Ever since the BIONICLE storyline began in 2001, it has appeared in a variety of different media. First debuting as an online game, the Mata Nui Adventure Game (more commonly known as the Mata Nui Online Game, or MNOLG), and later appearing as a series of Comics, Books, and Movies, it can be compared to such licenses as Star Wars in its multimedia scale.
- Online Games: First appearing in 2001, these were the first form of BIONICLE media. There have been three major online games, along with several smaller games.
- Comics: The BIONICLE comic series, written by Greg Farshtey with art by Carlos D'Anda and Randy Elliott, who were later replaced by Stuart Sayger in 2006 and 2007, Leigh Gallagher in 2008, and Pop Mhan in 2009.
- Animations - Animations are either promotional advertisements for sets, or promoting a various aspect of the story.
- Card Games: The original BIONICLE TCG appeared in 2001. Since then, there has been one expansion pack as well as three other games.
- Board Games: There have been seven board games so far; the first was released in 2001, the second and third (which was based on the first movie) in 2003, the fourth in 2004, the fifth in 2005, the sixth in 2006 and the seventh in 2007.
- CDs: Promotional CDs have been inserted in sets since 2001, starting with the Toa Mata Mini Promo CD. They contain information about the set, including promotional videos and biographies of the characters.
- Video Games: The first BIONICLE video game appeared in late 2001. There have been four GBA releases, as well as one for sixth-generation games consoles and a canceled game for PC.
- Books: BIONICLE books made their debut in mid-2003. They are written by Cathy Hapka and Greg Farshtey, and published by Scholastic in the US and Harper Collins Children Books in the UK.
- Movies: The BIONICLE direct-to-DVD movies appeared for the first time in late 2003. Four have been released, with the first three being created by Miramax and Creative Capers, and published by Buena Vista Home Entertainment. The fourth film was created by Tinseltown Toons and distributed by Universal Pictures.
- Websites: The world wide web is populated by a number of BIONICLE-related websites.
- Desktop Toys: Desktop screenmates which featured Takua, Tahu and Bohrok. They are no longer downloadable on BIONICLE.com.
The BIONICLE Story
There are several ways to break up the BIONICLE story. The main source of storyline information written by the creators is the story bible. According to Greg Farshtey, they have written the story up to 2011. Originally, the BIONICLE story was divided into 'books.' These are no longer used, though fans still divide the storyline into this form for simplicity. They are as follows:
- Book I (2001-2003) - Mata Nui
- Book II (2004-2005) - Metru Nui
- Book III (2006-2008) - Quest for the Mask of Life
- Book IV (2009-2010) - Bara Magna
- Book V (2010-) - Spherus Magna
Another way to divide up the story is by using story bibles. The official BIONICLE website refers to story bibles as Story Years. The events of Story Years 2004 and 2005 take place roughly 1,000 years before the events of Story Year 2001.
- Story Year 2001: Quest for the Masks
- Story Year 2002: The Bohrok Swarms
- Story Year 2003: The Bohrok-Kal Strike and the Mask of Light
- Story Year 2004: Legends of Metru Nui
- Story Year 2005: Web of Shadows
- Story Year 2006: Island of Doom
- Story Year 2007: Sea of Darkness
- Story Year 2008: The Final Battle
- Story Year 2009: Bara Magna
- Story Year 2010: Journey's End and Spherus Magna
- Story Year 2011: Spherus Magna
Fan-made BIONICLE Characters
On several occasions, The LEGO Group has held a contest giving its fans a chance to contribute to the BIONICLE storyline by creating characters that would become an official part of the story.
The first contest, the Rahi Building Challenge, was announced in the March 2004 LEGO Magazine. Entrants were asked to build a Rahi of Metru Nui, with the winner being featured in a BIONICLE Comic. The winner was Justin Lamb, who designed the Tahtorak. Not only was it featured in Comic 21: Dreams of Darkness, it made a large appearance in BIONICLE Adventures 8: Challenge of the Hordika and was featured in the BIONICLE: Rahi Beasts guide. Other winning models featured in the Rahi Beasts Guide were the Archives Mole, Artakha Bull, Blade Burrower, Catapult Scorpion, Crystal Climber, Dermis Turtle, Doom Viper, Fader Bull, Frost Beetle, Furnace Salamander, Kanohi Dragon, Metru Mantis, Phase Dragon, Proto Drake, Razor Whale, Rock Lion, Silver Chute Spider, Spiny Stone Ape, and the Vahki Hunter.
Another contest, the Toa Building Challenge, was a Brickmaster-exclusive that was announced in the January 2005 LEGO Brickmaster Magazine. Entrants were asked to build a Toa that would make an appearance in BIONICLE Adventures 10: Time Trap. John Dexter won the contest with his model Toa Krakua, the Toa of Sonics.
The Dark Hunter Building Challenge was announced in the May 2005 LEGO Magazine, asking entrants to build their own Dark Hunters. The winners were published in the BIONICLE: Dark Hunters guide, the models being Darkness, Airwatcher, Amphibax, Ancient, Charger, Vanisher, Gatherer, Prototype, Dweller, Mimic, Firedracax, Gladiator, Kraata-Kal, Savage, Poison, Seeker, Minion, Primal, Ravager, Shadow Stealer, Conjurer, Eliminator, Subterranean, Spinner, Guardian, Tyrant, Hordika Dragons, and Tracker. Silence, Vengeance and Devastator were also featured in separate Brickmaster editions of the LEGO Magazine, whilst Phantom was featured as an entry in the BIONICLE: Encyclopedia Updated.
The January 2006 LEGO Magazine featured another contest, the BIONICLE Fusion Building Challenge. The challenge was to merge two of the Piraka into one monstrous being. The winner was BZPower member and Premier Staff Writer ChocolateFrogs, and his creation appeared in Comic 5: In Final Battle as the Piraka Fusion.
In January 2008, a BrickMaster-exclusive Makuta Building Challenge was announced in that month's BrickMaster magazine. Entrants were asked to create a Brotherhood of Makuta member to aid in the assault on Karda Nui, with the grand prize winner's creation appearing in the 2008 story. The grand prize winner was Sarah Newkirk, whose model now represents the former Brotherhood of Makuta leader Miserix. In addition to the grand prize winner, four first place winners were chosen to appear alongside the winner in the May/June BrickMaster magazine. The four first place winners were: Olena Zozulevich, Nick Santoni, Jonas Liptak, and Joshua Guthrie; who is also known as ~GreenBioGuy~ on BIONICLEsector01 and BZPower.
In March 2010, a "Who Am I?" contest was announced in the final comic of the BIONICLE Glatorian series. Entrants were asked to create a bio for a character based on a combiner model of the six Stars sets of 2010. The winner of the contest had their character featured in The Powers That Be, who was named as Gaardus.
Fan-made Storyline Additions
There are have also been a few occurrences in which author Greg Farshtey has turned to BZPower to create official storyline, or BZPower and BIONICLEsector01 has held competitions where Greg has approved that winners will be accepted into the official canon. These contests are as follows:
Storyline and Theories Contest #1: Treespeak in Metru Nui
Bohrok Short Story Contest
Another BZPower contest saw members writing a short story to explain the appearance of Bohrok when the Toa Metru were on their return journey from Mata Nui to Metru Nui. The winning story was "Protection" by InnerRayg.
Storyline and Theories Contest #2: A Thousand Years Untold
In 2006, BZPower was once again given the chance to create storyline in the form of a short story. The task was to create three short stories, one for each spotlight island (Mata Nui, Metru Nui, Voya Nui), describing what took place on each of these lands 500 years after the Great Cataclysm. The winning stories were: "Hope" by Lady Kopaka (Voya Nui Category), "Tentacles" by Turakii #1 Lavasurfer (Mata Nui Category) and "The Dweller Report" by SPIRIT (Metru Nui Category).
The Next Chronicler
In 2007, Greg Farshtey presented the opportunity to BZPower members to pick the next Chronicler of Metru Nui, now that previous Chronicler, Hahli, had become a Toa. The winning Matoran was Kopeke, and his first appearance as Chronicler came in BIONICLE Legends 8: Downfall.
Storyline and Theories Contest #4: Xian Weapons!
BZPower held a contest where the entrants were to design a weapon that could be produced on Xia. There were three categories; art, description and MOC, as well as three sub-categories within art; hand-drawn, computer and other. The five winners of each category (in art, two each for hand-drawn and computer and one for other) were accepted into the BIONICLE official universe. The contest is also BZP's first Expanded Universe Contest, and so all entries that were approved to go to the polls were also considered a part of their Expanded Universe. The winning entries are the Devastator, Earth Claw, Electro Chute Blade, Lightstone Rifle, Energy Siphon Blade, Eccentric Rock, Impact Crystal Launcher, Griffin Gauntlet, Hagah Plasma Cannon, Firework Revolver, Twilight Blade, Judgement Cannon, Vortixx Rhotuka Battle Axe, Energy Extraction Rifle, and Kanoka Blade.
KanohiJournal Storyline Contest #1: Aqua Blaster Blade
The BIONICLE fan magazine, KanohiJournal, ran a contest to build the Aqua Blaster Blade, a Toa Tool of Toa Mahri Nuparu's that never appeared in the set. The winning design was accepted into canon as the official Aqua Blaster Blade, with the winner being Terakk.
During the course of March and April, BIONICLEsector01 ran a contest to build Certavus, a famed Glatorian fighter who had died from natural causes. The winning model, created by Brickeens was accepted into storyline canon as the official representation of Certavus.
The Third Man
In the March 2009 issue of the Unofficial German BIONICLE magazine (Das Inoffizielle Deutsche Magazin), a contest was announced to create a visual depiction of the Agori Kirbold. The winning entry, drawn by InnerRayg, was declared the canon incarnation of Kirbold.
KanohiJournal Storyline Contest #2: Surel Artwork
A second contest held by the unofficial BIONICLE eMagazine, KanohiJournal, was held from June to July 2009. The contest aim was to draw Surel, an ancient warrior who trained a pack of Iron Wolves, and the winner of the contest was KanohiJournal member Vastolorde, whose entry became official canon.
The Unofficial German BIONICLE magazine (Das Inoffizielle Deutsche Magazin) ran another contest to build the Agori Kyry. The winning model was created by Sparky and was accepted into official canon as the official representation of Kyry.
The Unofficial German BIONICLE magazine (Das Inoffizielle Deutsche Magazin) hosted a mini-contest in December 2009, where participants were asked to give details and a name to a species of bird residing on Bara Magna. The winner was KanohiJournal member Hot Pants and his Cave Shrike entry, which was accepted as the official description of the creature.
Core War Contest
In late 2009, BIONICLESector01 ran a contest to create a short story about the Core War. The winning entry, Decadence, written by BIONICLESector01 Staff Member Dorek, won, and was accepted into official canon.
BIONICLESector01 held a contest in early 2010 to create a MOC representation of the Teridax of the Melding Alternate Universe. The winning model, created by BZPower Staff Member and BS01 user ToM Dracone, was accepted as canon as the official representation of the Alternate Teridax.
KanohiJournal Storyline Contest #3: Iron Wolf MOC/Artwork
A third contest was held by BIONICLE fan eMagazine KanohiJournal from March to May of 2010 to create both an art and MOC representation of the Iron Wolves. The winning MOC entry, created by BZPower Forum Leader -Shannara-, was accepted as canon. An artwork section then followed, and concluded with three winning entries, two by BZPower member Toa Kinliku and another by BZPower member Vastolorde. Both were accepted into the official storyline canon as depictions of the Iron Wolf.
In April 2010, BIONICLEsector01 started a contest to write a short story about Varian, the Toa trapped in stasis in the Dark Hunters fortress on Odina. The contest required contestants to write about Varian's past and how she was eventually captured by the Dark Hunters. The winning entry, No One Gets Left Behind, written by BZPower member Shadow-Nui won and became official canon.
KanohiJournal Storyline Contest #4: Nikila Artwork
The BIONICLE fan eMagazine KanohiJournal held a fourth contest starting early July 2010, where participants were asked to create an artistic representation of Toa Nikila. The winning entry, created by BZPower member Vrahno, was accepted into the official storyline canon.
During the course of November 2010 and January 2011, BIONICLEsector01 ran a contest to build Tobduk, the Order of Mata Nui assassin. The winning model, created by BZPower and BIONICLESector01 member Artakha was accepted into storyline canon as the official representation of Tobduk.
Name That GB
In the third chapter of The Yesterday Quest, an unknown character was revealed to be a Great Being in disguise. To coincide with the revelation, Greg Farshtey started a contest on BZPower, asking members to post their suggestions for who it is with arguments for why it is that character. He was originally to select the winning post based on the arguments provided, and distribute a prize. However, the storyline was left open in the wake of other projects, and the serials themselves remain unfinished. When contacted by BS01, Greg Farshtey later revealed that the intended winner was Velika.
On BZPower, members will regularly ask Greg Farshtey questions concerning storyline via the personal messaging service, however, as of March 4, 2011, LEGO had its policy changed so that members under the age of thirteen cannot ask Greg questions. On occasion, members have come up with suggestions for small additions to the canon, although few have ever been accepted. Such additions include the naming of Toa Naho, Nektann, Tridax, and the Toa Mangai, the recanonization of the Kewa and Kahu, the identification of an unnamed Mata Nui Online Game character as Midak, the combination of the shape-shifting Dark Hunter featured in The Many Deaths of Toa Tuyet and Triglax, a number of Kanohi, and the element of Psionics. However, Greg and the BZP staff have emphasized that he only accepts such fan submissions on rare occasions and that members should not flood his personal messenger inbox with suggestions.
On April 13, 2010, BZPower established a group of members called the Story Squad to handle and coordinate members' suggestions to Greg. Thus BZPower members are now advised to approach Story Squad members, rather than Greg himself, with their suggestions.