The Super Mario Bros. Movie has been an overwhelming success. Despite a splatter of negative reviews from critics, the numbers and dollars suggest that Nintendo’s foray into the film world has paved the way for more content. Could this lead to a Nintendo-verse full of the system’s most iconic characters? Let’s take a look at the top 10 films we would like to see if the green button is pushed.
The Legend of Zelda
Where better to start than with the Hero of Time? Link is as recognisable as Mario when it comes to Nintendo, championing a beloved series that has spanned across more than thirty years. There have been pleas for a Legend of Zelda film since the first game graced the NES, providing the ultimate ‘good versus evil’ tale in a fantasy setting with an intimidating villain and a damsel in distress. While a live-action option may seem appropriate, adding Link to the Nintendo-verse is essential and would work well with animation (let’s be honest – the games have tried a range of different animation styles anyway). The Ocarina of Time may be the perfect game to adapt, starting with a boy in the woods and ending with a man fighting a demon in the sky. Zelda (the female) also has a strong storyline, spending time as a masked warrior, and all the key species to build lore are present. As long as they avoid the water temple, the opportunity to follow Super Mario Bros. awaits.
Samus Aran’s battles on planet Zebes against the creature Ridley are sci-fi gold. But rather than only focusing on Samus on a dark world, Nintendo could create a space opera by having the Arwing crash on planet Zebes. This adds the fan favourite Fox McCloud and his band of pilots – Slippy, Falco and Peppy – to navigate the many obstacles Samus is quite capable of mastering alone. A space opera full of retro Nintendo characters would provide action, comedy, battles and new relationships. End the movie with Captain Falcon saving the day, and you have yourself a flick that will attract Nintendo fans across the globe. Samus as a lead via animation will be the best method of adding a hint of deeper intrigue to the films, as some of the others on this list can be quite cheery. Nintendo will need to find a way of having all of their mascots involved, and setting up Metroid as a film in this universe is the perfect foil to the Mushroom Kingdom’s fluff.
Detective Pikachu may be bringing Pokemon to the big screen, but it is quite selective in its approach. Pokemon suits Illumination’s animation very well and entering the creatures into the universe adds 151 possibilities – largely because focusing on the original Pokemon is the best way to start the process. Pikachu has been overdone to this point, opening the opportunity for a movie to follow the story of the original Red and Blue games (boy/girl wakes up, gets the choice between the three starting Pokemon, goes on a journey to become the best). Mewtwo works very well as a villain and utilising some of the original movie points would not be a bad option overall. Pokemon remains a juggernaut in all forms of media and adding them into the Nintendo-verse could create a range of narratives when intersecting with the other titles.
Super Mario 2 – Wario Bros.
Due to the success of Super Mario Bros. it is very obvious that a sequel will arrive within the next 2-3 years. The after-credits scene (SPOILER ALERT) had Yoshi hatching out of an egg, and we saw references to characters such as Diddy Kong that demonstrates where the next instalment could focus, but there is really only one option – adding Wario and Waluigi as jealous relatives, keen to one-up Mario and Luigi. Bowser has been captured and will no doubt play a role moving forward, but these moustache-twirling brothers (let’s make them brothers for the sake of narrative, even if that is up in the air) adds emotional weight and rivalry to a kingdom where Mario and Luigi would be viewed as heroes. Yoshi and Diddy Kong, plus Daisy and countless others, would make appearances to ensure the juggernaut remains fresh while all the other films circulate.
Donkey Kong Country
If the above option introduces Diddy Kong as more than just an Easter egg, this would be the film to reveal the whole Kong crew. Seth Rogen wasn’t a highlight as DK, but the character is on the same tier as Link and Mario when it comes to championing the system and requires the spotlight. Dixie, Lanky, Funky, Candy and more would play a role in thwarting the attacks from King K. Rule and his troops. From minecart rides to the many animals that were ridden throughout the series (swordfish, rhino, frog – you name it) there is much fun to be had in the rampaging jungle. Petition for the full DK rap, anyone?
Diddy Kong Racing
Here comes the spin-off, adding a racing title to the Nintendo-verse (we’ve already had Mario Kart in the first film, to a degree). This is an exciting option because of the many characters that join Diddy in his travels, such as Banjo the Bear and the cheeky/alcoholic Conker (though Conker’s Bad Fur Day is too filthy to feature on a list that really has the younger audiences at heart). Diddy has always been a fan favourite and the many biomes from his original game offer a treat for the eyeballs. How far they go with the side characters is anyone’s guess – Banjo no doubt needs Kazooie – but films such as Cars showcase the potential of animated wheels on the big screen.
While it is doubtful that Kirby’s film could go at it alone and match those above, adding a character such as Yoshi to the mix would drive up interest. It would be disappointing to have a Nintendo-verse without the pink air-sucker and his bright lands. King Dedede is the general antagonist, but Meta Knight is the anti-hero that could really add layers to the film. Yoshi’s tease at the end of SMB automatically adds the dino into the second SMB film, but as a focal point away from Mario we could see the green licker shine in partnership here. Kirby’s many games continue to be cash cows, showcasing the potential with an animated film.
Ness was the great unknown in the first Super Smash Bros. game, but quickly became a staple in the series due to his unique abilities and style. This caused many to research his origins from the game Earthbound (also called Mother), which states – a 13-year-old boy journeys around the world using his “PK” or “PSI” to collect eight melodies in order to save the future from an alien of pure evil, intending to sentence all of reality to the horror of eternal darkness. That alone works well as a selling point, adding a new hero to the selection. Ness may need a few friends from the other films to assist in promotion, but Earthbound has one of the stronger narratives of the original Nintendo games.
Bowser’s Bad Bunch
A new fad in all these franchises is to team the bad guys up together against an even bigger threat – and here, that would be the Master Hand. Bowser, Wario, K. Rule, Ganondorf and Mewtwo could be the ‘Suicide Squad’ of the series, allowing these beloved bastards to shine without the heroes killing their (our) vibe. Jack Black’s starring performance means that his character will need the opportunity to lead, and each of the other four will no doubt have star-power in their voice actors to bring the characters to life. The enemy of thy enemy is my friend, and this could be the bridge that leads us to…
Super Smash Bros.
The inevitable endpoint of a Nintendo-verse is a film that brings it all together – the stakes, the characters and an all-conquering villain. Having heroes and foes duke it out in the form of a tournament is intriguing, but bringing all the mascots together to explore their chemistry would allow decisions to be made on another phase. Fans want the chaos. A blockbuster with such a roster of iconic characters equals automatic success, but there does need to be a strong narrative and enough threat to ensure all these ass-kickers combined will still struggle. Master Hand is the most obvious, but how useful is a villain without a face? Decisions above my paygrade. And if this all works? On to phase 2…
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