What if?

I just have to ask this mr Greg, I remember maniamac1613 once saying that if bionicle g1 if hadn’t been cancelled it could have rivalled DC, marvel or Star Wars, do you think this true, because in my opinion I feel he is very correct

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Oh, I don’t know about that. For one thing, it was cancelled in large part because of diminishing set sales, so the momentum had slowed down. While its mythos might have rivalled those things, there was no talk of major motion pictures or the kind of presence the iconic characters of those franchises have. I think it would have been a cult thing, but I don’t know that it would have risen much above that under the circumstances.


It practically is a cult following nowadays, since only it’s devoted fans cling onto it (including me). :stuck_out_tongue:


And me too :stuck_out_tongue:

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Maybe yes, maybe no. The analogy I have always used is Star Trek fandom, which thrived for years with no TV, or movies, or books or any Internet at all. Comes down to the passion of the fans and their desire to stay involved with the franchise.


Well I know for a fact that I’m staying for a while.

I have a lot of fan stuff in the works to do with this franchise so I’m not going anywhere anytime soon at the very least.

Not sure about everyone else :stuck_out_tongue:

But you lot will probably stick around for a while too, we managed almost half a decade with no Bionicle at all, I think we can last much longer.


I don’t mean for this to sound rude or patronizing, but I love when folks call him “Mr. Greg” :slight_smile:

Conceptually, sure; the fandom had some undeniable, rock-solid potential in its early years, and still does. A ton of lore and gracious interaction between creators and the fans will do that.

But on a distinctly popular scale? It’s highly unlikely that G1 would have ever reached the mania that accompanies Star Wars, Marvel Comics, Harry Potter, or the like. That’s not to say that an unbelievable amount of raving, remixing, and re-examining has occurred and continues to occur in the Bionicle fandom; it’s just that some of the fan communities that you mentioned are much, much larger. Think of these examples:

  • Allegedly, the premiere of The Phantom Menace in 1999 led to $293 million in lost productivity when over two million people decided to watch the film instead of come to work.
  • In the seventy-five years that Superman has been a phenomenon, DC Comics has seen 11 films, 5 television shows, 5 video games, 3 radio shows, and a freaking musical. Six of those on-screen adaptations have begun since Bionicle first hit shelves and the 'net in 2001.
  • In the late 1960’s, well before the internet or video recording allowed fandoms to thrive as they do today, Marvel Comics sold nine million comic books every month. Today, The Avengers is the fifth highest grossing film of all time with over $1.5 billion at the box office.

In the interest of honesty, I feel like I can say with near complete certainty that, at the moment, the Bionicle fandom doesn’t even register on the map. And it had over a decade to do so.

Don’t get me wrong: I love Bionicle as much as anyone, perhaps more so. I’ve been a member of BZPower, the TTV Message Boards, The BioMedia Project, and YouTube as a “biotuber” for several years now. I’ve worked on Bionicle websites, continuations, and fan projects. I’m writing a Bionicle musical. And yet I don’t think that Bionicle is in the right place at the moment to grow anywhere near as large as the franchises that you referred to. To be frank, that’s fine by me; sometimes, a smaller fandom that can maintain itself is stronger than the titan-sized ones that lack potential for strongly personable relationships.

I hope that it doesn’t seem like I answered a question that had already been resolved perfectly well by Greg, but I have heard this question a lot, and believe me, there have been times when I wished it were so as well.

Glad to hear it. We’re not going anywhere any time soon. :stuck_out_tongue:

Yeah, I really don’t think that that’s likely to happen, @Jellyflop. To return to the example of the Star Wars community, the tenacity of the die-hard fans to stick to the tale that they loved was incredible. Seriously. Between late 1983, when trilogy bookend Return of the Jedi hit theaters, and early 1991, when Timothy Zahn published the critically acclaimed and emotionally electric Heir to the Empire, there was nearly nothing as far as official Star Wars canon went for over six years. We had to last through July of 2011, when the last chapter of Sahmad’s Tale hit BionicleStory.com, through October of 2014, when the revitalized canon saw The Legend premiere for G2 at the NYCC. Further, we lucked out with Greg answering questions on the LMBs and having the file-sharing, video-sharing, mass collaborative applications of the internet at our disposal. The Star Wars community barely had home video.

Barring a major, unpredictable catastrophe, I fully expect that the Bionicle fandom will continue to exist until most of us have families, as well as possibly children of our own.


I kind of feel like you are comparing apples to oranges. SW had three major motion pictures to launch it, plus Marvel comic series … Superman and Batman have been around over 70 years … the Marvel characters have been around since the '60s … Harry Potter had a best-selling and heavily marketed novel series.

BIONICLE, on the other hand, was a toy line, a few DTV movies, a comic series only available to Club members, and a novel series that had virtually no marketing behind it. Imagine BIONICLE with any of the advantages listed above, and it could be as big as any of those things. It’s not now because it didn’t have those advantages, some by conscious choice, some because it just didn’t happen that way. But I personally don’t think it’s impossible for it to happen – as you pointed out with Star Wars, that was widely considered a dead license for years, but when it came back with new movies, it came roaring back. If you had a G3 backed by a major motion picture, who knows what could happen?


I agree with Greg here.

Not that I’m sure a G3 would happen. And if it did come back with a movie let’s hope it was not like that troll “envisioned” XD

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Well, perhaps. While the specific franchises that we’ve discussed all had a ton of advertising and media backing, G1 did as well: two websites, significant promotion in LEGO stores, video games, DTV films, McDonald’s toys,almost a dozen interactive contests, and at least one billboard in Times Square.

Sure, that may have been gravely lacking on the advertising front in comparison to Star Wars, but it’s huge for a toyline. The G1 era of Transformers was on a similar level, and it became immeasurably popular on a level that Bionicle has never achieved. Additionally, The Phantom Menace made its debut after sixteen years of no new films, a serious detriment that Bionicle G2 noticeably lacked.

Maybe Bionicle does have that potential; I could be surprised, proven wrong despite my research and conjecture here. I’d be open to that; heck, I’d love that! But historically, franchises based upon subsets of a toyline are able to attain cult status at best. System-based films such as The Lego Movie and the upcoming Ninjago film are different, as they have immense popular appeal already. So did the Star Wars films, as well as Marvel’s heroes; they were both able to build off of public expectations in a pre-established genre.

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To be fair, Transformers kicked off with a TV show and a far longer running comic series than Bionicle. And it has had many runs of TV shows since: Beast wars and Beast machines; Transformers Armada, Energon and Cybertron; Transformers Animated, Transformers Prime and Transformers Robots in Disguise (in fact two called robots in disguise but I digress). Not to mention a gigantically marketed Movie franchise that has propelled it into even more popularity than ever.

And then, even Ninjago was kicked off with a TV pilot, something Bionicle didn’t even come close to unless you count that the DTV movies were on Cartoon Network for G1 or that godawful Journey to One on netflix for G2 (and even then that was not in the opening year for either of those two lines).

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That’s the point; all of the things that you just mentioned, with the exception of the TV show and comic book series (for reference, the original Transformers comic book series, published by Marvel from 1984 through 1991, lasted about half as long as Bionicle’s example did) …came after, and thus they are unable to be credited with launching the franchise. They’re only possible because of the launch. I get what you’re trying to say, but your thoughts don’t support the idea that Bionicle was disadvantaged at all.

You’re right; a DTV film and a Netflix series aren’t as big of a deal - in fact, they’re a bigger deal. Both reach, many, many more people than a Cartoon Network series almost immediately.


Except in that space of time the American release of the comics alone (the UK comics ended up with more than three times the amount of issues as the american comics) managed to release almost twice as many comics as Bionicle did TOTAL.

Yeah, a TV show that ended up with three proper seasons (95 episodes in total for those seasons) AND a movie, and a comic series that got 80 issues in America and over 300 in the UK. Quite the exception.

Taking into account that Ninjago started in 2011 (which was when the pilot also came out, unlike those DTV movies and the Netflix show for Bionicle which happened after it had already started some time ago), and along with the amount of advertising that show and the toys got at the time, I’m not really seeing how Bionicle had a massive foothold Ninjago didn’t. Ninjago must have done something right, considering it’s so popular that it’s still going to this day, and its show now has more episodes than I’m bothered to look up with several seasons under its belt.

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Again, this was after the launch. It didn’t have that going for it from the start.

Cartoon Network has never been as popular as the average DTV film, especially among people who are spending money on toys. The same goes for Netflix shows.

The thing is, Ninjago has had a lot of other advantages that don’t involve marketing or publicity: it’s a much simpler and sleeker concept with greater familiarity to most audiences, who have probably read or watched “ninja” stories before.


If we’re going to be that technical about it, nothing has an advantage at launch.

Not in my experience, but hey, what do I know?

I honestly can’t argue with this, but even so Journey to One got basically no advertisement from what I could tell. I had to actively seek out the commercials to even know they existed, same goes for all of G2’s advertising.

Still not exactly a traditional “Ninja” story though. Watch these Ninja with elemental powers who can become tornadoes collect golden weapons before some Skeletons do!

I’m not going to continue on this topic as to avoid cluttering up the thread, but it kind of feels as though you’re actively looking for reasons as to why Bionicle was disadvantaged. Just a thought. Thanks for being down to discuss, though!

I think that it would have been able to do it today, with the insane amount of usage the internet has, by people from ages 13-30 something. Things get spread around these days, and promoting things online, especially if you know people already popular out there, would maybe have been easier in some ways. More so the story than the toys, I think, though. If BIONICLE became only a comic, or only a series, I think G1 could have rivalled those things these days.