What Could the Upcoming Mario Movies Be About?

Super Mario Bros movie
Super Mario Bros movie

On March 10, 2024, the day commonly referred to as Mario Day, Nintendo announced a new movie to follow The Super Mario Bros. Movie, their billion-dollar success with the animation studio Illumination in 2023. They noticeably avoided using the word “sequel”, though, and instead said that they wanted to expand the film’s world.

Could this film possibly be a spin-off, then? If so, which characters could be the best to focus on? And if it’s a sequel, what could the story possibly be about? With more than a hundred games to the franchise’s name, there’s so much for Nintendo and Illumination to choose from when it comes to source materials, not just for their second film, but the many other films that will most likely come after.


Luigi’s Mansion

Luigi's Mansion
Source: IGN

Despite being called The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Luigi had significantly less screen time than Mario in the film, spending most of it as a prisoner in Bowser’s dungeon. It’s a bummer considering the fandom’s love for the green-wearing brother, but luckily for Luigi, there is one Mario spin-off game series that puts him front and center. The best part is that it works as a really great blueprint for an animated film, too.

A Luigi’s Mansion film seems just about perfect for a late October release, and with Coraline getting a 3D rerelease this August, it’s clear there’s a strong audience for animated films creepier than the usual Disney or DreamWorks fare.

Plus, with Luigi’s Mansion being the fifth best-selling GameCube game of all time, Nintendo and Illumination would be fools not to adapt the game for, at least, a streaming release, making this spin-off for the possible cinematic universe a near-guarantee.


Yoshi’s Island

Super Mario World 2
Super Mario World 2

If you stayed through the end credits of The Super Mario Bros. Movie (and if you’re reading this article, chances are you did), you’ll know the last words said in the film is a familiar high-pitched voice going, “Yoshi!”

There’s no doubt Yoshi is going to play a big part in the Mario Movie sequel — if they choose to do a direct sequel, that is — but how big of a part, exactly? Is Yoshi merely going to be another one of Mario’s friends, or should the entire film take place in Yoshi’s Island? Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island is one of the Mario franchise’s most beloved games, but there’s one glaring problem with doing an adaptation of it.

That’s that the entire game revolves around Yoshi meeting and protecting Mario as a baby. Still, Yoshi and Mario have yet to meet, so a similar plot line can commence regardless of Mario’s age. Even if Yoshi’s Island doesn’t end up being the main setting of a follow-up film, it should still play a big part, especially with how recognizable a character Yoshi is to even non-Mario players.


Rosalina from Super Mario Galaxy


Somewhere near the film’s 2nd act, Princess Peach says to Mario, “There’s a huge universe out there… with a lot of galaxies.” All her life, Peach has never met another human, which means the movie versions of the Mario characters have yet to meet names like Daisy or Pauline.

However, Peach’s reference to galaxies implies these other characters could easily appear in future movies. Speaking of galaxies, one particular human character made her debut in the 2006 game Super Mario Galaxy. Despite her newness to the franchise, Rosalina quickly became a fan favorite among Mario enthusiasts, many of whom no doubt would be ecstatic to see her in the film’s universe.

She’d be an easy addition, too, given how she’s the mother of Luma stars, and stars were present throughout the first film. Sure, she’s relatively new, but Mario’s Cat Suit and the karts having gliders are ever more recent, and they were still in the film. Plus, Rosalina has yet to have a presence in a Mario property as big as the one she had in Super Mario Galaxy, so this could be a great opportunity to put focus on her again.


Paper Mario

Paper Mario
Paper Mario

With the quick and recent rise of 2.5D-animated films thanks to titles like Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, and Nimona, an entire Mario film having Paper Mario’s animation seems like both a creative and lucrative idea.

After all, Princess Peach did say their universe was filled with numerous galaxies, so one could easily be a galaxy where everything and everyone looks like a paper cutout. The Paper Mario games are RPGs, too, which means they’re significantly more plot and dialogue-heavy than the average Mario game, making them perfect for a cinematic offering.

This could also be a chance for Illumination Entertainment to try out a visual style other than their usual 3D look. The studio’s most recent outing, Migration, actually featured scenes done with 2D storybook-like animation and they looked fantastic, proving Illumination can make beautiful-looking films even outside of 3D animation.

It’d be a win for Illumination, a win for Nintendo, and a win for animation fans hungry for animated movies that experiment outside the typical Pixar look.


References Galore

The Super Mario Bros. Movie was filled with references to the games left and right, but with only a 92-minute runtime, there’s still a cornucopia of references the future movies could incorporate in their narratives. Mario has yet to dawn his Penguin Suit, for instance, or his Bee Suit or Metal Mario Suit, and Peach’s statement about multiple galaxies opens up a ton of opportunities for our protagonist to experience these power-ups.

Just like how Mario Kart was heavily referenced in the first film, other spin-off games could be referenced too, like Doctor Mario, Mario Sports Mix, and even Mario Party. The latter would be fantastic if Wario and Waluigi ever get introduced in the cinematic universe, which is a strong plausibility given how the Sonic Cinematic Universe introduced Shadow at the end of its second film.

Of course, Bowser Jr. has also yet to make an appearance. Seeing how the movie explains that would be interesting, and maybe we can finally put a rest to the long-held debate over who Bowser Jr.’s real mother is.

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