It’s very likely that the success of The Super Mario Bros. Movie has opened the door to sequels, spin-offs, and many more Nintendo movie adaptations. Given that Nintendo is one of the premiere video game developers, they have decades of colorful and varied franchises that could be adapted into unique cinematic experiences. Let’s take a look at some Nintendo series that could work quite well as movies.
Originally released in 2001 as a launch title for the GameCube, Luigi’s Mansion was the last thing a lot of people expected from a Mario spin-off. The game follows Luigi as explores a haunted mansion (that he won in a contest he never entered) in search of his kidnapped brother. After teaming up with Professor E. Gadd, Luigi battles a number of ghosts in the quest to save Mario.
This concept is already pretty fitting for a spin-off movie, as it could serve as a family-friendly “horror” movie that follows Charlie Day’s Luigi. Concepts from the two sequels, like the slimy and helpful doppelganger Gooigi, could be implemented, though the original game has an especially eerie atmosphere that should be emulated to maximize the “spooky kids horror” concept. This is the movie on the list that seems most likely to happen the soonest, which is great, as Day killed it as the king of second bananas.
Donkey Kong has appeared in quite a few different series, from the original Donkey Kong to the various Mario Party titles and sports-based spin-offs. The best basis for his own movie would be the Donkey Kong Country series, however, which focuses on Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, and all sorts of other Kongs in their battle against foes like the Kremlings. They’re light and breezy adventures filled with colorful characters that are ripe for adapting.
Besides Seth Rogen’s Donkey Kong, quite a few different Kongs were featured in The Super Mario Bros. Movie, from major ones like Diddy and Cranky to more secondary ones like Chunky and Dixie, who had non-speaking roles. The leader of the Kremlings, King K. Rool, has plenty of comedic potential if done right. Having a varied Meet the Robinsons-esque Kong clan go up against K. Rool could make for a fun family movie with a different flavor than The Super Mario Bros. Movie.
The Metroid series has seen a resurgence lately, with Metroid Dread and Metroid Prime Remastered bringing new fans to the franchise while getting old fans excited for more. Given the series takes plenty of inspiration from Ridley Scott’s Alien franchise, it seems like a no-brainer to make a sci-fi movie set in the universe of Metroid. Samus’ origin (from the Metroid e-manga) has her as an orphan from Earth whose family is killed by the space pirate Ridley, leading her to be raised by the aviary Chozo race, which could serve as a strong start to the movie.
This could make for a different kind of “family horror” than Luigi’s Mansion, leaning more into “scary” territory than “spooky.” After briefly touching on her origins, Metroid: Zero Mission would be the perfect foundation for a straightforward but exciting film. Space pirates take samples of the dangerous Metroid species to their planet to replicate them to reign terror on the galaxy, leaving only Samus to sneak in and take them down. Whether they go for a “Die Hard in space” vibe or “Aliens for teens,” there’s a great deal of potential for a Zero Mission-based Metroid movie.
Star Fox is the sort of franchise that feels like it’s based on an animated series already. The intergalactic adventures of a team of archetypal anthropomorphic animals seems like an easy sell, as it could basically be a more cartoony Star Wars. The games, which are primarily rail shooters and third-person action titles, provide just enough story that could be expanded upon, though the explosive spaceship dogfights would be the main appeal.
The movie could follow Fox McCloud as he tries to live up to his late father’s reputation as an incredible pilot while wrangling the different personalities of the titular Star Fox team and battling the rival squad Star Wolf. Something like Star Wars and Top Gun mixed with the animation style of Puss in Boots: The Last Wish would be both easily accessible to non-gamers and mind-blowing for fans of the franchise. Of all the titles on this list, Star Fox may have the most potential to become its own thing outside of its games.
Though it started as a platformer on the NES (which you can actually see in The Super Mario Bros. Movie), Kid Icarus gained new life on the Nintendo 3DS with the release of Kid Icarus: Uprising. Helmed by Super Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai, Uprising was a third-person shooter that wove an exciting tale of mythological figures, monsters, and genuinely enjoyable comedy. The title even got a bit meta at times, which has become a popular trend in media as of late.
The angelic Pit is a very likable protagonist to begin with, as his upbeat optimism and go-getter attitude make him easy to root for. Since his stories largely involve Greek mythology, the series’ many unique interpretations of characters like Medusa, Hades, and Pandora could make for an action-packed mythical adventure movie. Uprising gave everybody more tangible personalities and modernized them in a way that, given its release over a decade ago in 2012, surprisingly holds up quite well. The perfect mix of high-flying action and sharp comedy could make a Kid Icarus movie turn the franchise into a household name.
It might be easy to forget that Captain Falcon doesn’t come from Super Smash Bros., given the most recent game in the F-Zero series came out in 2004 (and was exclusive to Japan, to boot). Perhaps a movie could get the racing franchise revved up again, as its flashy and futuristic world is just begging to be adapted into a slick, high-octane animated movie filled with memorable characters.
The anime adaptation, F-Zero: GP Legend, partially followed a detective named Ryu Suzaku/Rick Wheeler, but a movie should largely center around Captain Falcon. That way it would function best as a Speed Racer sort of movie, though set in a setting that meshes neo-futurism with a bit of Blade Runner’s aesthetic. Ideally, the movie would earnestly embrace the cheesiness of the franchise with the many different diverse and bizarre racers while treating the stakes of these races with the utmost sincerity.
We saw a few of Punch-Out!!‘s characters in picture form at the beginning of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, so Illumination and Nintendo could even set this film in the same world. The boxing video game is light on story but filled with unique characters that could stand out as opponents for the underdog protagonist, Little Mac.
Boxing movies have come back in style thanks to the Creed franchise, so having a lighter Nintendo take on the sport could be a lot of fun. The classic underdog story mixed with less realistic and more fantastical boxing matches would be a blast, as we see Little Mac and Doc Louis climb the ranks as they take on increasingly wild boxers from across the game. Throw in a post-credits scene of Mac taking on Donkey Kong like in the Wii game, and you have what is likely a very safe bet.
There are plenty of other Nintendo franchises that could make great movies, shows, or even just cameos, but these seven seem like the most surefire shots. Maybe Nintendo and Illumination will surprise us, or maybe they’ll just keep making Super Mario Bros. content, but it’d be a shame if we didn’t get at least a few experimental theatrical takes on Nintendo’s bountiful catalog.