu uses his mask power to read the Ignika’s mind.

I agree with this. I even think the moment where Matoro fake dies on the stairs also makes him a bit too special too early.

Matoro’s “special” moment in the final battle is already that the Ignika only allows itself to be taken by him. At this point, only Kongu really knows why this is.

How the Toa defeat Vezon really doesn’t matter to me. I’m fine with how it happened in canon, and these suggestions are okay too.

I would prefer this, actually:

  • We’ve already had a massive boss fight against super-powered Hakann and Thok. We don’t really need one against super-powered Zaktan.
  • But, instead of the Ignika just flying away and dunking itself into the ocean (which is dumb and a bit contrived), it would be cooler if “Protodite Cloud” Zaktan stole the Ignika from Matoro at the last second and flew back up the staircase. Same exact sequence of events as in canon, with the Mask eventually getting knocked into the water. This way the Mask is at least lost in a struggle with the Piraka instead of it just noping out of there.

I’m not sure about this mostly because I like that the Toa Mahri have to learn and adapt to their new masks. The moments in the story where they try and use their old powers only to discover they have totally new ones helped with the hopeless feeling of '07.

I do agree with cutting back on the special circumstances, though. The Pit Mutagen is a totally reasonable explanation for how the Inika became the Mahri.

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It was able to generate a manifestation of a hand to Matoro while the latter was in Karzahni and it was in Voya Nui, a distance that is most likely several miles.

I don’t think it matters if the Ignika is “nearby”.

I’d be down for it t9 be a movie. Post here when it’s finnished

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Hehehe True

Honestly that’d have probably ended their run right there :sweat_smile: Or they’d try to cheat and just kill one of their members

Really like this, great suggestion.

Love both of these, adding into slow realization and doubt towards the end-goals, really good stuff.

You know, that quote may have completely 180’ed my opinion, very well put. Missing the dynamic between the teams and seeing them pass the torch so to speak would be a major miss-out.

Pretty fascinating theory, very cool.

What a great idea. The stairway is the only time we see the mask use any sort of autonomy, other than when it makes itself a body; otherwise it always comes off as helpless and being passed around. Zaktan swiping and making off with it for Makuta is a great fix for this, even though that may keep Kardas from being a fusion.

Honestly I would love nothing more than to be able to create/help in creating movies for the remaining Bionicle chapters, but I would rather them be made as impressive as possible. At the time I definitely don’t have the resources for that, so for now I’ll just contribute what I can :grin:

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so, i just read this and i am annoyed that there is no piraka rap in this.
shame on you. /s

That’s the end credits. Or better yet the anime opening

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i renounce all the shame.

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