Bionicle

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BIONICLE
BionicleLogo2015.jpg
Availability 2001–2010, 2015–Present
Total sets (See List of Bionicle toys)
Characters (See List of Bionicle characters)
Official website

Bionicle (stylized as BIONICLE) is a line of construction toys created by The Lego Group marketed primarily for 5-to-16-year-olds. Originally a sub-theme of Lego’s Technic series, the line was launched in 2000 in Europe and Australia and 2001 in North America. Over the following decade, it became one of the Lego Group's biggest-selling properties and helped play a part in saving the company from its financial crisis of the late 1990s. Bionicle was discontinued in 2010 and subsequently “replaced” by a successor toy line called Hero Factory, which featured a similar building system. The theme was later relaunched in 2015 as a rebooted franchise featuring toy sets utilizing pieces introduced in Hero Factory.

To accompany the sets, Lego created an original story told on a vast multimedia scale that expanded as the theme continued. Set in a science fantasy universe featuring part-organic, part-machine sentient beings, the story's narrative chronicles the adventures of heroic beings called Toa in their fight against the many evils of their world in order to protect the Matoran; a widespread villager-like populace. While the main story was told through common mediums such as comic books, online games and films, a number of additional serials were incorporated into the saga that helped to expand it.

Background[edit]

Concept[edit]

After suffering a ten-year downturn, the Lego Group decided to go with the idea of storytelling and thought a Lego theme with a storyline behind it would appeal to their target audience. Their first attempt was the Star Wars line based on the film series of the same name, which became an instant success, but the royalty payments to the franchise owners Lucasfilm limited Lego's profit. The company later decided that an original story created by the Lego Group itself would be more ideal on their behalf, with their first attempts ending up as the themes Slizer/Throwbots and RoboRiders, released in 1999 and 2000 respectively as tests to prove their popularity. Lego incorporated elements from their own Technic construction series such as the innovative 'ball-and-socket' joint that was new to the Lego building system. Even though both themes were short-lived, they proved to be popular, prompting Lego to create a new theme with an original storyline as a product staple to last at least twenty years.

Brain-storming for ideas of a new theme, an early concept entitled 'Bone Heads of Voodoo Island' was worked up by Lego employees Bob Thompson and Martin Riber Andersen and Christian Faber of Danish creative and advertising agency Advance from a brief by Erik Kramer, and sent out to outside writers, along with several other concepts. One of the writers who received the original document was UK writer Alastair Swinnerton. Swinnerton then rewrote the concept and sent it back to Thompson, and was then invited to pitch the new concept to Lego at their HQ in Billund. The revised concept, which formed the basis of what was to become Bionicle, was well received by Lego, and Swinnerton was commissioned to expand his initial pitch into a full 'bible'. On his second visit to Billund, the project was given approval, having been entitled "Bionicle" at an internal Lego meeting - a portmanteau constructed from the words "biological chronicle".[1] To accompany the sets, Lego worked with Swinnerton and Advance to create an elaborate, original story featuring red herrings and arcs centering around bio-mechanical characters and telling it on a vast multimedia scale that would grow as the series continued. The uses of tropical environments and characters based on classical elements were also taken from the theme's predecessor lines.

Initially, the idea of Bionicle faced resistance from company traditionalists as Lego had no experience of creating a story-based brand of their own. The war-like appearance of the Bionicle characters also went against the company values of the time of creating sets without a modern warfare or violence theme.[2]

Launch and initial reception[edit]

The first wave of Bionicle sets were initially launched in December 2000 in Europe and Australasia as a "test market" to predict how well the sets would sell in North America. The theme's website also debuted around the same time. After a positive reception, Bionicle was released in North America in mid-2001, where it generated massive success, earning the Lego Group £100 million in its first year.[3] New sets were released roughly every six months through to the theme's original cancellation in 2010 and ranged from buildable action figures to constructive play sets and vehicles while also increasing in size and flexibility. A number of collectibles were also incorporated into the toy waves, examples being weapon ammo and the 'Kanohi' masks that characters such as the Toa and Matoran wore, some of which became rare and valuable and withheld secret codes that when entered onto the official Bionicle website provided the user with "Kanoka Points", enabling them to access exclusive membership material.

Bionicle's popularity rose and became one of Lego's biggest and successful properties. It was named as the #1 most-rated Lego product in 2003 and 2006 in terms of sales and popularity,[2] also accounting for nearly all of Lego's financial turnover from the previous decade. No other Lego theme at the time came close to the amount of profits generated by Bionicle. Its popularity led to web traffic on its official website, averaging more than a million page views per month and further kinds of merchandise outside the Lego building system such as costumes, toiletries and fast-food restaurant collectibles.

Discontinuation[edit]

In 2008, saw a loss in sales and a lack of new interest in Bionicle. In November 2009, the company announced the halt of new Bionicle sets "for the foreseeable future" after a final wave was released in 2010, despite Lego's original decision to run the theme up until 2020. In the summer that followed, Lego launched a new construction series called Hero Factory that acted as a successor to Bionicle and featured a similar building system in its legacy.

At his request, long-term comic-book writer and story contributor Greg Farshtey was given permission by the Lego Group to continue the Bionicle storyline on his own, with chapters of new serials arranged to be posted regularly on the website BionicleStory.com.[4] This was abruptly halted in mid-2011 due to Farshtey's other commitments, although an official announcement has not been made. The website was shut down in June 2013, and a number of new serials were left uncompleted.

Relaunch[edit]

On September 19, 2014, Lego announced the relaunch of Bionicle for January 2015 with a reboot to the original story.[5] The first wave of sets and further storyline details were unveiled at the New York Comic Con on October 9, 2014. Lego also confirmed that future sets for the reboot are planned for release over the following three years, spanning Bionicle through to 2017 and possibly further.[6]

Story[edit]

Generation 1[edit]

The first generation of the Bionicle story is set in a science fantasy universe in a time pre-dating recorded history (dubbed in the narrative as "The Time Before Time") and features beings composed of a mix of organic organs and mechanical parts. The story was told on a multimedia platform developed by a team of Lego employees led by Bob Thompson[2] who decided which piece of media got which part of the story. Mediums included comic books, novels, online games and animated videos, among others. The majority of comics and novels were written by author Greg Farshtey, who also contributed to a number of web serials and podcasts in the first generation's later years.

Four direct-to-DVD films, Bionicle: Mask of Light, Bionicle 2: Legends of Metru Nui, Bionicle 3: Web of Shadows and Bionicle: The Legend Reborn, were released between 2003–2005 and 2009 respectively, each based upon the storyline of that year. A further two were set for release in 2010 and 2011, but were scrapped after the announcement of Bionicle's discontinuation.

A general story-note is characters such as the Toa and Matoran are divided into tribes based on six elements; Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Ice and Stone. Other elements were later introduced as the story continued.

2001 – Coming of the Toa[edit]

On the island paradise of Mata Nui, a shadow has fallen over the land. The villagers known as Matoran live in fear of an all-powerful being called The Makuta; alleged to have cast the Great Spirit Mata Nui (the Matoran's god-like entity of which the island is named after) into a deep sleep. Now, Makuta has taken control of the Rahi - the island's fauna - to serve him and attack the Matoran and their villages. One Matoran, Takua, banished from his village due to his lack of work ethic, travels the island looking for stories to tell, earning him the nickname "The Chronicler". On one journey, he finds six ancient stones and brings them to Kini Nui (the heart of island) and joins them together to unknowingly trigger a beacon for six canisters floating in the ocean to wash up on the island's beaches. Once ashore, the canisters burst open to reveal six powerful beings; Tahu - Toa of Fire, Gali - Toa of Water, Lewa - Toa of Air, Onua - Toa of Earth, Pohatu - Toa of Stone and Kopaka - Toa of Ice. Carrying formidable tools to channel their elemental energies and donning great 'Kanohi' masks of power, the Toa remember nothing of their former lives except their names.[7] Prior to meeting each other, they rebuild themselves on the seashores and travel to one of the six villages on the island where they learn of the Matoran's war against the Rahi. The Toa soon join the conflict, and with the aid of the Matoran and their Turaga leaders, begin searching for more Kanohi masks, each of which possess a different ability. Collecting six each, they exchange their masks into Golden Kanohi and descend underground to face the Makuta. Prior to arriving at the villain's lair, the Toa form two Toa Kaita (giant beings created when Toa fuse together) to challenge Makuta's Manas crabs, and battle dark manifestations of themselves dubbed 'Shadow Toa'. When the Toa arrive, Makuta appears in the form of a Matoran to trick them, before transforming into a swirling vortex of tentacles and rusty machine parts. The Toa battle and defeat Makuta by combining their elemental powers onto him. Triumphant, the heroes return to the surface. But Takua, having followed the Toa down to watch the fight, discovers a large hive of cocoons hidden away from the battle site, revealing a new threat to the island. He sees one of the cocoons begin to hatch, but quickly escapes back to the surface before he can learn more.

2002 – The Bohrok Swarms[edit]

After their battle with the Makuta, the Toa emerge from his lair victorious, only to discover that the villain has unleashed a new threat to the island of Mata Nui: the Bohrok Swarms; six breeds of robotic bug-like drones designed to "cleanse" the island to its former barren state.[8] The Bohrok rampage across Mata Nui and begin tearing down the regions of each village, forcing the Turaga and Matoran to flee. And while many Matoran are driven under the influence of the Krana (the Bohrok's brain-like substances), others find new ways to retaliate against the swarms. The Toa begin to collect all eight varieties of Krana from each breed while engaging in combat with them and later reunite to travel down to the Bohrok's underground nests. There, they place the Krana in niches located in each breed's hive, but this alone fails to stop the swarms. The Toa later discover and don powerful, sentient battle armor called Exo-Toa which lead them to the chamber of the true Bohrok commanders; the Bahrag twins Cahdok and Gahdok. The Toa battle the queens and learn that the Exo-Toa are hampering their elemental powers. Taking the robotic armor off, they are able to re-access them and trap the Bahrag in a cage of solid protodermis (a material created by all six Toa's elemental energies). On the surface, the swarms stop in mid-action, and the Matoran begin the process of rebuilding their villages, using the Bohrok robots now that their Krana are powerless. The Toa's victory is short-lived when the ground beneath them opens up and plunges each of them into tubes filled with energized protodermis, transforming the heroes into more powerful beings with new armor, masks and weapons, creating the Toa Nuva.[8] At the same time, a set of new Kanohi masks are placed in secret hiding places all over Mata Nui for the heroes to find, six symbol plaques containing the Toa's elemental abilities appear in each village, and a cube that can fit all the plaques together is formed near the Bahrag's prison. Emerging from the tubes and returning to the surface, the Toa Nuva engage in battle against one another to test their new powers, but their actions lead to anger among them and all think it best to go their separate ways.

2003 – The Bohrok-Kal Strike / Mask of Light[edit]

Following the defeat of the Bahrag and the Bohrok's return to their hives, the Toa Nuva return to their villages to help the Matoran in the reconstruction after the damage the swarms caused. However, six new elite Bohrok - the Bohrok-Kal - have arrived on Mata Nui with the intention of releasing the Bahrag from their prison so they can unleash the swarms once again. Each Kal steals the Toa Nuva's elemental plaques, leaving the heroes greatly outmatched without their abilities. Relying solely on their mask powers and combat skills, the Toa chase the Bohrok-Kal all over Mata Nui and eventually find them in the Bahrag's underground nest. The Kal defeat the Exo-Toa guards with ease before attempting to fit all six plaques onto the Nuva cube in order to re-awake the swarm queens. But before the tablets join, Tahu unleashes a secret weapon; the Kanohi Vahi - the legendary Mask of Time - to slow down time around them so the Toa can retrieve their tablets. The Toa Nuva then use their connections to their tablets to feed energy into the elite Bohrok and make them believe that their power alone can cleanse the island. However, the Kal's powers soon run wild and eventually destroy them. The Toa Nuva exit the nest, and after hiding their plaques at secret locations, enjoy a new time of peace on Mata Nui.

Weeks later, Takua and fellow Matoran Jaller discover a great Kanohi mask hidden under their village of Ta-Koro. After playing in the Kohlii Tournament (a popular Matoran sport), they take it to the Turaga who confirm it is the Kanohi Avohkii - the Mask of Light - prophesied to be worn by a seventh Toa with the elemental power of Light who can defeat the Makuta for good and begin the process of reawakening Mata Nui. Learning of Takua and Jaller's mission to find the seventh Toa, Makuta unleashes his "sons"; the Rahkshi - six robotic suits of armor powered by the slug-like Kraata created from his very essence - to track down and kill the herald, who the Makuta identifies as Takua, despite the Chronicler's belief that he is not. The Toa Nuva battle the Rahkshi all over Mata Nui, who level the villages of Ta-Koro and Onu-Koro in their search for the two Matoran. The Rahkshi eventually find them in Kini Nui, as a final confrontation between the Makuta sons and the Toa ensues, killing Jaller in its last moments. The death of his friend convinces Takua that he is the true herald. Donning the Avohkii, he transforms into Takanuva - Toa of Light - and travels underground to face the Makuta. Followed by the rest of the Mata Nui populace, Takanuva confronts Makuta in his lair and clashes with him in a game of Kohlii before they both fall into a pool of energized protodermis and re-emerge as Takutanuva. The fused being lifts up the gate to an underground city to let the Toa, Turaga and Matoran through and revives Jaller, before the weight of the gate crushes him. The Turaga retrieve the intact Avohkii from his demise and use it to revive Takanuva, whereas the Makuta's fate is unknown. Preparing to journey to the city, the Turaga reveal its name as Metru Nui - the Matoran's original home - and go on to reveal that the Toa Nuva are not in fact the first Toa.[9]

2004 – Legends of Metru Nui[edit]

As the Matoran prepare for the journey back to Metru Nui, the Turaga reveal age-old tales of how they themselves were once Toa 1,000 years ago in the last days of the city's golden age. Floating in a dome beneath Mata Nui, Metru Nui was a busy city metropolis where the Matoran worked in peace under the leadership of Turaga Dume. However, all of the city's Toa guardians started to mysteriously disappear, leaving team leader Lhikan as its sole protector. Knowing there was danger, Lhikan sacrificed his power into six Toa stones and handed them out to six Matoran - Vakama, Nokama, Matau, Whenua, Onewa and Nuju - before mercenaries known as The Dark Hunters captured him. The chosen Matoran headed to the Great Temple in Ga-Metru, where using the stones, transformed into the Toa Metru. Guided by strange visions from Vakama, the new Toa gathered six Great Kanoka discs and used them to defeat the Morbuzakh plant menace that threatened the city. However, when the Toa proclaimed their victory, Turaga Dume discredited them as imposters responsible for Lhikan's disappearance. Whenua, Onewa and Nuju were imprisoned, while Vakama, Nokama and Matau escaped as fugitives. After being chased across Metru Nui by two Dark Hunters and Vahki law enforcers, the Toa were reunited with each other as well as Lhikan - now a Turaga as a result of his sacrifice. The Toa also discovered the true Turaga Dume asleep in a stasis pod and learnt that Teridax - the leader of a corrupt organization known as The Brotherhood of Makuta - had been posing as Dume as part of his diabolical plan to overthrow the Great Spirit Mata Nui and become the Matoran's new leader. The Toa Metru confronted Teridax at the Coliseum, who had already placed the Matoran in stasis pods and erased their memories. He subsequently cast Mata Nui into a deep slumber, triggering an event known as the Great Cataclysm that damaged much of the Matoran Universe. The Toa fled with as many Matoran pods as they could carry and headed towards a rift in Metru Nui's dome. Teridax confronted them with the intention of obtaining the Mask of Time that Vakama had forged out of the Kanoka discs. The Toa of Fire clashed with the Makuta in a battle that ended with the loss of the mask and Lhikan's death. The Toa Metru eventually combined their elemental powers to seal Teridax in a prison of crystallized protodermis before continuing on their journey. After encountering new dangers, they arrived on a mysterious island that they saw fit as the Matoran's new home. Preparing it, the Toa christened the land "Mata Nui" after the Great Spirit before trekking back to Metru Nui to collect the rest of the Matoran, who all remained in a deep sleep.[10]

2005 – Web of Shadows[edit]

The Turaga continue their tale of how they rescued the Matoran from the City of Legends. Upon the Toa Metru's return to Metru Nui, they found the city in ruins. In their absence, vicious spider-like Rahi called Visorak had overrun the city with poisonous webs and mutated various other Rahi, all while holding the sleeping Matoran captive. Under the command of their king, Sidorak, and his viceroy, Roodaka, the spiders captured and cocooned the Toa and mutated them into half-Toa, half-Rahi creatures nicknamed "Toa Hordika". Rescued by the Rahaga - six small beings once Toa themselves - the Hordika were told that if they wished to be Toa again, they must seek the legendary Keetongu; a Rahi said to be an expert with poisons and antidotes. Putting their own problems aside, the Hordika built airships to transport the Matoran out of the Metru Nui and retrieved the Kanohi Mask of Light. However, a guilt-ridden Vakama succumbed to his Rahi impulses and betrayed his team-mates by joining Sidorak and Roodaka, who made him leader of the Visorak hordes after he kidnapped five of the Rahaga. The remaining Toa Hordika and Rahaga changed priorities and searched for Keetongu. Finding the Rahi in Ko-Metru, the group enlisted his help in a battle against the Visorak at the Coliseum. During the conflict, Roodaka abandoned Sidorak in a fight against Keetongu and left the horde king to die at the hands of the Rahi. Roodaka then confronted the Hordika and demanded their elemental powers, to which they all fired their Rhotuka spinner weapons at her, but the action had little effect. After dispersing the Visorak, a rejuvenated Vakama also fired a spinner directly at a shard of Teridax's crystallized protodermis prison that sat in Roodaka's armor. This knocked her unconscious and unknowingly released the Makuta before he teleported the viceroy away to safety.[11] Seeing that the Hordika had made peace with their animal sides, Keetongu restored them to their original forms. The Toa Metru then bid the Rahaga and Keetongu farewell and set off with the Matoran pod-loaded airships for the island of Mata Nui above. On the voyage, Vakama attempted to retrieve the Mask of Time from the protodermis sea, only to be caught in a battle between the revived Makuta and The Shadowed One, leader of the Dark Hunters. Spiriting the Vahi away from the duel, Vakama blackmailed Teridax into giving the Matoran one year of peace, before travelling on with his fellow Toa. Once on Mata Nui, the Toa Metru sacrificed their powers to awaken the now-amnesiac Matoran and transformed into Turaga leaders. They directed the villagers into building new homes, knowing the Makuta would return and that new prophesied Toa would, in time, arrive to fight him.[12]

2006 – Island of Doom[edit]

The Matoran arrive back in Metru Nui for the first time in 1,000 years and begin to repair the damage caused by the prior Visorak invasion. Meanwhile, the Toa Nuva learn that Mata Nui is not only asleep, but dying. To save him, they're told to venture to the island of Voya Nui and retrieve the Kanohi Ignika - the legendary Mask of Life.[13] However, when the heroes arrive, they are quickly overpowered by the Piraka; a group of former Dark Hunters of the lizard-like Skakdi species, who after raiding the Makuta's lair beneath Mata Nui, had the idea of claiming the Ignika planted into their minds by Teridax's surviving essence and travelled to Voya Nui in search of the mask themselves. Carrying the Makuta's essence in the form of a substance called Antidermis, the Piraka posed as Toa on the island before enslaving nearly all of the native Matoran with it; forcing them to carry out tasks in relation to finding the Ignika. Back in Metru Nui, Jaller is curious of the Toa Nuva's whereabouts. Suspecting the Turaga of harboring more secrets, he gets the Matoran to hold a strike until they reveal the Toa's location. In secret, Nokama discloses the Toa Nuva's mission of saving Mata Nui to Jaller. Believing they need assistance, he gathers five of the bravest Matoran he knows - Hahli, Hewkii, Kongu, Nuparu and Matoro - and with Takanuva, they prepare to travel to Voya Nui. But after Takanuva is forced to turn back, the Matoran arrive in the realm of Karzahni, where they are forced into the labor of rebuilding damaged Matoran by its ruler of the same name. The party eventually escape via Toa canisters heading to Voya Nui, but prior to arriving, bolts of lighting from an object called the Red Star which orbits the planet transform the Matoran into the Toa Inika; Toa with entwined lightning powers. With help from a small Matoran resistance force and the ancient being Axonn, the Toa battle the many guardians and challenges set by the Ignika and chase the Piraka underground to the Chamber of the Mask of Life. Upon arriving, the Inika find the Skakdi already defeated by the mask's final guardians; the insane seventh Piraka Vezon that the Ignika has fused itself to and his spider-like steed Fenrakk. After the Toa defeat the duo, Vezon re-arises riding a Kardas Dragon. Another immense battle climaxes with the pair getting trapped in a stasis field. But as Matoro retrieves the mask, the Toa's adversaries unfreeze and the dragon fires an energy blast that knocks the Ignika out of Matoro's hands and up out of the chamber, heading towards the sea.

2007 – Sea of Darkness[edit]

The Toa Inika and the revived Piraka chase after the Mask of Life, which eventually plunges into the bay encompassing Voya Nui. After receiving a clue about a city beneath the ocean and conversing with the recently freed Toa Nuva, the Inika descend through the stone cord that keeps Voya Nui afloat in the hope of reclaiming the Ignika, which later transforms the heroes into the water-breathing Toa Mahri - complete with new masks and weapons. The Ignika's descent ends in the underwater city of Mahri Nui, where it becomes a beacon of hope for the Matoran villagers as well as the Barraki; six former warlords sent to the Pit (a prison that sits on the lip of Mahri Nui) after their crimes as part of the League of Six Kingdoms. But after the Pit was damaged in the Great Cataclysm, they escaped into the ocean and were mutated into aquatic lifeforms by its waters. Believing the mask can change them back so they can rule the Kingdoms once again, the Barraki battle the recently arrived Toa Mahri and gamble for possession of the Ignika. Matoro is later imprisoned in the Pit by a robotic Maxilos guard that reveals itself as Makuta Teridax, who possessed the robot after his essence followed the Toa through the stone cord. He informs Matoro that Mata Nui can only be saved if the Toa shatter the cord, and although not trustful in the villain's words, the Toa of Ice relays the information to his team-mates. They agree and begin evacuating Matoran from both locations before proceeding to destroy the cord, which sends Voya Nui plummeting into the ocean and demolishes Mahri Nui in the process. But by the time the Toa Mahri retrieve the Ignika, Mata Nui dies. Believing there's still hope, the Toa battle the Barraki and their aquatic armies while Matoro races towards a hole in the seabed with the mask before Voya Nui descends to close it. Once in, Matoro falls through a waterfall within a cavern-like environment. He dons the Mask of Life and uses its powers to teleport the Toa Mahri to Metru Nui and turn them back into air-breathers, before the mask turns his body into pure energy that saves the Great Spirit. Meanwhile, the Maxilos body that Teridax inhabited is found badly damaged after a ferocious battle with the Barraki's armies, and is so presumed dead. Mata Nui has been saved, but remains asleep.

2008 – The Final Battle[edit]

After completing several tasks in preparation of Mata Nui's reawakening, the Toa Nuva are teleported to Karda Nui - the core of the Matoran Universe - to finally complete their destiny. Finding members from the Brotherhood of Makuta sent by Teridax already batting a group of Matoran warriors, the heroes - using the power of flight thanks to new "adaptive" armor and weapons - split into two teams; Kopaka, Lewa and Pohatu remain in the skies to protect the villagers, while Tahu, Gali and Onua descend to the Swamp of Secrets to retrieve the Mask of Life; previously worn by Matoro to save the Great Spirit. Kopaka's team receive support from three Av-Matoran (Matoran of Light) and a manifestation of the Mask of Life calling itself "Toa Ignika" while fighting a band of blind bat-like Makuta and their Shadow Matoran servants. Tahu's group, unaware that the Ignika is aiding the battle above, are threatened by three more Makuta, mutated by the waters of the swamp. Both groups reunite outside the Codrex - a giant metal sphere that sits at the swamp's centre - after retrieving six keystones to open it. Inside, the Toa discover powerful battle vehicles amongst ancient technology as well as their own origins to who they were before arriving on Mata Nui island. The heroes use the vehicles against the Makuta in a final all-out battle and receive help from a half-light drained Takanuva[14] who also manages to turn the Shadow Matoran back into their former states. Later, the Toa Ignika sacrifices itself to awaken Mata Nui, causing an energy storm that the Toa and Av-Matoran narrowly escape. The Makuta, however, realizing Teridax had in fact sent them to their deaths, are obliterated by the storm. Thanks to the Ignika's actions, the true form of Mata Nui rises from beneath the Endless Ocean for the first time in 1,000 years, destroying the island of Mata Nui in the process. The Toa Nuva and Takanuva arrive back in Metru Nui and join the celebrations of Mata Nui's reawakening with the Matoran and Turaga. But in the midst of the festivity, Teridax's laughter is heard throughout the city. The Makuta, thought to be long since dead, reveals that he has taken over Mata Nui's body - the giant robotic humanoid vessel that houses the entire Matoran Universe - before Mata Nui's spirit could return. As his reign of terror begins, Teridax seals his victory by placing Mata Nui's spirit inside the Mask of Life and ejecting it into outer-space, sending the former Great Spirit to an unknown destination.[15]

2009 – The Legend Reborn[edit]

Far away from the Matoran Universe is the desert world of Bara Magna. In order to survive the harsh conditions of the planet and settle disputes, the Agori villagers pitch their best warriors known as Glatorian against one another in arena matches. But while most of the tribes live in amity, the recent arrival of the Rock Tribe and their Skrall warriors threatens to destroy the peace, as they appear to win every arena match they participate in. Despite this, all the tribes live in fear from a group of nomads called Bone Hunters, who stalk the wastelands and hunt Agori for sport. The Skrall later attack Arena Magna - the oldest arena on Bara Magna - during the Great Tournament. The Glatorian and Agori who escaped knew they couldn't defeat the Skrall alone and hoped that help would come. Months later, the Mask of Life - carrying the spirit of Mata Nui - crash-lands in the wastelands of Bara Magna and creates a new, smaller body for the former Great Spirit. Mata Nui eventually befriends a group of Glatorian and Agori, and with their help - after granting them elemental powers with the Ignika - begins to find a way back to his own universe. But with rumors of a traitor amongst the tribes, Mata Nui gets caught up in the war against the Skrall and their recently discovered alliance with the Bone Hunters and is taught how to fight for the first time. He later convinces the Agori and Glatorian that they must unite in order to fight their enemies, but after the Bone Hunters kidnap two of his new friends - the Glatorian Kiina and Agori Berix - Mata Nui travels to the Rock Tribe's village of Roxtus to combat Tuma; leader of the Skrall, in exchange for their freedom. Upon defeating Tuma, Mata Nui discovers the Ice Tribe Agori Metus is the traitor who brought the Skrall and Bone Hunters together. The Glatorian and Agori later arrive to combat their unified enemies and drive the Skrall and Bone Hunters out of Roxtus, while Mata Nui uses the Mask of Life to turn Metus into a snake as his punishment. After the battle, the Agori assemble the structures of their villages together to create a new "Mega-Village". Mata Nui notices how the structures link up to form a vast robotic body - similar to his old one - and upon discovering a map of an unknown location, begins a quest with his new friends to return to his people.

2010 – Journey's End[edit]

Mata Nui learns of Bara Magna's past, the Great Beings, and his destiny to reunite the planet with its moons Aqua Magna and Bota Magna to recreate the once-plentiful Spherus Magna. He begins his quest by travelling through a maze occupied with booby-traps (using the map he found as a guide), where he uncovers an unstable power source. After convincing the Glatorian and Agori to let him use the prototype robot they use as their Mega-Village, Mata Nui places the power source, the Mask of Life and his spirit inside it, and as the vessel, begins the process of reuniting Bara Magna with its satellites. Later, Makuta Teridax - in Mata Nui's old body - touches down on Bara Magna. Planning to conquer the planet and eventually the rest of the universe, the Makuta offers his 'brother' the chance to join him. He refuses, and the two massive robots start firing energy blasts at each other. On the ground, several Rahkshi and Skakdi under Teridax's command exit the Matoran Universe via his heel, followed by Tahu, Takanuva and other Toa. Makuta's forces are soon joined by the Skrall, who together, battle the Glatorian and Agori. Meanwhile, the Mask of Life reduces Tahu into his original Toa Mata form so he can don the Golden Armor; a weapon originally devised to destroy the Makuta species if they were to ever betray Mata Nui.[16] Teridax notices and scatters the armor across the desert with an energy blast. With the Glatorian Gresh, Tahu and Takanuva retrieve the armor back from their enemies. When Tahu bestows it, a wave of energy is unleashed that incinerates all the Kraata powering the Rahkshi armor, leaving the Skakdi and Skrall greatly outnumbered, who retreat into the desert. Mata Nui notices Teridax's hesitation in sensing the loss of his Rahkshi and sees this as a chance to swing his body into the oncoming path of a rock fragment from Aqua Magna[17] that crashes into Teridax's head and damages the robot's core processor, killing the Makuta for good. Mata Nui completes his destiny of reforming Spherus Magna, but the strain is too great as his body plummets to the ground. The Toa and Glatorian arrive at the crash-site to find Mata Nui speaking from inside the undamaged Mask of Life. He tells them to seek out the Great Beings as a final wish, while he decides to remain dormant inside the Ignika. The Toa, Matoran, Glatorian, Agori and all other beings from both worlds now begin a new life on Spherus Magna.[18]

Generation 2[edit]

Work on a reboot to the original story began in 2012 when Lego were developing Bionicle's relaunch. The story note of characters being divided into six elemental tribes remains the same, for the exception of Air, which has now become Jungle.

2015 – Masks of Power[edit]

On the mythical island of Okoto, the Lord of the Skull Spiders and his minion army are closing in on three powerful artifacts; the Mask of Creation, the Mask of Control - both previously worn by the late Mask Maker brothers Ekimu and Makuta - and the Mask of Ultimate Power; the last mask produced by Makuta who, jealous of his brother's higher-rated craftsmanship, broke an ancient vow by forging the mask with more than one elemental force. The power of the mask corrupted Makuta as soon as he put it on and began to destroy the island, forcing Ekimu to confront him. The battle ended with Ekimu knocking the mask from his brother's face, creating a shock wave that sent both brothers into an endless sleep and scattered all three masks across Okoto. Just as the villagers begin to give up hope, six heroes, the Toa - each masters of a sacred element - crash-land on the island and are quickly enlisted by the Protectors (elders of the villages) to help in their battle against the Skull Spiders. With their courage, the Toa - Tahu, Kopaka, Pohatu, Gali, Onua and Lewa - each embark on a quest to find their golden Masks of Power that are the key to unlocking their full elemental abilities. Once claimed, the Toa unite outside the ancient city of the Mask Makers to battle the Lord of the Skull Spiders. After defeating the enemy, the Toa venture inside the city in search of the resting place of the Mask Maker Ekimu, only to find a new threat awaiting them; an army of skeleton warriors raised from the dead by Kulta the Skull Grinder using the Mask of Creation. Now, the Toa must take on the Skull Army in the hope of claiming the sacred mask and awakening Ekimu, before Kulta conquers the whole of Okoto.

Reception[edit]

The Bionicle franchise was well received over its venture and became one of the Lego Group's biggest-selling properties. At the time of its launch, one reviewer described the sets as "A good combination of assembly and action figure".[19] and first-year sales of £100 million ($161.7 million).[20] Bionicle later received a Toy of the Year Award for Most Innovative Toy in 2001 from the Toy Industry Association.[21]

Bionicle's rapid success had a major impact on the Lego Company. Stephanie Lawrence, the global director of licensing for Lego, stated "We've created an evergreen franchise to complement the many event-based properties on the children's market. An increasing number of category manufacturers want to tap into the power of the Bionicle universe, and the key for us now is to manage the excitement to stay true to the brand and the lifestyle of our core consumer."[22]

Since its launch, toy critics have said that Bionicle has changed the way children think and play with Lego products by combining "The best of Lego building with the story telling and adventure of an action figure". Toy statics have revealed that 85% of American boys aged 6–12 have heard of Bionicle while 45% own the sets.[22]

Māori language controversy[edit]

In 2002, several Māori tribal groups from New Zealand were angered by Lego's lack of respect for some of their words which were used to name certain characters, locations and objects in the Bionicle storyline.[23][24] A letter of complaint was written, and the company agreed to change the names of certain story elements (e.g. the villagers originally known as "Tohunga" was changed to "Matoran")[24] and met with an agreement with the Māori people to still use a small minority of their words.[25]

In the story, the reason for certain name changes was dubbed as a Naming Ceremony for certain Matoran after doing heroic deeds (though the pronunciations remained the same), an example being the name change of 'Huki' to 'Hewkii'.[26] Other names such as "Toa" meaning "Warrior", "Kanohi" meaning "Face" and "Kōpaka" meaning "Ice"[24] were not changed.

Music[edit]

Composers Paul Hardcastle and Simon Fuller produced the music for the Bionicle commercials used between 2001-2004, which also featured in the Mata Nui Online Game released throughout 2001. An official Bionicle album - featuring music from the bands Cold and Woven and singers Rob Zombie and Kenna - from was originally planned for release in 2002, but the project was scrapped when disagreements arose between The Lego Group and their chosen label Interscope Records.

Music for the Bionicle films Mask of Light (2003), Legends of Metru Nui (2004) and Web of Shadows (2005) was composed by Nathan Furst and have a much classical nature in comparison to the techno-driven sounds used in the earlier Bionicle commercials. In 2012, Furst announced plans to release an album compiling of music used in the films as well as re-recordings, but the plans were scrapped in 2015. In 2005, the band All Insane Kids released the songs "Hero" and "Caught in a Dream", produced and written by Morten Krog Helgesen.[27] The latter serves as the official soundtrack to Bionicle 3: Web of Shadows.

Between 2006 and 2007, artists such as The All-American Rejects, Daughtry and Niels Brinck contributed songs for Bionicle commercials. But the success of the song "Creeping in My Soul" sung by Danish singer Christine Lorentzen for Bionicle's Barraki toy wave advertising campaign led to the formation of the rock band Cryoshell, who produced music for the theme up until its original discontinuation, and in its wake released their self-titled debut album. Music for the fourth Bionicle film The Legend Reborn (2009) was composed by John D'Andrea.

In popular culture[edit]

  • In an episode of Even Stevens, characters Louis and "Beans" are seen playing with a few of the Toa Mata and Bohrok sets.
  • In Clangers episode "Small's New Star", in a close-up shot of the junk in the Iron Chicken's nest, an old Bionicle part can be seen.
  • In The Lego Movie, an image of the Toa Mata is shown as one of the many realms in the Lego universe, referred to as "a bunch of others we don't need to mention".

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Official Greg Discussion p. 198 on BZPower forums, post #5922
  2. ^ a b c Widdicombe, Rupert (2004-04-29). "Building blocks for the future". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 29 December 2009. 
  3. ^ http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/6825911/Lego-play-it-again.html
  4. ^ "An Important Announcement Regarding Bionicle". Retrieved 28 December 2009. 
  5. ^ https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=1510717302502681&set=vb.1472651449642600&type=2&theater
  6. ^ http://crunchbitenuva.tumblr.com/post/106370173519/new-bionicle-2015-catalog-scans-of-the-pages
  7. ^ C.A. Hapka, Bionicle Chronicles #1: Tale of the Toa
  8. ^ a b C.A. Hapka, Bionicle Chronicles #2: Beware the Bohrok
  9. ^ Greg Farshtey, Bionicle Adventures #1: Mystery of Metru Nui
  10. ^ Greg Farshtey, Bionicle Adventures #5: Voyage of Fear
  11. ^ Bionicle 3: Web of Shadows
  12. ^ Bionicle 2: Legends of Metru Nui
  13. ^ Greg Farshtey, Bionicle Legends #1: Island of Doom
  14. ^ Greg Farshtey, Bionicle Legends #10: Swamp of Secrets
  15. ^ Greg Farshtey, Bionicle Legends #11: The Final Battle-Epilogue
  16. ^ Bionicle Glatorian #06: All That Glitters
  17. ^ http://www.bzpower.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=335541
  18. ^ Bionicle Glatorian #07: Rebirth
  19. ^ Doug Cornelius. "The end of LEGO Bionicle". Wired. Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  20. ^ Telegraph (2009-12-17). "Lego: play it again". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved 2010-01-01. 
  21. ^ Business Wire (2002-04-16). "LEGO Company to Channel Strong 2001 Performance into Aggressive Growth Strategy for North America; World leader in construction toys aims to double its Canadian business by 2005". Business Wire. Retrieved 2010-02-08. 
  22. ^ a b Business Wire (2004-06-07). "BIONICLE Fever Heats, Blazes Into New Categories; Key Players in Five Children's Merchandise Categories Jump on BIONICLE Bandwagon". Business Wire. Retrieved 2009-12-26. 
  23. ^ "Lego game irks Maoris". London: BBC News. 2005-05-31. Retrieved 2006-08-14. 
  24. ^ a b c Griggs, Kim (2002-11-21). "Lego Site Irks Maori Sympathizer". Wired News. Retrieved 2006-08-14. 
  25. ^ "Lego agrees to stop using Maori names". London: BBC News. 2001-10-30. Retrieved 2006-08-14. 
  26. ^ Bionicle Encyclopedia, Scholastic 2007
  27. ^ Insane Kids All Insane Kids, www.last.fm

External links[edit]