Certain Super Mario Bros. Movie Characters Were Based On Unused Nintendo Designs

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The Super Mario Bros. Movie directors Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic reveal that certain new characters were inspired by previously unused designs provided by Nintendo. The collaboration between the video game company and Illumination saw Chris Pratt take on the role of the plumber who protects the Mushroom Kingdom from the wrath of Bowser (Jack Black). The Super Mario Bros. Movie features a number of recognizable faces from the franchise’s history, including Luigi (Charlie Day), Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy), and Donkey Kong (Seth Rogen).

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As The Super Mario Bros. Movie celebrates an impressive box office debut, Horvath and Jelenic open up about the development of Mario’s animated adventure to Polygon, where they reveal certain new additions to the character’s lore were inspired by previous artwork. Horvath revealed that Nintendo gave them the approval to depict Mario and Luigi’s wider family in the characters, providing designs that the video game company previously developed. Check out the director’s full response below:

“Nintendo were completely open to it — they were fully on board with this cinematic representation of Mario and knowing that he’s not just going to be a guy who appears from a pipe and says ‘Wahoo!’ and then he’s off on his adventure. We needed to do a little more work to believe that he’s a real guy with a real life and real problems. So they were totally on board with creating this family for Mario.

“They did send us character sketches that that they had done years ago that they had never used; Mario’s dad is almost like a one-to-one design adaptation of [Nintendo’s] original Mario’s dad design that they provided us. That was really great to be able to get that in the movie.”

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The Super Mario Bros. Movie Is A Love Letter To His Wider History

Characters race in the Super Mario Bros. Movie

While The Super Mario Bros. Movie is largely dedicated to telling the origin of Mario’s adventures in the Mushroom Kingdom, the film does not shy away from including nods to elements of Nintendo’s wider franchise. The movie features several characters from games outside the central series, including Donkey Kong’s extended family members from the 1994 Donkey Kong Country video game, as well as Super Mario Galaxy‘s Luma. Meanwhile, elements of Mario’s gameplay are incorporated into the structure of the game’s world; Coin Boxes become ATMs, and the Rainbow World becomes a passage between kingdoms.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie also has incorporated nods to Mario’s previous TV and film outings. First revealed to promote the film, the Super Mario Bros. Super Show theme song that featured in the 1989 children’s series is incorporated into the film as an in-universe song developed by Mario and Luigi to promote their plumbing business. With a wide range of nods to the wider worlds and history of Mario, The Super Mario Bros. Movie is an adventure that’s a celebration of Nintendo’s iconic mascot.

Related: The Super Mario Bros Movie’s 85 Easter Eggs & References

Mario has entertained fans for decades with his adventures in the Mushroom Kingdom, yet The Super Mario Bros. Movie is one of the few times that the plumber’s history outside the kingdom has been expanded upon. As such, many are sure to be pleased by the film’s glimpse at Mario and Luigi’s family life in Brooklyn, since their presence fleshes out the film’s story and offers game fans something new. And with the family being inspired by Nintendo’s unused designs, it is clear that great care was taken to make sure that the new characters fit into Mario’s world.

Source: Polygon

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