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Early Installment Weirdness

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The tone and style of the Bionicle storyline underwent many changes during its ten-year run. As such, there have been a few retcons and retools along the way, and not all of the old story material is considered canon.

 

Which parts of the early Bionicle storyline make you look back and go "ummm no, that's not how that works"?

 

It may be characterization that seems off, terminology no longer in use, powers or artifacts being used in a different way to how they're supposed to work, or things that are just flat out wrong in terms of what we currently know to be canon. Some of it's awkward, a lot of it's funny, and plenty is just outright weird.

 

The most glaring example for me is all the "Mata Nui awakens this day" in Mask of Light... um, nope, sorry, not for another five years, guys... Was that even a retcon, or did the filmmakers really just not know that Mata Nui wasn't meant to wake up yet? 

 

There's a bit of this in the Hapka books, like the fact that the Toa put new masks on top of their old ones, but suvas are never mentioned so you get the impression that the Toa are just walking around with these giant dorky stacks of masks on their faces. Also, Tsundere!Kopaka being a jealous baby whenever Gali pays attention to Tahu. It's hilarious.

 

What were the weirdest things about early Bionicle for you?

What are you glad they got rid of? 

Is there any of it that you think should have been kept in? (*cough* Macku/Hewkii *cough*)

 

Discuss...


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There weren't really that many retcons as such (outside of Greg's serials), but quite a few inconsistencies for sure. That "Mata Nui will awaken today" thing was mostly due to the fact that at the time of writing the script the plan was to finish off the entire line.

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The Red Star is used to predict the future.

 

loljk it doesn't do that at all and there's no explanation why any Matoran would think that.  Also it's Mata Nui's jetpack and it houses the Matoran afterlife.

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The most glaring example for me is all the "Mata Nui awakens this day" in Mask of Light... um, nope, sorry, not for another five years, guys... Was that even a retcon, or did the filmmakers really just not know that Mata Nui wasn't meant to wake up yet?

The latter (see here).

 

Spi, did Greg ever decanonize that? Not as far as I know...

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In the first chapter of Bionicle Chronicles #1, Lewa rescues a baby Taku bird (basically a duckling). We now know that Rahi aren't really born or hatched the way real animals are, so the possibility of Lewa coming across one that could be considered a "baby" is unlikely, to say the least.

 

In Mata Nui Online Game, the impenetrable layer in the Onu-Koro mines is referred to as being organic, like an Ussal's shell. We now know that this impenetrable layer was presumably meant to be the outer "skin" of the Great Spirit Mata Nui's robot body, but that "skin" certainly isn't organic.

 

In comic #6, "Into the Nest", Onua states that "The Matoran have discovered that the Bohrok do not truly live. They are artificial life... biomechanical creations". Later in the story, the word "biomechanical" would be used liberally to describe even characters who DID have living components, like the Matoran and Toa, but almost never to describe something purely mechanical like the Bohrok.

 

The instruction manual to the "Bionicle: Quest for Makuta" board game referred to the ages of the Toa, with Tahu being the oldest and Lewa being the youngest. This was never referenced again, and we later learned that all the Toa Mata were effectively the same age.

 

Kahu in 2001 were hawk Rahi and Kewa/Goko-Kahu were vulture Rahi. Later, these two species were basically conflated into one species called Gukko, which were giant hummingbirds. Greg later canonized the fact that Kahu and Kewa still existed as subspecies of Gukko. However, even then, it basically means the depiction of Ka (Kongu's "pet" Gukko) in Mata Nui Online Game was entirely non-canon. Usually when there's a discrepancy in the appearance of a character or species from one year to another, it's given an explanation in-story (like Pewku growing to a larger size between the Bohrok-Kal and Rahkshi story arcs), but the discrepancy in Ka's appearance was never explained.

 

Those are just some examples I can remember right now. I'm sure there are many more.

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The entire depiction of the Manas comes to mind. For a long time, we had two conflicting visions of Manas - the Hapaka novels, which depicted only two and had them defeated in a long, drawn out battle that utilized the Toa's elemental powers - and the MNOG, which featured a whole swarm of them, and a much simpler defeat via the Toa Kaita shattering their control towers. Then, in 2006, Greg officially canonized the former depiction in order to use it as a plot device in the second Bionicle Legends book. This has happened many other times as well, and in basically every case I can think of, the books have taken precedent over the MNOG - a huge shame if you ask me, since the Hapaka books aren't that great, and the MNOG is excellent.

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Both the MNOLG and Hapka fights are inferior to the kick-butt LoMN PC game fight. The Toa Kaita are smashing these guys to pieces, and I'm sittin' there watching like :popcorn: "This is awesome."

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The entire depiction of the Manas comes to mind. For a long time, we had two conflicting visions of Manas - the Hapaka novels, which depicted only two and had them defeated in a long, drawn out battle that utilized the Toa's elemental powers - and the MNOG, which featured a whole swarm of them, and a much simpler defeat via the Toa Kaita shattering their control towers. Then, in 2006, Greg officially canonized the former depiction in order to use it as a plot device in the second Bionicle Legends book. This has happened many other times as well, and in basically every case I can think of, the books have taken precedent over the MNOG - a huge shame if you ask me, since the Hapaka books aren't that great, and the MNOG is excellent.

That isn't always the case. Hapka depicted the Nui-Jaga as being similar in size to our world's scorpions, however I believe that the official canon size is much larger than that. 


bZpOwEr

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The most glaring example for me is all the "Mata Nui awakens this day" in Mask of Light... um, nope, sorry, not for another five years, guys... Was that even a retcon, or did the filmmakers really just not know that Mata Nui wasn't meant to wake up yet?

The latter (see here).

uhhhh, no? Bob Thompson, the head of the story team, worked closely with Henry Gilroy on the screenplay. And Bob was the executive producer. Heck, Alastair Swinnerton, another story team member, got a story credit on the film. Saying that the 'filmmakers' didn't check with the story team is absolutely absurd. They were the story team. The "Mata Nui awakening" was 100% intentional and 100% reconnected to enable the 2006-08 story arc. You say in the link there that Takanuva doesn't do anything that could've awakened Mata Nui, but it is pretty clear that is exactly what is going on in the last scene with the three virtues symbol on the floor and the beams of light. Like, Vakama says "let us awaken the Great Spirit" right before all of it. Just because they didn't fly over to Karda Nui or whatever doesn't mean it didn't count, because the story and universe were plotted out differently then. Just look at Faber's concept for the 2001 story ending and you'll see that the idea of a device to awaken the Great Spirit being guarded directly by the Mangaia was clearly in the story team's mind.

 

That isn't always the case. Hapka depicted the Nui-Jaga as being similar in size to our world's scorpions, however I believe that the official canon size is much larger than that. 

Those weren't Nui-Jaga, though Greg incorrectly said they were in the sticker book. They were supposed to be Kofo-Jaga. They were still much smaller than they should have been, but it wasn't as egregious an error.

Edited by Pereki
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That isn't always the case. Hapka depicted the Nui-Jaga as being similar in size to our world's scorpions, however I believe that the official canon size is much larger than that. 

Those weren't Nui-Jaga, though Greg incorrectly said they were in the sticker book. They were supposed to be Kofo-Jaga. They were still much smaller than they should have been, but it wasn't as egregious an error.

 

Thank you, I stand corrected. 


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Pereki, we've known for a long time that the original plan was to awaken Mata Nui at the end of 2001, but by the time of MOL the plan was to go to Metru Nui and continue a longer quest to do this after telling flashbacks there about how he fell asleep. That was the point of Takanuva illuminating the city, which would then be shown in the flashbacks next. And we had been told by that time that it was the Toa Mata/Nuva's destiny to awaken Mata Nui, not Takanuva. Finally, we know that the concept of awakening Mata Nui was going to be about the giant robot; that was planned from the start, too. MOL didn't have that.

 

You seem to have gotten the impression that they either consulted the story team as a whole on everything, or not at all, but it's not that simple in real life. Regardless, it ended up not mattering, because this is only confirmed in the commentary, not in the movie itself (the characters clearly believe it's going to happen, but that's still realistic in the current canon; they can simply be wrong, plus it is one step toward that goal).

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Pereki, we've known for a long time that the original plan was to awaken Mata Nui at the end of 2001, but by the time of MOL the plan was to go to Metru Nui and continue a longer quest to do this after telling flashbacks there about how he fell asleep. That was the point of Takanuva illuminating the city, which would then be shown in the flashbacks next. And we had been told by that time that it was the Toa Mata/Nuva's destiny to awaken Mata Nui, not Takanuva. Finally, we know that the concept of awakening Mata Nui was going to be about the giant robot; that was planned from the start, too. MOL didn't have that.

Like a lot of modern LEGO themes (that modelled themselves on BIONICLE's approach), there was a plan for running the story for a single year, and simultaneously a plan to continue longer. They weren't separately conceived plans at different times. We don't know what the original "long-running line" plan looked like. We do know from a BZP interview with Bob that at the time of Mask of Light's production it involved 7 books, of which 2001-03 was only one - even if one of those books was the one-year 2004 interlude, that meant 19 years of story plotted out. And Greg's later account was a much smaller approach, with only the Mata Nui, Ignition, and "Toa Nuva returning" arcs (plus the Metru Nui interlude) on the table for a total of 10 years. Something obviously changed by the time Bob left the team after 2005. As such, there's nothing to say that the plan didn't involve returning to Takanuva and co after the Metru Nui interlude and pulling the Mata Nui reveal then, even though at that point we would have known they succeeded in awakening him for a year or two. They had wanted to bring BIONICLE to theaters in 2004, so they might've had hopes of pulling the big reveal to a wider audience in a hypothetical later film once BIONICLE was situated as a larger franchise.

 

re: the story team not having full control of Mask of Light, absolutely! Lots of people had a piece of that pie. but if you seriously want to argue that the story team didn't get a say in something so critical as "whether or not to depict MATA NUI AWAKENING in the film," ESPECIALLY when two of them were heading the storywriting for the film, then we don't need to continue this line of discussion because I don't have much else to say.

Edited by Pereki
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We do know from a BZP interview with Bob that at the time of Mask of Light's production it involved 7 books, of which 2001-03 was only one - even if one of those books was the one-year 2004 interlude, that meant 19 years of story plotted out.

 

Wow... it'd be interesting to see how closely those seven books align with what we got.


 

 

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For me its some minor things, like in th early books like Tale of the Toa where Tahu plucks a little mask off a scorpion

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Where Makuta actually ISN'T Mata Nui's brother.  In which case, he probably needs to see a psychiatrist about that...

"Yeah Doc, I'm in a lot of trouble right now. You see, some small robot things keep calling me this guy's brother, but I'm not even sure if we're related or not. I doubt that we are. But they keep addressing me as such, and it feels like a new layer of myself is being stripped away. Help me Doc, what am I supposed to do?"

 

"Kill the other guy." 

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Discrepancies in the portrayals of the setting and culture in 2001. There was that McDonalds comic in which six Matoran from the different villages "hung out" and talked about the disk throwing championship. But in MNOG, the villages are portrayed as being more trading partners than friends. And they play Koli, not proto-Kanoka.

 

In MNOG, it's implied that Takua was banished to some extent by his peers, which is weird when compared to 03-05 when everyone is chummy, but not so weird when we learn about the Matoran Civil War and all the different dysfunctional MU islands. Where would he go? Isn't everyone friends? His friendship with Jala is zero at the start of the game.

 

I don't think anything weird from the 2003 Chronicles books can be considered EIW; rather, it's just a case of an uninformed freelance author.

Edited by Zestanor

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The most glaring example for me is all the "Mata Nui awakens this day" in Mask of Light... um, nope, sorry, not for another five years, guys... Was that even a retcon, or did the filmmakers really just not know that Mata Nui wasn't meant to wake up yet?

The latter (see here).

 

Spi, did Greg ever decanonize that? Not as far as I know...

 

 

There was no need to. Just because Hahli and Takanuva thought you just just awaken Mata Nui any time, doesn't mean there's an inconsistency. They thought Mata Nui would just wake up when they beat Makuta, but he didn't. And even in the movie, they never say, "okay, he's awake now!"

 

The real actual canon is that they got back to Metru Nui and said, "So Mata Nui's awake now, right?" and Dume said, "Uh, no. There's still like a whole bunch more stuff you have to do."

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Almost forgot:

 

 

In comic #6, "Into the Nest", Onua states that "The Matoran have discovered that the Bohrok do not truly live. They are artificial life... biomechanical creations". Later in the story, the word "biomechanical" would be used liberally to describe even characters who DID have living components, like the Matoran and Toa, but almost never to describe something purely mechanical like the Bohrok.

 

 

This line was invoked in a recent debate that I started a few months ago, centering around my argument that the biomechanical nature of the Matoran species was itself a retcon. Most people who replied argued the other way, but I'm still not convinced. I'm curious what you would make of it, now that you brought the line to my attention again. Fascinatingly enough, the specific member who invoked it actually came to a third conclusion, arguing that the Matoran were actually intended to be fully organic beings, and that the robotic appearance was merely artistic license. I'm not ready to take it that far, but I do think this line should not be dismissed as inconsequential or, as Bonesiii argued a few posts later, a result of Greg F. not knowing the definition of the word "biomechanial."


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As such, there's nothing to say that the plan didn't involve returning to Takanuva and co after the Metru Nui interlude and pulling the Mata Nui reveal then

Maybe, but it seems like a stretch, and appears to defeat its own point -- in your scenario they failed to check whether it was okay to reveal this, so your assumption that they would check for something so vital argues against this, too. Nor does it deal with the Toa Mata's destiny...

 

I think it's much simpler -- the directors (who made the commentary) assumed from the script that what they said was what Thompson and the other writers had intended, but that wasn't approved because it actually isn't in the script. (Or the movie.)

 

It's fairly likely, even, that the scriptwriters had early plans to have him awaken, and some lines from that made it into the final script which abandoned that in favor of drawing that out more (and likely to have Takanuva have the central role in the end, since the other Toa weren't in sets that year). Unless they intended the characters to be wrong all along, which is possible (in-story they didn't know what Mata Nui was either).

 

Another possible factor is that we don't know that the directors were let in on the big secret. They may have assumed Mata Nui was what he appeared to be -- a mystical spirit being only -- and if you just read that script and online descriptions and that sort of thing prior to this, this would be an easy mistake to make. Plus they know it's a kid's movie and know it's an end which is supposed to be a happy ending. It's easy to see why they wouldn't assume they had to check on it.

 

Anyway, the main point is that the topic starter's question is answered that they (at least the directors) did intend him to be awakening there, whether the story team had considered this so or not. I think it's fair to suggest an edit to that FAQ, though, to point out other possibilities. We could work on that in the discussion topic if you like, to avoid derailing this one. :)

 

The rest of what you said isn't news either. As for your idea that the books significantly changed that early, that's possible, but it's speculation until we hear proof of what they were at the time. What we know is as I said; the Toa Mata were intended to awaken Mata Nui. (And that the later books had to change when Bionicle ended early. Of course, there were all kinds of smaller changes.)

 

Takhamavahu, your post looks like you thought my question to SPIRIT was about the Mata Nui / MOL thing. Did you read Spi's post? It was about the Red Star's predictive behavior in MNOG.

 

Zarkan, I believe what I had in mind there was that the definition changed within his usage, not necessarily that he didn't know it (although knowing him, the change might have been a forgetcon). I was replying to this quote:

 

"The Matoran have learned that the Bohrok do not truly live. They are artificial life... biomechanical creations," Onua explains.

Which makes it sound like the "bio" part could mean "imitating life". Evidently this is one common definition in real life; see #2 on dictionary.com:

 

the development of prostheses.

Edited by bonesiii

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honestly i have the exact opposite feeling, where unquestioned canon is overhauled in favor of a "cooler" or "edgier" revelation, it's always so out there it's actually almost become predictable, and is almost never a change for the best. :t

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The entire depiction of the Manas comes to mind. For a long time, we had two conflicting visions of Manas - the Hapaka novels, which depicted only two and had them defeated in a long, drawn out battle that utilized the Toa's elemental powers - and the MNOG, which featured a whole swarm of them, and a much simpler defeat via the Toa Kaita shattering their control towers. Then, in 2006, Greg officially canonized the former depiction in order to use it as a plot device in the second Bionicle Legends book. This has happened many other times as well, and in basically every case I can think of, the books have taken precedent over the MNOG - a huge shame if you ask me, since the Hapaka books aren't that great, and the MNOG is excellent.

 

Or that the Manas in the MNOLG were to the Toa Kaita as normal crabs are to us in terms of size, whereas the sets have a much smaller size difference between the two.


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One weird thing I remember was that in the original Mata Nui arc there was a clear division between Rahi and other animals. "Rahi" only referred to the ones Taken over by Makuta (AKA the 2001 villain sets), while everyhting else were just called creatures (the website even had them separated.

Then Mask of Light came along and suddenly all animals in the story are and always have been Rahi and shut up it was always like that don't correct us.

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The entire depiction of the Manas comes to mind. For a long time, we had two conflicting visions of Manas - the Hapaka novels, which depicted only two and had them defeated in a long, drawn out battle that utilized the Toa's elemental powers - and the MNOG, which featured a whole swarm of them, and a much simpler defeat via the Toa Kaita shattering their control towers. Then, in 2006, Greg officially canonized the former depiction in order to use it as a plot device in the second Bionicle Legends book. This has happened many other times as well, and in basically every case I can think of, the books have taken precedent over the MNOG - a huge shame if you ask me, since the Hapaka books aren't that great, and the MNOG is excellent.

 

Or that the Manas in the MNOLG were to the Toa Kaita as normal crabs are to us in terms of size, whereas the sets have a much smaller size difference between the two.

 

 

I'm not sure that could really be classified as a continuity issue, since its a difference between physical sets and fiction, not two separate and conflicting pieces of fiction. There have been other instances of this in the line - the most notable one I can think of in the later years was Axonn in the comics being massive enough to hold an entire Piraka in each of his fists, while the actual set is ridiculously short in real life. Seriously, he's like a dwarf compared to the average post-2006 canister set - it's why have him on top a wooden keepsake box placed behind my Inika sets.

Edited by ~~Zarkan~~

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In comic #6, "Into the Nest", Onua states that "The Matoran have discovered that the Bohrok do not truly live. They are artificial life... biomechanical creations". Later in the story, the word "biomechanical" would be used liberally to describe even characters who DID have living components, like the Matoran and Toa, but almost never to describe something purely mechanical like the Bohrok.

 

I always assumed "creation" was the key part of the statement.  If I were to say for example the clones in Star Wars are organic creations it wouldn't mean that others couldn't be organic. I think the point is just that the Bohrok are artificial, but still biomechanical.  

Edited by Visualmnm

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In comic #6, "Into the Nest", Onua states that "The Matoran have discovered that the Bohrok do not truly live. They are artificial life... biomechanical creations". Later in the story, the word "biomechanical" would be used liberally to describe even characters who DID have living components, like the Matoran and Toa, but almost never to describe something purely mechanical like the Bohrok.

 

I always assumed "creation" was the key part of the statement.  If I were to say for example the clones in Star Wars are organic creations it wouldn't mean that others couldn't be organic. I think the point is just that the Bohrok are artificial, but still biomechanical.

 

 

Mar 7 2008, 09:08 PM

 

4) If Makuta possesses Bohrok or Rahkshi shell, can he use their powers?

4) It's doubtful this would work. Rahkshi are not robots, they're just armor, and without a kraata to make them move, they are inert. Bohrok are pretty much the same, they aren't really robots, just artificial life. Makuta can possess a robot body or a living body that has no spirit in it.

 

Mar 16 2008, 10:14 PM

 

Can a Makuta take over a Bohrok? I mean, they are robots, but then again, they need a Krana to control them....

 

ANSWER: Hard to say, because the Bohrok are not really living things and not really robots either, so they sort of fall somewhere in the middle.

 

 

Looks like we have a winner.

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Um, where on earth did you get that? I promise that's not in the version I've played.

That's what I am thinking to...


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Looks like someone got their hands on the original version of MNOG.


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Actually, all you have to do is rearrange the files of any version, and you can restore most of the original dialog.


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Actually, all you have to do is rearrange the files of any version, and you can restore most of the original dialog.

Interesting. I know the version for web on Templar Studios still uses Tohunga, while the download version Lego used to have said Matoran. Makes sense there are different versions.


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There are different copies of Nokama's text in the files for different instances when they are called (e.g. when you first save Ga-Koro, after you've given her the Po-Koro Chisel, etc.) and one of them was accidentally left with the "Papu and Rangi" mention that was supposed to be edited out after the Maori lawsuit. Jala mentions Papu and Rangi in the original text too, and it isn't edited out of the German version of the game. He says they named Ta-Koro as the place of fire (or something like that).

Edited by Pereki

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Who are Papu and Rangi supposed to be? Mata Nui's other brothers?

Early Installment Weirdness. We never got much of an answer there. I doubt BS01 even has anything... *checks* Nope. Nothing.

Edited by Regitnui

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I really wish everyone would stop trying to play join the dots with Gen 1 and Gen 2 though,it seems there's a couple new threads everyday and often they're duplicates of already existing conversations! Or simply parallel them with a slightly new 'twist'! Gen 2 is NEW, it is NOT Gen 1 and it is NOT a continuation. Outside of the characters we already have I personally don't want to see ANY old characters return. I think it will cheapen the whole experience to those of us familiar with the original line...

 

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Who are Papu and Rangi supposed to be? Mata Nui's other brothers?

We'll probably never know because they would've been struck from the canon pretty fast after the lawsuit. That, or they were something that Templar added themselves for flavor and then had to remove for the same reason. Totally forgot to ask Templar about it when they were interacting with the community a few years ago!

 

Based on how they're treated though, I wouldn't be surprised if they were an early incarnation of the Great Beings (who really only began to be developed in 2009. If the relationship between the Toa and Bohrok could shift from "share an evolutionary ancestor because they are both part of Mata-Nui" to "Av-Matoran turn into them" in the course of 6 years from 02 to 08, there's no telling what else might have evolved behind the scenes).

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Well that is really strange. I assume they were supposed to be Great Beings, not the actual Maori gods. Definitely a good example of early installment weirdness that was changed for the better. Imagine how silly it would sound if it said " Great Beings Zeus and Hera have great plans for you." Same sort of thing.

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The board game in the first year mentioned that Onua was believed by the matoran as being the spirit that created earthquakes, which just gives a feel of the weird mystical aura the early series had.

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Who are Papu and Rangi supposed to be? Mata Nui's other brothers?

We'll probably never know because they would've been struck from the canon pretty fast after the lawsuit. That, or they were something that Templar added themselves for flavor and then had to remove for the same reason. Totally forgot to ask Templar about it when they were interacting with the community a few years ago!

 

Based on how they're treated though, I wouldn't be surprised if they were an early incarnation of the Great Beings (who really only began to be developed in 2009. If the relationship between the Toa and Bohrok could shift from "share an evolutionary ancestor because they are both part of Mata-Nui" to "Av-Matoran turn into them" in the course of 6 years from 02 to 08, there's no telling what else might have evolved behind the scenes).

 

 

Just to answer TheSkeletonMan939's question directly, Papu and Rangi are the mother and father deities in Maori mythology who each represent the earth and sky. This is remarkably similar to Gaia and Uranus in Greek mythology. They have no part in any canon Bionicle story.

 

I think it's possible, maybe even likely, that Papu and Rangi were just going to be names borrowed from the Maori deities for individual Great Beings, rather than the deities themselves being incorporated. Like how 'Toa' refers to a Bionicle hero rather than a human Maori warrior (the concepts do overlap slightly, but that's why the borrowing happened in the first place).

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