As the first cleanup post I made was for the Voya-Nui arc, I’m sure many of you were expecting me to jump into the following Mahri-Nui arc right after. The truth is it’s been many years since I read the books for this year and 2008, and while I have a good grip on the overall storyline through the comics, I’ll need to do a refresh of these years before I make final decisions on my revisions and how they will play out. I had the best understanding of the Voya-Nui arc and had lots of ideas for it, so I decided that would be a good starting point to kick off; but knowing how beloved 2007 is and how divisive any changes for that arc will be, I definitely need to make sure I’m well-versed beforehand.
So, in the meantime, let’s do something much, much easier: the Mata-Nui Arc. The Golden Years. 2001-2003, Bionicle’s big start. To be perfectly honest I think these are some of the most solid years story wise, and there is not too much I would change from these arcs overall, which is why I’m grouping them all together. Most of my suggestions will just be slight tweaks to make the story flow a bit better… except for one arc, but we’ll get to that. Without further ado, let’s jump into 2001-2003’s Mata-Nui arc.
Quest for the Masks
Tahu and Kopaka– Though the relationship between these two has become loved by the fans, and seemingly by Greg Farshtey himself, we really didn’t get a whole lot of their interactions until the later years of Bionicle. The recent trailer for the upcoming game Quest for Mata Nui shows Tahu and Kopaka crossing swords at one point, and I loved the idea of this. They could be the first two toa to meet; Tahu asks him if he’s one of the toa the turaga mentioned, and Kopaka silently regards him, seeing how he will react and analyzing his fighting style, personality, etc. Tahu gets enraged and challenges him, which is eventually is broken up by the rest of the toa joining them. Tahu starts off disliking Kopaka’s attitude, Kopaka dislikes Tahu’s brashness and doesn’t completely trust him yet.
Later on, Kopaka could be spying on Tahu to confirm his suspicions. Tahu gets into an intense fight with a rahi (Kane-Ra maybe?) and after finally taking it down, he raises his sword to unleash a powerful blow to the fallen enemy out of anger. Kopaka readies himself to step in and stop him, but Tahu realizes it’s wrong and stops. He tells the rahi he knows it’s not actually attacking him of its own will, and removes the mask(s) to be purified so the rahi can be healed. Kopaka, satisfied, sheaths his sword and either leaves with new respect, or approaches Tahu and commends his actions.
Finale – So from what I’ve seen, out of the two finales for this year we received (Tale of the Toa and MNOG), the MNOG ending is what has been confirmed as canon, which I much prefer anyhow. The shadow toa felt a bit cliché, and a direct confrontation with Makuta is much more earned and impressive for the year, even if it’s an illusion from him.
One thing I would change is the Manas battle. In MNOG, toa descend Kini-Nui, immediately become kaita (???) and defeat a large group of manas by destroying “control towers” as a reference to their remote controls, which are rewritten in-story as “heat pillars” that keep them active. I do prefer the TotT fight where there are only two, but their strength and intelligence make them too difficult to overcome, leading to the toa becoming kaita. Cut out the pillars entirely, I get why they did it but it’s too convenient and makes for an unimpressive fight. I would love to see a brutal Fireclaw-esque (Horizon Zero Dawn anyone?) fight where the Manas would use their environment, creating shields of rock and throwing/crushing with them to show how brutal they are, but being smart enough to employ tactics.
Beware the Bohrok
Lewa’s infection – Lewa was taken control of by an evil mask (krana) and Onua had to save him. Just. Like. Last. Year. Yes, it’s humorous for the fans, but frankly that’s just bad storytelling, having the literal exact same situation happen in the story again.
In all promotional media for this year the hau and a krana xa are used, and in the story images at the back of the bohrok instructions, it is Tahu who is infected. I think this is a much better choice, especially with my previous suggestion. Kopaka could face off against the infected Tahu, who (wearing a xa) commands other bohrok to attack. After Kopaka manages to take them all out, Tahu attacks with a powerful blast of fire. Having fought Tahu already, this is far stronger than any attack he hit Kopaka with before…making him realize he was holding back during their first fight. He tells Tahu that he realizes this, and that Tahu is so much stronger in strength and will than the xa and can overcome it, just like Onua with Lewa. Tahu overcomes the will of the krana, takes it off and flames it. Relationship and trust further solidified.
Love is Canon – Yeahhh, you all saw this coming I’m sure. Farshtey stated Macku couldn’t love Hewkii and Jaller couldn’t love Hahli because there would be no reason for matoran to love. But then again, they also developed culture, sports, music, slang… all unnecessary for the tasks they were designed to do. They developed, became more like their creators. Additionally, Farshtey is coming at this point on the basis that love only exists for the purpose of reproduction. A family can love their pet, a man can love another man, a woman can love another woman, despite having no connection to reproduction. Even if it was meant to be reproductive-associated love, matoran were based off the agori, and were meant to emulate them. Considering male and female matoran exist, having them develop similar feelings, even if they don’t fully understand them, seems only natural.
- The Nuva Symbols and their Power – Alright, here we go, time for some real cleanup. Original story: Nuva symbols are directly connected to Nuva’s powers. Removing them from their village shrines completely removes Nuva’s powers. HAAAAAhahahaaa, wha-ha-hat?? What kind of nonsense is that? ALL of their powers are dependent on some symbol staying in one place??
Take a look at this page taken straight out of the Kal’s instruction booklets:
Based on this, Kal enter cube chamber. Defeat exo-toa. Gahlok-Kal places symbol on cube. Cube begins to glow red as symbol (connected to Tahu’s power) begins to siphon the power of fire from Tahu. Up above, Tahu’s color begins to drain to represent this. Lewa (STILL PERFECTLY FINE) puts a hand on his shoulder in a “You alright mate?” gesture.
This way (which I STRONGLY believe was the original and superior storyline) though the symbols are connected to the Nuva’s power, it is not until they are placed on the cube that their powers become drained, showing their true purpose of acting as keys to use the elements to undo the seal, originally made with the same elements.
I get Farshtey probably wanted to put the Nuva in a dire situation, but having their new powers immediately be taken is just disappointing and done in a ridiculous way, and having them lose even with their full newfound powers would be even more shocking and exciting.
- Nuva – Kal War – So in original story, Tahnok takes Tahu’s symbol, Tahu leaves with Jaller and Takua to gather remaining toa, who they find have also lost powers. Eventually confront kal, who have no idea where Bahrag are (???) and of course beat the powerless toa.
I’d suggest Kal awaken in nest, cannot get to Bahrag chamber (as it was closed back and they need all krana to reopen it) so instead will need to utilize secret passage to Bahrag from the Kini-Nui. If you look at some of the promotional material, it can be seen that the Nuva and Kal are fighting at the Kini-Nui temple:
Gahlok-Kal takes Tahu’s symbol to see if it will assist in freeing the Bahrag. Tahu tries to stop it but it gets away. Tahu send signal to other toa to meet at Kini-Nui to discuss potential new threat. Jaller and Takua come along (Takua probably wanted to document, Jaller wanted to know of new threat as well). Shortly upon meeting, toa are confronted by approaching Kal. They introduce themselves, tell of their plan to unleash the swarms again, say it’s Mata-Nui’s will, suggest they stand aside. Tahu is seething. “You break into my village, steal my symbol, threaten my island, and tell me to stand aside?!” Nuva leap into action, but the coordinated attacks of the Kal perfectly counter the toa. Eventually they are knocked out, and Kal descend Kini-Nui. Add Tahu’s symbol to cube, power is siphoned. The toa don’t know exactly what’s going on, but realize it’s connected to the symbols, and realize direness of situation.
Tahu Vs. Pahrak-Kal – Small suggestion, but allows for a fun Jaller & Takua moment. Toa have rushed to apprehend Kal before they can steal remaining symbols; Tahu, only toa with no powers, has tracked down Pahrak-Kal and is being blown off just like original story. Jaller confronts Tahu, makes him realize his actions are foolish, Pahrak-Kal takes the time to laugh and mock Tahu. Mid-sentence Takua, who has snuck behind Pahrak-Kal, gives a “hup” and flips open his shield. Pahrak, after taking a second to process what just happened, whips around to attack, Jaller knocks out krana with disk. Three begin celebrating when a Tahnok-Va recovers krana and puts it back.
Finale – So, original: Kal are about to unlock Bahrag. Tahu uses Mask of Time, freezes time. Toa try to stop Kal, but krana are putting up a shield because… Deus ex Machina? Gali comes up with new plan, they send powers through symbols to Kal, Kal are essentially all KILLED, toa win. So… the Mask of Time was pretty much pointless. Awesome.
Suggestion: Kal actually succeed in placing remaining 5 symbols on cube (done at same time) and free the Bahrag and the swarms. Tahu calls MoT from his suva and actually manages to rewind time by about 30 seconds. Bahrag are resealed, and Kal remove 5 symbols from cube (this is time going in reverse). The Nuva (bar Tahu) swipe the symbols from the Kal, and Pohatu kicks Tahu’s symbol from cube toward him. He reaches to reclaim it… and it is pulled into the magnetic grasp of Gahlok-Kal. Tahu rushes to attack with his regained powers, but Gahlok-Kal now has a shield covering it. The other Kal reclaim the symbols, protected by shields of their own. The toa are baffled by how they are doing this, but Gali recalls seeing this power before. She turns to see the eyes of the Bahrag glowing behind the seal: they are sharing their symbiotic powers with the Kal. Gives her idea: share our powers with Kal through symbols as well! Kal are defeated just like original story bar Lehvak-Kal, who explodes from an excessive amount of stored air (see Bohrok-Kal animations). Kal are defeated, krana live, toa capture them and have them locked away (allows them open to potentially return later in the story). Gives shields a proper explanation, gives MoT a shining moment, makes a much more narratively interesting and intense final battle.
Mask of Light
- The Path you Walked – Only suggestion for this arc: don’t make the path Takua and Jaller take guided by the mask be seemingly random. Make it take the two to landmarks that have them reminisce on past heroics and adventures, making the audience slowly begin to process that there may be more to the journey than originally seemed. Lead them to Ga-Koro, where they remember the tarakava and pahrak battles, the rama nest where Takua saved the Le-matoran, finally ending at the grand stand at Kini-Nui. Minor additional change: also make MoL prophesy state seventh toa will lead matoran against Makuta, rather than awaken Mata-Nui. That’s the Nuva’s job.
And I think that just about does it. I tried to keep the suggestions from altering the overall plot and future storylines at all if possible, and I think if anything these have only expanded upon possibilities, so I am happy with how these turned out. 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!