For almost 40 years, Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. has persevered as an ambassador from the gaming world. Their Red and Green overalls and hats only mean one thing—Mario and Luigi. These goomba stompin’, fireball tossin’, pipe slidin’ Italian plumbers originally hail from the platformer genre. In fact, they’re pioneers and trendsetters who continually evolve with the standard set by modern design and technology. They’ve crept their way into party games, fighting games, RPGs, racers, several sports titles, and more on their path to global reverence.
Mario as a commercial IP exists on a scale somewhere between comic book characters and Pokemon. Gamers, for the most part, eat it up too. Nintendo sells entire consol generations on first-party IPs that see a release or two per cycle, careful not to inundate fans with yearly sequels. They’ve taken extreme caution in adapting their characters for screen after the commercial failure of their live-action attempt at the Super Mario Bros in 1993—which actually kinda rips. Bob Hoskins (Who Framed Roger Rabbit) and John Leguizamo donned the hats and battled King Koopa (Dennis Hopper) as Mario and Luigi, but the Paul Verhoven action aesthetic didn’t grab fans the way that the colorful and charming gaming world of the Mushroom Kingdom did. Just shy of thirty years later, and Nintendo is stepping up to bat again, this time with an animated adaptation.
In 2018, Nintendo and Illumination announced a new animated Super Mario Bros. film. Illumination is the studio responsible for the family-friendly animated films Despicable Me, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Minions, The Secret Life of Pets, Sing, and their sequels. Fans had to wait another three years before more information dropped during 2021’s September Nintendo Direct—Nintendo’s method of disseminating information surrounding upcoming products through presentations. Questions, concerns, and memes immediately followed so let’s break down everything we know about the, as of yet untitled, animated Super Mario Bros. picture.
Who is Who In The New Super Mario Bros.?
During 2021’s September Nintendo Direct, Nintendo Representative Director and the creator of Mario himself, Shigeru Miyamoto announced the release date and casting details that set the internet on fire.
Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy) is everyone’s favorite mustachioed plumber, Mario. Considering Mario has traditionally been voiced by Charles Martinet, who is set to play several characters who inhabit the big-screen adaptation of the Mushroom Kingdom, news of Pratt’s casting stunned just about everyone. He shared a video on his Instagram detailing his long-standing love affair with Super Mario Bros., and his excitement and commitment to the project. “It’sa me,” he jokingly said with a hint of a New York Italian-American accent before saying, “that’s not the voice, you’ll have to wait to hear the voice, but we’ve been working hard at it.”
Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) is set to star as Mario’s brother, Luigi. Luigi’s more clumsy, frantic, oddball nature suits the wildcard of It’s Always Sunny, but Day has yet to publicly comment on the project.
Anya Taylor–Joy is the animated Princess Peach. In an interview with ExtraTV, Joy said, “It’s so much fun. I have unlimited amounts of respect for all of the work that goes into it because these artists are just incredible.” Time will tell if Princess Peach will serve as more than the damsel in distress, her typical role in each Mario Bros. installment.
In a universally praised casting move, Bowser will be played by comedy icon Jack Black. His dynamic voice and excitement to step into the spiked shell of King Koopa make him an ideal candidate for the role. When Consequence chatted with Tenacious D, Jack Black’s comedic rock n’ roll band with Kyle Gass, Jack Black expanded on his relationship to the franchise, “Am I a Mario Bros. fan? Dude, I go way back. Okay? I go Donkey Kong. I was there when Nintendo was in short pants…The main thing is, hey Pratt Pratt, I’m coming for you. Yeah, Bowser’s gonna eat you up whole. I’mma barbecue you, and then eat you. *munching sounds* Barbecue chicken! *slurp*”
Fellow comedy icons Fred Armisen (Portlandia), Keegan–Michael Key (Key and Peele), and Seth Rogan join the Mushroom Kingdom as Cranky Kong, Toad, and Donkey Kong respectively.
Rounding out the cast is VO legend Kenneth Michael Richardson as Spike, and the aforementioned Charles Martinet voicing several characters.
What Is Super Mario Bros. About?
Traditionally, Super Mario Bros. sees Mario and Luigi on a quest to save Princess Peach from the clutches of the fire-breathing King Koopa, Bowser. The inclusion of part of the Kong family suggests an attempt at fleshing out the world outside of Peach’s Castle and Bowser’s Lair. No official story details are available at this time, but the movie is being written by Matthew Fogel (The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part) with Aaron Horvath (Teen Titans Go! To The Movies) and Michael Jelenic (Teen Titans Go!) directing. In a conversation with Variety, Illuminations own Chris Meledandri spoke about the studio’s commitment to Miyamoto’s vision, saying, “We are keeping him front and center in the creation of this film. I’ve rarely seen that happen in any adaptation where the original creative voice is embraced like we’re embracing Miyamoto.” All of those creators combined suggest a movie strongly aimed at children.
When Does The New Super Mario Bros. Come Out?
When Shigeru Miyamoto announced the cast list in September, he also told viewers the movie is expected to drop on December 21, 2022, in the United States of America, and sometime over the holiday season, 2022, everywhere else.
For more Super Mario Bros., check out the original live-action adaptation, if you haven’t, or check out the fan-made restoration that reinserts 20 minutes of cut material back into the film. Visit the Nintendo eshop on any Nintendo system with internet support and immerse yourself in the Mushroom Kingdom with any of the dozens of Mario Bros. titles and spin-offs before the film comes out. And keep checking back at Collider for more information on everyone’s favorite plumbers’ new trip to the big screen.
It’s-a meeeee! a-Chris Pratt!
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