The Super Mario Bros. Movie is doing gangbusters at the box office, both domestically and around the world. It now holds the record for highest opening for an animated movie of all time and should have some pretty decent legs in what looks to be a pretty empty rest of April.
This means a sequel is inevitable, and probably more than one, at that. There’s a good chance we’re looking at the next mega-franchise of family films, and there’s plenty of material for Illumination to pull from. Let’s take a look at some of the most likely options for the next couple of Mario movies.
Much like The Super Mario Bros. Movie, a potential film with a setting based on Yoshi’s Island almost certainly wouldn’t follow the plot beat for beat, as that game is about Mario and Luigi as children. While we know these movies aren’t opposed to showing the characters in their “baby” forms — Mario, Luigi, and Peach’s all make an appearance in The Super Mario Bros. Movie — it’s doubtful they’d base the entire plot around them, especially since baby Mario Brothers hanging out with Yoshi wouldn’t exactly fit with the canon established in the first film.
Still, we can at least expect a fair amount of focus on the iconic green dinosaur in the next Mario installment on the big screen after that post-credits scene showed him all ready to hatch. And since a bunch of Yoshis of various colors briefly appeared in the first movie, there’s a good chance audiences will get to find out more about the species as a whole.
Donkey Kong Country
One land outside of the Mushroom Kingdom we do get to spend a decent amount of time with in The Super Mario Bros. Movie is Donkey Kong Country. In addition to Donkey Kong himself, characters like Cranky Kong and Diddy Kong were established in the movie (and Dixie Kong, briefly), so the foundation has been laid for a spin-off set in this corner of the franchise.
The most famous Donkey Kong villain is King K. Rool — a crocodile who is the archenemy of Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong, making him the most likely and most natural antagonist of the movie. In addition to he and the other aforementioned fan favorites, there are a lot of other characters from the Donkey Kong franchise and its spin-off games that the film could include as cameos or other supporting roles, like Dixie Kong’s younger sister Tiny Kong or some of the Diddy Kong Racing characters, like Tiptup the Turtle or Pipsy the Mouse.
Super Mario Galaxy
The Super Mario Galaxy games are some of the most beloved in the entire Mario franchise. Adapting them for the big screen would allow for more world-building on the movie side of things since they take place in various galaxies.
These games feature the beloved characters that were already included in The Super Mario Bros. Movie, plus a few more. Most notable is Rosalina, who is not only in charge of watching over the cosmos but is a parental figure to the Lumalee (who appeared in the first movie) and the other Luma star creatures.
With the level of scope the Super Mario Galaxy games have, the filmmakers may decide to hold off on them until a third or fourth Mario movie, but given their status as some of the most well-regarded video games of all time, we can surely expect these movies to at least continue to borrow elements from them in future installments.
Super Princess Peach
If Illumination decides they want to make a female-centric film set in the Mario franchise at some point, this might be the way to go. Peach is already an established character on the movie side of things and one of the best-selling games for the Nintendo DS, Super Princess Peach, sees the iconic ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom have an adventure of her own.
Given Peach’s personality shift in The Super Mario Bros. Movie compared to the video games, this potential adaptation may be in name only; the Super Princess Peach game sees Peach with powers based on her various strong emotions, which doesn’t seem to line up with the levelheaded longtime warrior type we meet in the film. However, what it could do is serve as a prequel to the events of the first movie. The film gave audiences a glimpse at Peach’s origin, and this movie could dive deeper into that and explore how Peach became the fearless leader that was able to master the Toads’ test course right away.
Luigi didn’t end up getting as much screen time in The Super Mario Bros. Movie as many fans initially anticipated or hoped for, and a Luigi’s Mansion spin-off would be a fun way to rectify that. The game was a mega-hit for the GameCube console and is still referenced to this day in other Nintendo games like Mario Kart. A project like this could even end up becoming a Halloween staple, being played in rotation with other spooky-yet-silly classics every year.
This movie would be a great opportunity to introduce King Boo to the Mario movies and make him the next big villain of the franchise.
The writers would have a lot of freedom here, as King Boo has an iconic look that even most casual fans of the games will recognize, but doesn’t have as defined of a personality as the likes of Bowser and Donkey Kong. The game features several other ghosts as well, which could make for a fun group of baddies that Luigi must overcome his timidity and fear to take down.