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.