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emily

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QUOTE TAGS, I DON'T KNOW WHY YOU DON'T WORK, BUT PLEASE WORK

 

After I posted this blog entry, I found myself frequently thinking about Makuta's role in Mask of Light. So here's another entry compiling my thoughts.

 

A lot of what Makuta says in Mask of Light gets obfuscated by his demeanor. He has a deep, rumbling voice, an oily, patched-together appearance, and he hangs out in a cave filled with thick green smoke and pillars holding creatures in stasis. On top of it all, he is very clearly the designated villain in what is a kiddy, direct-to-video film made to sell toys. Literally everything sets our expectations to "he is a bad guy," and we don't question it.

 

But look beyond this external layer, and we find something rather different through a few curious hints. It begins in Makuta's first appearance. Before he releases the Rahkshi, he contemplates,

Must I release those who should never see the light of day?

 

I'm not sure how to frame this in any way other than as remorse at the idea of what he is about to do. So what convinces him?

I must preserve your slumber...

 

It comes back to Mata Nui. Makuta will do whatever it takes to ensure his brother remains asleep. This isn't a ruthless, power-hungry maniac bent on world domination - if that were the case, he would have no qualms with unleashing the Rahkshi.

 

So the Rahkshi set out and start to terrorize the island, and Makuta sits back and observes. But something goes wrong - Kopaka manages to freeze the beasts within a lake, incapacitating them. Makuta can no longer rely on the fact that his sons will halt the coming of the seventh Toa, so he goes to plan B. Even though Takua himself doesn't know it yet, Makuta knows that the Matoran is right smack in the center of this matter. So he makes him an offer: If you stand down, give me the Avohkii so that Mata Nui can never be awakened, I will leave you alone. Your friends, the entire island, will be free from my grasp.

 

Takua, like us viewers, don't think twice about calling Mukau droppings on him. Yeah, right. If you give the McGuffin to the bad guy, he'll let you off scotch free. That's likely. But what happens after Takua departs, when Makuta is left to himself, with noone listening? What does he say?

Oh... my good will refused...

 

Unless Makuta is in the habit of lying through his teeth to himself for no reason, his offer was absolutely genuine. With his last resort, the Rahkshi, evidently unable to stand up to the Toa Nuva, his hand was forced and he tried the next best thing to victory: ensuring that his brother could, at least, remain asleep and be spared the pain of conciousness. But Takua has none of it, so he does the next best thing: more Rahkshi.

 

So by now, you may be asking: why? Why are all of these hints dropped in Mask of Light, of all places? What about the myriad of other story media leading up to it, why isn't it hinted at in any of it, too?

 

For the answer, we have to dig a little into the past. If you are a longtime fan, then you might recall the earliest press releases for Mask of Light in 2002. They had familiar elements: two friends on a quest, the fate of the island at stake. But something else was mentioned in these synopses meant to strip the story to its absolute core: the island is crumbling into the ocean.

 

Obviously, this plot element does not survive into the final film. And with good reason, because it ties into another major element of the film that was canned: the awakening of Mata Nui.

 

Throughout the conclusion, wierd things keep happening. Everyone insists that they are descending into the Mangaia to awaken the Great Spirit, only for the matter to be forgotten once they literally do something that is supposed to awaken him. Takanuva instructs for all of the island's inhabitants to be gathered, and later brought underground, but we only get the Turaga (in the novelization, the island's population does in fact show up). This all makes sense only in the context of a film where Mata Nui does awaken; the islanders would need to be safely underground before Mata Nui could stand up and destroy the island.

 

This explains the early island-crumbling plot. In the days before his awakening, Mata Nui is stirring, rocking the island and breaking chunks of it off.

 

Incidentally this explains a scene that does make it to the final film: Jaller and Takua's reuniting. Jaller ends up vulnerable thanks to an earthquake, which you don't really question until you look at is specifically. An earthquake? Natural disasters like that never happen on Mata Nui outside that instance. Its a really weird anomaly in the mythos that seems solely an excuse to have Jaller mistake Takua for an approaching Rahkshi until you consider that it was originally part of a very relevant, ongoing series of quakes on the island. That also explains Jaller's wry response to the event - earthquakes were common. Otherwise, he might have been expected to be more "wow! an earthquake!" like Vakama in the Kikanalo scene in LOMN.

 

So that's why we get all of these hints dropped regarding Makuta's true nature. Originally, Mask of Light was the BIONICLE finale, and the climax was to be the revelation of Makuta's true nature.

 

Eventually, Takanuva is born and travels to the Mangaia. Makuta's last ditch resort is to keep his cool and challenge Takanuva for his mask, as without the Toa of Light Mata Nui cannot be awakened. This, too fails, and we get to that all-important dialogue first highlighted by Lucina:

 

Sleep spares him pain! Awake, he suffers!

 

Naturally, Takanuva reacts with shock, confusion and denial.

You... are not protecting him!

 

And then Makuta responds with what seems like a really strange non-sequiter.

My duty is to the Mask of Shadows.

 

But despite how little sense it makes, it has a powerful effect on Takanuva. Suddenly, he is confident. He knows what to do.

 

{quote]Then let's take a closer look... behind that mask!

 

I feel like the implication here is that Makuta's badness is somehow tied to his mask (the 'real' him is 'behind' it).

 

Takutanuva isn't, in reality, all that important in the final movie. He lifts the gate for everyone. But if, say, Makuta had been incapacitated, it seems entirely within reason that the Toa Nuva could've opened it themselves somehow.

 

But in our supposed original version of the film, Takutanuva is all-important. He is the merged conciousness of Takanuva and Makuta. Suddenly, both understand each other, and they know what must be done to set things right. Cue the awakening of Mata Nui. Fin.

 

So there you have it. What Mask of Light could have been.

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Unless Makuta is in the habit of lying through his teeth to himself for no reason

Well, that's just it; he does. Everything he does in in service of this grand, ultimate plan, which amounts to little more than self-delusion. He wants to be more important than he is.

 

And all those mutterings about sparing Mata Nui pain are technically true; it's just omitting the detail that he, Makuta, is the one who caused him to be awake and suffering in the first place.

 

I'm not sure where you're getting that MoL was supposed to be the end of the series. Much like TV shows, I'm sure they had to be prepared for an inevitable cancellation, and plenty of plans adapted and changed along the way, but MoL in particular was always the first part of a trilogy, which is why you have the ending leading directly into LoMN.

 

And that's why Takutanuva had to be killed off; couldn't have a god-tier being just waltzing around =P. Then, in LoMN, you learn more about Makuta, and how he's the one who actually caused Mata Nui's downfall in the first place.

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Unless Makuta is in the habit of lying through his teeth to himself for no reason

Well, that's just it; he does. Everything he does in in service of this grand, ultimate plan, which amounts to little more than self-delusion. He wants to be more important than he is.

 

And all those mutterings about sparing Mata Nui pain are technically true; it's just omitting the detail that he, Makuta, is the one who caused him to be awake and suffering in the first place.

 

I'm not sure where you're getting that MoL was supposed to be the end of the series. Much like TV shows, I'm sure they had to be prepared for an inevitable cancellation, and plenty of plans adapted and changed along the way, but MoL in particular was always the first part of a trilogy, which is why you have the ending leading directly into LoMN.

 

And that's why Takutanuva had to be killed off; couldn't have a god-tier being just waltzing around =P. Then, in LoMN, you learn more about Makuta, and how he's the one who actually caused Mata Nui's downfall in the first place.

 

This is all written under the assumption that there were significant plans to conclude BIONICLE in 2003. Naturally, were that to be false (which is entirely possible), this is a load of crazy gibberish.

 

But I feel that there is a definite underlying pattern in Mask of Light that supports my theory to a degree. No way to know for sure, but it is nice to wonder.

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I've wondered about some of those lines myself, especially, "Must I release those who should never see the light of day?" I think all this speculation about Makuta is correct in that is character was originally envisioned as a much more tragic and complicated character than the Evil Chessmaster we eventually got.

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And now I wish that Bionicle really had ended in 2003 because the way you're making it sound it's one heck of a movie.

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Now let's get GSR writing an awesome fanfic about this, stat!

 

~B~

 

UVInxfz.png

 

(Okay, not really what's laid out here, but a pretty good portion is exploring Makuta's character, so...)

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I must admit, I had never heard the "crumbling island" bit; it seems MoL was once a quite different movie than we once knew, and there seem to be a few remains of what it once was that made it through to the final product.

 

I'm not sure where you're getting that MoL was supposed to be the end of the series. Much like TV shows, I'm sure they had to be prepared for an inevitable cancellation, and plenty of plans adapted and changed along the way, but MoL in particular was always the first part of a trilogy, which is why you have the ending leading directly into LoMN.

 

Was it always? That seems odd, considering iirc the Hordika arc wasn't part of the original plan for the post-2003 story, so it seems odd they'd have already planned a movie for it.

 

Also, as far as I know, at least, after the initial extension past 2001, 2003 was the next planned end of the series (gauging popularity to see whether or not it was time to call it quits) and so it doesn't seem odd that it might have originally been written to be the end; after all, it does contain several references to awakening the Great Spirit, and in the end they even say they're going to, despite emphatically not awakening him. The bit about the island crumbling seems to fit in with the idea that there was once a draft of this movie where it was a definitive end of the series, but then the numbers rolled in and LEGO realized they would lose a huge cash cow before milking it for all it had so they changed it. Obviously, it wasn't a last-minute thing, because the movie would have been much more obvious about it if it was, but I'd say MoL was probably once intended to be the end.

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