Three Brothers; Character Development and Defining the Antagonists’ Roles [Pitch, Characters, Plot]

Three Brothers; Character Development and Defining the Antagonists’ Roles

TL;DR- Giving Makuta a better connection with Ekimu and fixing some story holes, making him a more interesting narrative villain with character development throughout the story. Defining Karzahni as the “force-of-nature” villain role, so we don’t have a re-hashed/weaker main villain.

(Warning ya’ll now, this is going to be long, so brace yourselves.)
Ok, so I’ve been noticing that people, including TTV, have been slowly shifting Makuta from the villain who had good intentions but is doing bad things to resolve it, to something closer to the Makuta from G1; jealous, power-hungry, and kind of sadistic. And while he can be selfish and want power, I feel like we’re losing a great opportunity to have an interesting antagonist.

First off, we need to make something clear; Makuta shouldn’t be “evil”, he is an antagonist. Antagonists initiate the plot to give our protagonists a conflict to react to, but they are not necessarily evil. Author Ben Bova once stated, “In the real world there are no villains. No one actually sets out to do evil… There are no villains cackling and rubbing their hands in glee as they contemplate their evil deeds. There are only people with problems, struggling to solve them."
So what are Makuta’s motivations in this story?
What has been developed of the Three Brother’s backstory so far, Makuta believed that sentient life should not be given to matoran, despite what Ekimu wanted. They argued, but came to the compromise to let them be as long as no more sentient races are created. The lightning tribe shows up, Makuta blames Ekimu, but then Karzahni is revealed to be really behind it, and they fight. Karzahni gets sealed away by the two brothers… then what?
The podcast #248 mentioned that Ekimu had mocked Makuta and now he’s bitter towards Ekimu, but that feels out of character for Ekimu who’s supposed to be an “artsy-fartsy” monk and advocates life.
So, how about this;
They had the huge fight, venting out their frustrations and did a number on the island. And while Makuta and Ekimu have some lingering feelings of distrust to each other, they have seen the truth with Karzahni’s betrayal and taken care of their chaotic brother.
However, their conflict still wrecked the island, and the Elemental Gods really don’t believe that their kinship will last. So, they send out the Toa to overthrow the brothers.
Ekimu is killed. While they had their fight, he’s still Makuta’s brother, and his death sets off Makuta. As he’s sealed away, he vows revenge against the Elemental Gods.
With this new detail, Makuta now has a justified reason to hate the Toa, and makes his spiral into villainy more convincing. Plus, this opens up character development later on; when Karzahni’s released, will he still fight the Toa, or will he possibly aid them against the monster who started the whole mess in the first place? Will he still try to remove the Matoran, or can he accept his brother’s wish and realize it is beyond his control?
So for Makuta; Ekimu’s death fuels his hatred to the Toa and elemental gods, and he wants to control the island to clean up the mistake of sentient life, which initiated the Three Brother’s downfall. With that one change, we went from jealous narcissist who had unclear motivations (like creating Voriki, because THAT totally made sense) to a character who failed to keep everything under control, who fights our protagonists with motivations that the audience can see are actually justified, and has potential to play a role past his final fight.

Now, onto Karzahni.


His role in the pre-story is fine, so there’s nothing to change there. What needs to be better defined is what type of villain he is.
This might already be a given, but Karzahni should be a “Force of Nature” type of villain, or at least leaning towards it. Force of Nature villains, for those who don’t know, are villains who are usually an embodiment of some aspect of reality. Unlike narrative villains who are driven by their own goals, needs and thoughts, F.O.N villains are not really characters, but let the protagonists confront some aspect they see within themselves, or provide a lens to an aspect of their world.
So in this case, Karzahni is an embodiment of chaos and insanity; similar to how The Joker operates. He is this primal force that exists to shatter the reality of the heroes and to reveal the horrors that lies beyond not just the Toa’s comprehension, but the audience as well.

In conclusion; I know these involve some major changes, but villains tend to define stories like these, and I would hate to see opportunity be lost here.

Leave your thoughts below; input is important here.



You have all of my ‘yesness!’ Why can’t I upvote more than once?!

I prefer this Makuta much more than any other version of Makuta I have seen (all 2 of them). G1 Makuta was an extremely good villain; ruthless, manipulative, completely malevolent. I don’t care about G2; therefore, I don’t care about G2 Makuta.

THIS Makuta is a much better antagonist not because he is like G1 Makuta (pure evil), but because he is completely justified in wanting to destroy the Toa. I could totally see him trying to converse with his dead brother, only to give up frustrated and alone.

As for Karzahni, I like the idea of him being insane (which is something that everyone here seems to universally agree on). I think that this insanity should be given paranoia and desperation. Maybe he foresees his own demise at the hands of unknown figures (details not too important), and he starts setting off cause-effect chain reactions to try to prevent it.



I love and agree with all of this, except Ekimu being dead. Makuta could believe him to be dead but I don’t think we should be to hasty in canonizing him as dead, we might want to use him later in the story.

Well there was some discussion in the comments of Eidolon that one possibility is Ekimu’s body would be dead, but his consciousness would go into the Mask of Creation and lay dormant until used. So he’d be technically still alive and be able to be brought back if needed.

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Also, remember that being dead doesn’t really affect the ability to bring someone back with artifacts like the Mask of Time.

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I don’t think Tahu should be able to do that. It seems too powerful compared to the rest.


Our Makuta is a complex character but he’s really not the type of person to be motivated by grief or jealousy, these types of emotions would be too petty for him.

It’s important to keep in mind that our version of Makuta is not a grounded down-to-earth villain that we can all relate to on some level. Hes the complete opposite of that, he’s a god who exists in a plane of reality beyond our comprehension, and therefore his motivations are not something that everyday people would feel.

This doesn’t mean that we cant understand where he’s coming from of course, but that is an important distinction.

When it comes to his feelings and beliefs he’s not so much driven by any personal slights, vendettas, or past scorns he’s endured. Rather, he’s motivated by an intense ideological belief that free will is inherently flawed. The biggest difference between Makuta and Ekimu is their sense of empathy.

Ekimu sees himself in the Matoran and therefore his empathy is rooted in a sense of mutual respect and compassion. He believes that the Matoran should have a right to choose their destiny and make their own decisions. His approach to overseeing his universe is that of a hands off experience and he thinks its wrong to interfere with the lives on Artakha.

Makuta also empathizes with the Matoran, but he isn’t delusional either. He is a very different type of being, and the Matoran are merely his creations built to work, serve, and cooperate. They were built to be expendable and easily replaceable. They were never meant to live or feel emotions and pain, and as such he views Ekimu’s “gift” as cruel, severe, and unforgivable. He believes in order, duty, and control. The more the Matoran run off script the further removed they will be from their duty and the role they were built for, and as such they must be eliminated and reset in order to re-establish control.

The reality is, though, that the Matoran were built to be expendable and as they continue to exist they will suffer the side effects that mortality brings and Makuta’s greatest regret is that he cannot save them. If Makuta had his way, the entire population of Arthaka would die quickly, painlessly, and with zero suffering. It is not his goal to cause the Matoran pain, pain is Ekimu’s creation, not his.

Imagine you’re playing Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty but then after a year or so of playing you slowly start to realize that everyone in the game is a real living person. That is the kind of crisis Ekimu has created.


Ah; this clarifies a lot of things, thank you Var.

With this characterization in mind, what is the difference between him and Karzahni as villains? Both are driven by intense ideological beliefs; if Makuta motives are of a deific status which are above trivial emotions and comprehension of normal beings, doesn’t this make Karzahni a bit of rehash of Makuta with a Lovecraft skin? :thinking:

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Karzahni has no ideology. He is a being of chaos and serves no goal except his own. Ekimu and Makuta work towards one common goal, Karzahni however works to usurp that goal and cause mischief and discord among his brothers. He breaks spirits and causes death because death is all he’s ever known due to the seemingly endless visions of destruction he endures every moment of his life.

His path of villianly has no basis in logic because his grip on reality isn’t all there. He’s completely different from the calm, collected, calculating, and manipulative Makuta. Karzahni is sadistic, twisted, and unpredictable. You’ve essentially already defined his character in your OP. Makuta has one goal and one goal only, and that’s to restore everything back to the way it was. He has no interest in interacting with the beings of Arthaka and is merely using them as tools to achieve his goal. Karzahni on the other hand wants to toy with them, make them suffer, make them feel, push the limits of their sentience just to see how much it takes to break them.

Where Ekimu and Makuta interpret their empathy in different ways, Karzhani completely lacks empathy.


Ok that makes sense; I was thinking that Karzahni had a drive for seeking truth and that would count as his “intense ideology”; but yeah these posts really clarified everything, thank you once again. :grin:

@DarkMaestro: I’d see Karzahni’s obsession with learning as a hobby, not so much a motivation. It would just give him the added bonus of being smart.

@IllustriousVar: I’d argue that Karzahni could also be manipulative, but in a much more subtle way. Since he has the Mask of Alternate Futures, I always assumed he would be able to see every reaction for every action, and he could use cause-effect to make his mischief appear as random chance, so that it would be almost impossible to connect anything to him.

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So Makuta is like the Auditors from Discworld? Cool, he needs to be in a dark robe.

So Ekimu is the person who sees the pet dog as a family member, Makuta sees animals as just lesser beings, and Karzahni is the kid with the magnifying glass burning ants and grasshoppers.


Hahaha, yeah that’s a great way to look at it.


A good comparison to what Makuta feels would probably be your own reaction to this recent article.

There’s probably some sympathy there gained from the humorous analogy to a human’s plight, but because you know it’s really just a machine that happened to wander into a fountain, the “suicide” isn’t something you actually empathize with.


I’d also like to note that right now we are only referring to Makuta’s perspective, not his methods.

In my opinion, part of the charm of Makuta is seeing his immense intellect housed in a limited, even weak, form, and still being able to pull off the impossible. A bit like Professor Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes. This requires being above normal motives.

I think it also involves the difference between sympathy and empathy.

Makuta is sympathetic, he recognizes your feelings from afar and would like to be able to stop watching you suffer, while Ekimu is empathic, he feels things with you, and wants to help you cope with your suffering.
As for Karzahni, he’s the player in @IllustriousVar 's grand-theft auto example, who doesn’t notice/doesn’t care that the NPCs are alive.