BIONICLEsector01:An Open Letter to BIONICLE Fans

From BIONICLEsector01

To all BIONICLE fans everywhere,

There’s been a lot of talk over the past few weeks over the state of BIONICLE going forward. Some, I think, were undoubtedly hoping that the interviews we’ve posted would yield new and concrete information regarding the line’s future. It was never our intention, or LEGO’s, to disappoint in that regard necessarily. The company is, rightfully so, notorious for their secrecy; to be so forthcoming about future plans, even in the most cryptic of teases, is not in their nature. To be honest, even though it was certainly in my list of interview questions, I knew it was never one I would actually be able to put forward, no matter how cagey and clever I thought I could be with it. Being in Billund for LEGO’s “Fan Media Day” only reinforced that; this is a company that has dedicated decades upon decades to providing and refining an experience that transcends the product itself. At the beginning, Kim Ellaekjer Thomsen, the wonderful digital liaison (or whatever strange title he’s been given lately!) told us that LEGO sees us, the online RLUGs, as the “good” media; that we weren’t looking for soundbites or sensationalism or scoops. We wanted what was best for both LEGO and the fans. It might not always be a perfect relationship, but it’s at its best being mutually beneficial; they’re happy when we’re happy, and vice versa. To be so blasé about their work would have been to show disrespect when nothing but respect has been shown to us.

During the actual day of interviews, I was pretty caught up in the energy of the whole event. If you couldn’t tell from the transcripts, I am in no way a professional at this sort of thing (the recordings are even worse!). But there was just so much inherent excitement that it helped power me through the inexperience; Mette’s announcement of the BIONICLE Rebrick contest was certainly unexpected but energizing! Since my BIONICLE team interview was after the lunch break, I spent a good portion of the meal mentally prepping for that. I don’t know if Kim sensed this was his time to strike, or if we were just conveniently sitting next to each other at the time, but he casually offered me an opportunity to attend a special BIONICLE session after the interviews were done. The purpose? To see the second two Netflix episodes of BIONICLE: Journey to One.

Of course! I said. The media day was already more than I could have asked for; this was the icing. Sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement? I thought nothing of it. Perhaps I’m not used to them. But I figured, hey; LEGO is secretive, and Netflix is secretive. Why wouldn’t I have to sign one?

After media day interviews had all wrapped up, I accompanied the BIONICLE team, Andrew (Black Six from BZPower) and Huw from Brickset, to a nearby office building. The NDA terms were fairly simple: watch the episodes, and talk about the ReBrick contest.

Once signed, we were let into a viewing room. On the center of the table were three imposing, monolithic BIONICLE creations. Every inch of them a Makuta. Two sat seated in ornate, terrifying thrones; one stood proud and upright, daring a challenge. This one caught my eye, as it will yours; it bore a new mask, a strong, golden six-pointed mask.

Before we could ask too many questions, we were seated for the main attraction: the last two episodes of Journey to One. FULL SPOILERS FOR THE JOURNEY TO ONE FOLLOW. As they have been released and are now available, I will be discussing or alluding to major spoilers, as they tie in heavily to the real purpose of the special session.

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The first episode starts off much as you’d expect it to; the summer sets are all introduced, Umarak is on a secret mission for Makuta, and the Toa are facing off against hordes of Beasts who manifest from the “Shadow Realm” (Yu-Gi-Oh jokes abound). The second episode, however, takes a huge swerve left. Umarak’s mission turns out to be recovering six shards of the third and final legendary mask: The Mask of Ultimate Power. Makuta needs the mask to emerge from the Shadow Realm, where he has been trapped for the past thousands of years. The Toa, a powered-up Ekimu, and a very special mystery character all rush to stop him, but are too late; Umarak succeeds in reuniting the pieces, and Gali’s soul is dragged into the Shadow Realm to be hunted by the Beasts and Makuta himself.

In the Shadow Realm (and points for giving the character a proactive role in the plot, since it initially seemed SUPER cliché to have her be the one taken), Gali discovers that the Prophecy of Heroes we all know is only a small part of a much larger chain of events; of a great Destiny. After escaping the Shadow Realm, Gali convinces the other Toa to embrace that Destiny, and sacrifice themselves to defeat Makuta, saving the world at the cost of their place in it.

The BIONICLE team gave us a few moments to process the ending, but then spelled out what we had already surmised, and what many readers had perhaps already guessed; Summer 2016 would be the last wave of BIONICLE sets for the foreseeable future.

They could not give us specifics of what led to that decision; people are still free to rage and debate on factors like reception, sales, cost of production, or what have you. It was implied that the decision was made during production of the Netflix series, and that rewrites altered the final outcome of the story.

But they wanted to emphasize that it was not a decision made lightly, nor would it be an unceremonious end. BIONICLE will have one final contest, a ReBrick contest. You will soon be familiar with the three Makuta models I described earlier as the showcase models for this BIONICLE ReBrick Contest. The one with the new Mask is indeed the model seen in the episodes as THE Makuta, and the mask you see is the Mask of Ultimate Power - this mask will sadly not be available to the public.

What WILL be made to the public, in a limited quantity of 100, is a fan-favorite request: an Art Book of concepts and illustrations from the series! BS01 will have several copies of this exclusive book to distribute in the future, but fret not, as the files will also be made available as well for the wiki.

It's a difficult decision as a follower of the series to process, let alone for the team to have come to. To see BIONICLE canceled twice in recent memory is surely a sore spot for a number of fans. But even though we don’t know what the future holds, the fans are the lifeblood of the series. BS01 will continue on; with this knowledge, we have prepared some great projects that we hope people will like. And the wiki will remain the best and most informative place for BIONICLE information; that has never, and will never change.

Stay tuned, everyone.

Aeden O’Neil-Dunne
-- Dorek Talk External Image 17:21, 29 July 2016 (CET)