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With the super success of the Super Mario Bros animated movie, a sequel is a no-brainer, but what happens next? Nintendo and Illumination Studio will more than likely continue their blossoming working relationship with both Shigeru Miyamoto and Chris Meledandri sure they’ll come together again down the line.
Nintendo has a vast library of games spanning 40 years, with some of them being Easter eggs in the Super Mario movie. Video game movie adaptations are nothing new, but taking these games to the world of animation features could bring a new audience around once again to these legendary titles.
Super Mario Bros. already had two short-lived animated series, Donkey Kong and the spherical and whimsical Kirby also had their own respective series, but what about movies? What properties should this collaboration between Nintendo and Illumination look towards to make their next blockbuster? Let’s look at a few examples of what could make really fun movies that they need to make next.
This feels almost obvious about where they should go next after the sequel. This was a Mario spin-off that put a spotlight on the younger Mario brother as he investigates a haunted mansion to find Mario and his friends. The latest Luigi’s Mansion game came out on Halloween 2019 and quickly became one of the Nintendo Switch’s highest-rated titles.
We saw the wispy menace King Boo near the end of the movie so we know he exists in this world. With King Boo being the main antagonist in the Luigi’s Mansion series, this feels like the most probable of Nintendo movies to come. Even Luigi’s voice, Charlie Day, wants a chance to bust some ghosts.
The Legend of Zelda
It’s strange that Zelda hasn’t hit the theaters or even a Netflix limited series, right? High-fantasy elements, beloved characters, rich mythos, what’s not to like? Link, Zelda, and Ganon were featured as back-ups in the Super Mario Bros. Super Show on Friday’s episodes, but nothing outside of that. Link and the rest of the denizens of Hyrule (maybe even Koholint Island) deserve their time in time in the sun, too–maybe even hot Ganondorf.
The thing about The Legend of Zelda is that there are already a multitude of stories to choose from and what timeline you could bring to the big screen. If you want something more kid-oriented, go down the Windwaker path, or even Link’s Awakening. Both have characters that would translate well to a kid’s movie, especially if you want to add the trading sidequest where you get folks like Chef Bear and her kitchen. There have been rumors circulating for years now, but there’s never been a better time to get this into motion.
Samus and her galaxy of enemies at one point were headed to theaters helmed by director John Woo in the early 2000s, but that starship has long since sailed. It was announced back in January that the rights to a Metroid film were optioned off, but no director or even studio has been said to be attached. Samus’ latest adventure, Metroid Dread, is the best-selling Metroid game of all time and the perfect blueprint for a feature film.
The world of Metroid is prime real estate–pun intended–for Illumination’s next big thing and could break that barrier into an older audience.
How Illumination turned the Minions into weird pop culture icons that are used from bad Facebook memes to ecards to even their own movie is so interesting. It makes you wonder, though, if the success could be repeated again with Nintendo’s own problem progeny: the Koopalings. Bowser’s Koopa Kids were introduced back in Super Mario Bros. 3 and soon added to the Super Mario World animated series, but with different names (eg, Wendy became Cutie-Pie for some reason). A movie featuring the kids causing chaos throughout the Mushroom Kingdom or maybe even on Earth is the type of fare Illumination made their house with and seems like a logical fit.
Every studio wants to have its own Star Wars/Guardians of the Galaxy-esque property, and Fox McCloud and company could be just the thing for Nintendo and Illumination. Created by video game legend Shigeru Miyamoto, Star Fox was released in February 1993 on the Super Nintendo with groundbreaking graphics for the time and delivered a classic arcade experience at home. The story centers around ace pilot Fox and his team of Slippy, Falco, and Peppy taking on the villainous Andross and protecting the Lytat system. It’s one of Nintendo’s most critically-acclaimed IPs that hasn’t had any sort of animated or live-action series or movies but has been adapted into a few manga series.
One of Nintendo’s newest franchises, Splatoon was released back on the Wii U in 2015 and spawned two sequels. The series has been such a huge success it even established its own esports tournament circuit in 2018. It’s also spun off into a manga series and its own holographic concerts in Japan. The story is malleable enough to give it depth for a movie with the main story centering around the rivalry between two rival races known as Inklings and Octolings. The idea behind Splatoon is basically paintball across large-scale levels with whoever gets the most coverage wins the game. Focusing a film on a Turf War battle between two teams writes itself and could be easy money for Illumination and Nintendo.
Talk about a game so open-world, you can insert yourself into it. Animal Crossing burst onto the scene back in 2001 and has become one of Nintendo’s top-selling franchises of all time. It’s accessible to any player and can be picked up and played with ease. There are no bosses, and no stressful tasks, simply a game you can play at your own leisure if you need a quick getaway from life. The series has spawned both a manga and an anime back in 2006 based on the DS game and sequel, Wild World, but with the success of New Horizons on the Switch, Illumination could do wonders with these lovable characters we’ve come to know over 20 years.