I can't say I didn't anticipate these responses. Some of you seem to be reading into what I've said a little too much here, so I'm going to try to clarify exactly what I'm saying.
In essence: 1) I find it interesting that dates before 7,000 years ago didn't pop up until around late 2006, 2) The change appears to have been very deliberate, seeing as the writers had no trouble with dramatically earlier dates in later years, 3) The timing of this change coincides with what I see as a change in Bionicle's tone and scope, and 4) The same change may have contributed to Lego's decision to cancel the Bionicle line (key word there is "contributed").
Now that we have out of the way, I'll try to address everyone individually.
@Toatapio Nuva: Fair enough, I know not everyone finds this as interesting as I do. The idea here was to "peek behind the curtain" if you will to see if I could try to understand how what I believe was an important change in the canon was made.
@ bonesiii: One day, bonesiii, you and I will agree on something. I look forward to that day, but until then, here we go.
Having not really been around before 2006, I never intended to assert that people believed the universe was only 10,000 years old (and I admit I was a little misleading in my original post). Don't get hung up on that exact date. We had no idea how old the universe was at the time (the writers may not have even really known), but given the then-current timeline, 10,000 years was probably a better guess than 100,000. There was no reason to assume that it was any older than about 10,000 years. From what I understand, the story bible was mostly focused on the broad outlines of the story, especially what would happen in the main plot, and less about the backstory. From what Greg has said in the past, things certainly changed pretty dramatically as time went on, especially if you look at some of the concept art from Christian Faber.
[color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]I don't recall any fans saying anything like that "back in the day." The general assumption was that the universe was very old, but how old exactly we just didn't know at all. So this looks to me (not sure if you mean it this way, but for sake of discussion) like the classic error of making a theory, then turning that theory into an assumption, which I always advise against because statistically speaking, our theories and guesses are never likely to turn out right. Usually when someone does this, and then inevitably finds out their theory is wrong, they will be tempted to assume the producers of the story actually changed something away from the "old style" that they liked, even though the storytellers may have planned that from the start.[/color][color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]Also, kinda a pet peeve, but it really doesn't matter when something is established, as long as it's established by the time it becomes relevant in-story.[/color]
I agree that this is certainly a problem with many theories here in this forum, which is why I was careful to scrutinize the timeline to see if it fits my "theory" (which I was also careful to avoid calling this, mostly because I knew you would object if I used this word incorrectly). The dates fit this theory remarkably well actually, which is what convinced me that this idea had merit. None of the replies have had any direct evidence against this line of reasoning. I would also say it does matter when these things are established because despite the plans and story bibles, Bionicle is a story that was written by multiple people over a ten year period, and things were bound to change and have noticeable impacts on the story. I believe this is one of the more significant examples, for reasons I've already outlined.
Believe it or not, I actually noticed the evidence first and then came up with the theory, not the other way around.
[color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]Personally, I always took the idea that it was an incredibly old universe, with lifespans much longer than humans, from that old joke in some promo thing that had a fan asking Takua how old he was, and he responded "much older than you" (obviously this wasn't remotely canon, but the age part was). I'm probably remembering that wrong. But the point is, the impression I got was that it was correct that if a Matoran encountered beings (such as aliens Mata Nui was studying) who had lifespans as short as ours they would be astonished, and just as we might think 100,000 years is a very long time, they would have trouble imagining how you could squish the important events of life into only around 100 years or less.[/color]
That's a valid interpretation, but I don't see what makes it any more valid than mine, given that neither of us has any direct evidence in favor our views. The writers were indeed vague about the universe's age, but my point here is that all of the clues from 2001-2005 suggested a universe that was on the order of thousands of years old, not 100,000. And even if Takua were only 10,000 years old, that would certainly be a lot older than I am
[color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]Whether that's meant to be implied or not is just a guess, though (again, as far as I know). It's simply BS01 being cautious not to state things as fact that aren't confirmed. We know that these things were in place 4,000 years ago, but when they were invented was one of the things that never happened to be asked when Greg was still giving frequent answers (apparently). Most likely they were invented long before.[/color]
I'm willing to concede this point to you, although it's just an aspect of the general trend that I was laying out in that section, and it doesn't invalidate the rest of my argument.
I was always under the impression that mask making required Konaka, but I guess I was wrong about that. Good to know, but doesn't really matter much to the theory, given as it was merely an offhand observation.
[color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]This was obvious at the time they were introduced; Greg announced a "complete" (more or less) timeline of ancient history which was released sort of like its own little story in a very different format, largely quoted on BS01 to become the bulk of the framework of the actually complete (for now) timeline. Nobody needed to "examine" anything to find this out at the time. [/color]
I wouldn't say that everything there was revealed all at once, although this was a few years ago, so my memory is shaky. The outline certainly was, but in order to ensure that my theory had some basis in evidence, I did indeed "examine" the evidence again because I wanted my observation to be as factually sound as I could make it.
[color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]What inconsistency? This follows a paragraph about the fact that many Toa are old. This may be a typo as in something left out, as nothing I saw in that showed any inconsistency. As far as I can tell, all of what you said there just highlights again how alien this all feels to us proverbial gnats, and that the story focused more on some characters than others so naturally we get more detail about some.[/color]
Upon rereading this paragraph, I've noticed that it's a bit unclear, so I'll try to elaborate. Essentially what I was saying is, Lhikan was portrayed as a legendary hero, highly skilled in his element, and borderline elderly, most likely for the sake of contrast with the novice Toa Metru. Other Toa who had been Toa for a much longer time were spared this same treatment, most notably Lesovikk, who seems no more skilled than any other average Toa, even though he's one of the older ones (more than ten times longer than Lhikan, in fact). This is the inconsistency I was referring to, and one way to solve this inconsistency is assuming a paradigm shift in how the story team thought of time. They probably hadn't yet conceived of Toa being around as long as Lesovikk. Obviously this does not prove (or confirm/support, since I know you don't like the p-word in theories) my theory, as no one piece of evidence does, but together, we have these little inconsistencies, puzzles, and oddities that can all be explained by this theory.
[color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]Is that an exact quote?[/color]
Here's the exact quote: "For more than 100 centuries, I have looked into the face of evil again and again. It sickens me."
Axonn's not establishing how long he's guarded the Mask of Life in this quote, he's actually being more broad than that. Since Axonn was essentially a warlord before his time in the Order of Mata Nui, I'm assuming this refers to his length of service there. BS01 seems to imply that Axonn joined when the Order was relatively recent, which was certainly more than 10,000 years ago. (For reference, their quote is, "Hydraxon, a fellow member of the Hand of Artakha, later approached him and offered him a membership in the newly formed Order of Mata Nui.") Yes, he's technically not wrong, but that's nitpicking. If I told you I had been alive for more than 1000 days now (roughly three and a third years), I'd be telling the truth, but it's absurd both as a measurement of time and as an accurate estimate. Axonn's comment is similar.
[color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]Probably the best understanding here is that Greg knew that the exact time would have to be at least that old, and since the details hadn't been pinned down, had the character say that (but again I must give a standard caution that I'm not sure offhand what the context of that was, if exact quote, etc. so maybe you could clarify). This could be considered to be "translated into English and translated to the level of knowledge of the fans at the time", rather than meant to be literally what Axonn said. He may "actually" have said the exact time.[/color]
What's more convoluted, that Axonn actually said the exact amount of time (or something close) and it was translated and Greg just expected us to know this even though he picked what he knew would be a serious underestimate, or perhaps he changed his mind? When judging theories I look for parsimony (simplicity), and I think my explanation for this quote is simpler, and therefore more likely to be true. The context was when Axonn first battled with the Piraka (Thok and Vezok to be specific) and he was introducing himself as he beat them up. Here's a link to the comic in question.
[color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]I'll hear you out, but just for sake of information, just wanted to note that it really isn't important to most fans as far as what they have expressed prior to this topic. Occasionally one or two would wonder about the long times, but it's simply part of the fictional world that Bionicle created that is obviously not meant to work like ours, since we have trouble reaching just 100. To most people that appears to have been a simple and rather obvious fact meant to make Bionicle feel more fantastical and thus more interesting rather than cliche.[/color]
I know you like to believe that everything has an in-universe explanation, but the reality is that Bionicle is a story written by fallible people over a long period of time. Changes were bound to happen along the way. Rather than try to bend the facts to get the canon to be consistent, sometimes it's just easier to assume that there was an external change, one that in this case makes a lot of sense. (A comparable example would be the shift from Maori-sounding names to Latin-sounding names in the later years.) Granted this isn't a major revelation, but the fact that you've already written this much suggests there's a discussion to be had here.
[color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]Er, actually that is probably the single [/color]most[color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;] talked-about thing, and often cited as a big part of the reason Bionicle ended, after all. I don't see how you figure here...[/color][color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]Although, it really wasn't 2006 specifically. The story gradually increased in size with the books added in (I think it was) 2003 (or maybe 2002? I forget), then movies, then shrunk again for a while for 2006. With the serials in 2007 it got a bit larger again, and those expanded in later years, but then again, books lessened at the same time. Overall complexity of the many "constant updating threads" was the main problem (as so often cited), but actual story size definitely did not significantly grow at the time you put it at. Really the major change was 2003.[/color][color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]Of course, since the story was -continuing- it naturally got bigger at those times but the same applies to every year. My point is that the rate of additions of new story actually slowed around then, rather than speeding up. It may be fair though that that point might be when for you personally and for others perhaps the total size may have reached what felt like bordering on too much or at least "clearly different".[/color]
Maybe it was more of a big deal at the time, but people don't seem to talk about it much anymore. Anyway, the level to which people discussed it is irrelevant to my actual point.
In the introduction I believe I did mention that things did gradually expand with more backstory, especially in 2005, but 2006 (really 2007) was a significant change, especially with the introduction of the serials. The difference here was that the story was now unfolding in multiple locations with multiple plots at once, rather than carefully following one particular Toa team. We had seen glimpses of this earlier with the Rahaga flashback, for example, but nothing on the scale we saw later. In history parlance, I would say that 2005 and 2007 were milestones rather than turning points, which is to say that they each represented a culmination of gradual shifts rather than a sudden, dramatic one change.
[color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]Aaaand I'm probably nitpicking now. [/color]
Just a little. As I'm sure you've surmised, what I mean by unnecessary is that they did not revolve around the current year's sets, so in terms of the story being a vehicle to sell toys (which, let's admit, it was on some level), it's an important departure.
[color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]But the decision to pin down the approximate age to 100,000 years did not cause the other things, is my point (though again, not sure you meant to imply that... just for sake of discussion and just in case [/color] [color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]).[/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]The story did not expand because of the expanded timeline, but rather vice versa[/color]
This is why I generally read the entire post (even when it's ridiculously long) before I begin commenting.
[color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]I don't see how it was sudden. The concept of ancient history to explore alongside the main plot has been a feature of Bionicle since the very first comic and MNOG, where we were told that long ago the Great Spirit was cast into slumber, etc. 2004-2005 were all about learning more of that ancient history (including brief flashbacks to the older histories of the Rahaga, Roodaka, etc.[/color][color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]Naturally, these things worked "out from the center" (as the characters went through struggles farther in the future they ran into aspects of the present that invoked memories and uncovered knowledge of the more distant past, which is pretty universal to this genre of story and statistically virtually demanded to be realistic). The scale of what was "unexplored therefore mysterious history" got ever larger, but it was all a smooth, expected and even long hoped-for progression through ancient history, not some switch that was flipped on randomly at one point.[/color]
I'm afraid I disagree about the emphasis to which the ancient history was explored. The legend of Mata Nui was hardly an important fixture in MNOG and it later turned out to be heavily distorted by the Turaga. Even then it was never explained in any real detail, and for much of the first three years, even waking Mata Nui was mentioned only sporadically. I found the transition to be a bit more abrupt than you seem to, which could merely be a difference of opinion, but my above comment regarding milestones versus turning points also applies here.
[color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]My point is, I do object to the portrayal of this as a "downfall." It's a story that has an end, and that's good.[/color]
Demise, conclusion, unmitigated calamity--pick your favorite. I don't really want to argue about semantics here, since your objection is mostly to my word choice. Put another way, it was time for LEGO to move on, the sets were cancelled, and the story was given a conclusion (which was actually moved up a few years). The expansive storyline, as I said earlier, could very well have contributed to LEGO's decision to move on from Bionicle.
@fishers64: Responding to bonesiii took longer than I thought (I have a tendency to do that), but I'll try to respond adequately to your objections as well.
[color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]I'm not that old, but I haven't seen a theory in the archives or anywhere else that names the MU as 10,000 years old. Granted, the archives are down and all, but I would like to see the evidence. Other than that, bones' points here stand; I honestly didn't think about how old the place was, as it didn't seem relevant. [/color]
See above, I never meant to imply that anyone actually suggested it was this age, per se.
[color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]I don't think that comparison is valid. Human development of technology isn't comparable to development of technology in a universe controlled by robot AI. Further, the Agori outside have remained in the same primitive conditions for 100,000 years, so it's clear that the idea that technology develops and different rates and in different directions for different beings is [/color][color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]definitely[/color][color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;] present in Bionicle.[/color]
My point here is that sometimes we through around big numbers without really thinking about them. 100,000 isn't just a really big number; it's a really big number compared to 1000 or even 10,000. The point I was getting is that the additional 90,000 years or so that were added is a huge increase compared to the 10,000 or so that the story had used so far.
[color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]But we still don't know [/color]exactly[color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;] when the Matoran attained sapience. It could be later along then we think, which would largely explain the technology quandry. Also, there was ancient history that did affect present plot. See [/color]Mutran Chronicles[color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;] and the flashbacks in [/color]Swamp of Secrets[color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]. I think it's largely the way secrets are revealed - the further you go back, the closer you get to a truth about the fundamentals about a world. The Codrex was constructed when the world was, and the characters are working toward saving the world. The closer you get to saving the world, the more you learn about how to save it, and that knowledge has to do with why the world exists in the first place, which is further back in time. [/color]
These are all valid points, and as the story developed, we certainly did learn more about its origins. This evidence is the least convincing in favor of my theory, but it's difficult to ignore this pattern, which is what made me suspect this theory in the first place, which is why I mentioned it.
[color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]D. Bionicle's End was a result of that storyline expansion. [/color]
This is an oversimplification of my point, which I tried hard to be clear about. The complicated story alone did not doom (or conclude, if bonesiii is still reading) Bionicle, especially since they could have dramatically simplified the story in 2009 but chose not to. The 2009 story showed us that even with the reboot, Bionicle still had some structural problems, one of which was that even on Bara Magna, there were still traces of the old story (which is sort of obvious, because otherwise it wouldn't be Bionicle). If you look at, say Johnny Thunder, Knight's Kingdom, or Exo Force (or from what I'm told the newer themes, like Ninjago and Chima, though I'm not familiar with them myself), they all had more rudimentary stories that were far less expansive, especially compared to Bionicle. Ironically, Bionicle's success was in part because of its story, but the story became so good that it was just a little too much for LEGO's target audience.
[color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]But I think the storyline expansion happened first, and the timeline did NOT have to expand into the past as a result.[/color]
[color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]The story did not expand because of the expanded timeline, but rather vice versa[/color]
No, but as you point out it did enable the writers to play around more, and I agree that it was a good thing. However, if the writers wanted to be able to play around like that, creating an expansive timeline like this would certainly enable that.
[color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]With all that said, from what I understand of essay formatting the main point was letter B, and you rambled off topic into the other points, because you were paranoid that no one would care about your main point. You also seem to indicate that I should care about point B because it affected Bionicle's ten-year run and ending. While this is indeed a factual statement, the evidence you have used to support that point is lacking and somewhat invalid. (I hope you consider this for all future essays you may write. [/color] [color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;])[/color]
I added the other sections because I believed that part II was not enough evidence alone. The other parts are not rambling, but rather supporting evidence to ward me from criticism that the stuff in part II was merely a coincidence.
[color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;](Urg, that public school mindset is awful. Never start a post with "Introduction and Thesis" - yeesh.)[/color]
Don't make assumptions about where I went to school. I would never write this way for my English teacher, but I wanted to make the content of each section clear because they are so long.
[color=rgb(40,40,40);font-family:helvetica, arial, sans-serif;]I feel most of what could be said is covered by bonseiii and fisher64 but I'd like to add something you assume is that "bionicle time" is measured in fashion similar how we measure it, when in reality I dont think we have much information about how long hours, days, years, etc are measured and what their equivalance would be in "earth time".[/color]
This point, which I've debated before, is mostly irrelevant because no matter how long a year is, 100,000 years is an order of magnitude greater than 10,000, which means regardless, a lot of time suddenly came into the storyline. What matters is that it's relatively larger.
I also had no idea that the 36 hour day was confirmed, although an hour is an arbitrary unit of time not based on any physical occurrence, so it doesn't matter much anyway. Hours might also have been different on the surface of Mata Nui which relied on an actual day-night cycle rather than the simulated one inside the universe.
@Ghabulous Ghoti: As far as I know, we don't know how long a year is, although consistent with what I've said above, it's irrelevant because the relative time is what matters here.
Thanks for comments everyone, I appreciate the feedback.