10 Nintendo Franchises To Follow Up ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’

in Movies, Video Games

Nintendo Link from Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, and Ness from Earthbound

Credit: Nintendo

Having already passed the $900 million mark at the box office, The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023) is a smash hit. The film stars Chris Pratt, Charlie Day, Anya Taylor-Joy, Jack Black, and Seth Rogen and has become a cultural phenomenon. That means we’re going to get more Nintendo movies.

super mario bros movie
Credit: Nintendo/ Illumination

While movies have often made successful games, the opposite hasn’t always been true. But just like how Super Mario Bros. (1985) created the video game industry as we know it today, The Super Mario Bros. Movie has paved the way for video game movies. Sure, successful films based on video games have come out before, including Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) and Detective Pikachu (2019), but nothing has left a mark quite like Mario and Company.

This has obviously left Nintendo fans with one question: what’s next for the greatest video game brand of all time? Nothing has been hinted at yet, but there are countless franchises for Nintendo Studios to pull from.

Bowser plays piano while surrounded by multiple visions of Princess Peach in The Super Mario Bros. Movie
Credit: Nintendo/Illumination/Universal Studios

Related: ‘Super Mario Bros.’ “Peaches” by Jack Black is Officially a Hit

That being said, here are some pitches for where Nintendo can go after the success of The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Some are obvious, some are ambitious, and some are weird. One, in particular, is very weird. But wherever they land on that scale, they’d all make for interesting movies.

So please pick up a controller and hit the start button; let’s take a look at some classic Nintendo franchises that would make great movies.

Donkey Kong Could Easily Continue ‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’s Success

Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong on a rope in Donkey Kong Country Nintendo
Credit: Nintendo/Rare Ltd.

As the first enemy Mario ever battled, Donkey Kong was an inevitable part of The Super Mario Bros. Movie. But after their initial outing, most of the banana slammas’ adventures have been away from the Italian plumber, including the Donkey Kong Country series and Donkey Kong 64 (1999). It’d be easy to follow up on the current movie with DK.

Part of what makes Donkey Kong so easy is that his character is already established in the world of Mario, making it easier for audiences to connect to the gorilla. We know him, his dad, and the entire kingdom that he comes from. We can already relate to Donkey.

Donkey Kong also has many more family members to pull from that were teased in The Super Mario Bros. Movie, like Diddy Kong, Dixie Kong, Funky Kong, Tiny Kong, and Lanky Kong, to name a few. If we were to get a sequel connected to the already successful film, it’d be fun to go on some Jungle Japes with Donkey Kong.

Another Mario Movie is The Easiest Next Move

Mario riding Yoshi, Bee Luigi, and plenty of Luma from Super Mario Galaxy 2 Nintendo
Credit: Nintendo

Related: The Super Mario Bros. Could Be Mickey Mouse’s Biggest Rival Yet — Here’s Why

The other really obvious move is for the next Nintendo movie to be a direct sequel to The Super Mario Bros. Movie. It worked with Marvel and Iron Man 2 (2010). Why wouldn’t it work here?

This can be particularly easy to do with Mario because there are so many different Mario games to pull from. We’ve already seen a Luma and a herd of Yoshi. Why not make a movie based on Super Mario Galaxy (2007)? Or Yoshi’s Island (1995)?

Or, if the team at Illumination wants to get weird, they can pull from Super Mario Bros. 2 (1988) and make a film where Mario, Luigi, Peach, and Toad travel to a new land and battle a giant frog named Wart. That’s if they want to get particularly wacky, though.

‘The Legend of Zelda’ is the Most Acclaimed Nintendo Series

Link in the Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
Credit: Nintendo

If Super Mario Bros. is the first franchise in people’s minds when they talk about Nintendo, The Legend of Zelda is the second. The tales of Link and his eternal battle against Gannon to save the Hyrule Kingdom are legendary in gaming, no pun intended.

Every single main game of the series is a masterpiece, with some highlights being Link to the Past (1991), Ocarina of Time (1998), The Wind Waker (2002), and Breath of the Wild (2017). All of these could work as animated or live-action films. Except for Wind Waker, that would have to be animated.

The only real issue with a Legend of Zelda movie is getting Link to talk. In any of the games made by Nintendo, Link has always been a silent protagonist except for a few grunts and yells. He has spoken in games developed outside of Nintendo and in an animated series, but they’re… not great. They’re golden if Nintendo and Illumination can find a way around that.

‘Star Fox’ is ‘Top Gun’ in Space with Animals

Slippy Toad, Peppy O'Hare, Fox McCloud, and Falco Lombardi from Star Fox Zero Nintendo
Credit: Nintendo

Do you know what everybody loved? Top Gun: Maverick (2022). It was the second-highest-grossing movie last year and received almost perfect critical reception. Do you know what would have made it better? Put it in space. Even better than that? Make all of the characters animals. The Star Fox series just happens to tick all of those boxes.

Star Fox tells the story of pilot Fox McCloud and his squad, composed of Falco Lombardi, Peppy O’Hare, and Slippy Toad. The team travels through the Lylat System, where they engage in dog fights with the villainous Star Wolf and try to hunt down Andross.

These games are action-packed with epic visuals, loveable characters, and plenty of emotional moments that enthrall young and old audiences. And since Nintendo has basically remade the same game four times, they definitely have the story down by now.

Kirby is Nintendo’s Cutest Character

Kirby holding a heart Nintendo
Credit: Nintendo/HAL Laboratories

The creation of Masahiro Sakurai at HAL Laboratories, Kirby is, without a doubt, the cutest character on Nintendo’s roster. He’s pink, round, and always smiling. But underneath that adorable exterior lies the ability to suck up any enemy he faces and copy their powers for himself. What’s not to love?

Kirby’s games often match that same exact tone with plenty of pastel colors and enemies that are almost as cute as Kirby. These games are also notoriously easy, so it’s the perfect series to translate into a movie for children. It was already successfully turned into a cartoon, so making a feature-length film shouldn’t be a problem.

However, that doesn’t mean this series doesn’t have a dark side. Besides King Dedede, Kirby’s other villains can only be described as eldritch horrors. One of them is literally a sentient eyeball that shoots blood at you. Another is a Cronenburg-esque amalgamation of animals that claws after you inside a lab.

But let’s forget about that and just focus on the cuteness. Whether they translate Kirby and the Forgotten Land (2022) or one of the Dreamland games, Kirby is born to be a star.

‘Metroid’ is Nintendo’s Answer to ‘Alien’

Samus looking at a menu in Metroid Prime Nintendo
Credit: Nintendo

Related: Karen Gillan’s Nebula Channels Her Inner Samus Aran in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Teaser

Most of Nintendo’s games try to maintain a tone that appeals to kids and adults. This has given Nintendo a reputation for being a company for children. However, that is not always the case. Just take a look at the Metroid series.

While it’s definitely not “mature” regarding violence or adult situations, the Metroid series is much more serious than any other Nintendo franchise. Samus Aran is a bounty hunter sent to different planets to eliminate space pirates or the dreaded Metroid, alien parasites that suck away a creature’s life energy.

Whether she’s in her Power Suit or her Zero Suit with the arm cannon, Samus is iconic. She remains one of the most fascinating characters in the history of video games, and fans have been calling for a movie for decades. This is also one of the rare occasions where a live-action film may be the best option.

‘Luigi’s Mansion’ is the Perfect Vehicle for Charlie Day

Luigi holding the Poltergust 3000 in Luigi's Mansion
Credit: Nintendo

One of the highlights of The Super Mario Bros. Movie was Charlie Day’s performance as Luigi. He perfectly captured Luigi’s ineptitude, fear, and the bravery that lies underneath it. That’s why he deserves a movie based on his best game, Luigi’s Mansion ().

Luigi’s Mansion follows everyone’s favorite plumber’s brother after he wins a mansion in a competition he did not enter. Luigi arrives at the estate only to learn that not only is it haunted by ghosts, but they have captured Mario and trapped him in a painting. After meeting with Professor E. Gad and getting the Poltergust 3000, it’s up to the green man to save his brother.

The movie could also easily combine pieces from all three Luigi’s Mansion games. This gives Illumination a chance to choose from various ghosts and even have fun with Polterpup and Gooigi. Yes, there’s a character named Gooigi, and he’s exactly what you think he is.

‘Super Smash Bros.’ is Basically the Nintendo Cinematic Universe

A majority of the cast from Super Smash Bros. Ultimate Nintendo
Credit: Nintendo

Let’s say that Nintendo wanted to start its own cinematic universe like Marvel. An NCU, if you will. They’d need some reason or event to justify bringing all their characters together. Fortunately, they already have a franchise that does that: Super Smash Bros.

While they aren’t necessarily known for their stories, the Super Smash Bros. games are some of the best-selling video games of all time and would immediately get people interested in seeing the movie. That being said, Super Smash Bros. Brawl (2008) did have a story mode called The Subspace Emissary, although that plot may be too grand and confusing for a kid’s movie.

If Nintendo were to follow this route, their best option would be to utilize the first game’s roster and build from there. That would include Mario, Kirby, Link, Fox, Donkey Kong, Yoshi, Samus, and Pikachu. All those characters have been mentioned previously on this list except for Pikachu, who has already starred in their own movie.

You could even bring in the secret characters as surprises in the film. Luigi is in the Super Mario Bros. movies, Jigglypuff is from Pokemon, Captain Falcon is awesome enough to stand on his own, and Ness from Earthbound (1994) could play the role of a weird and mysterious loner. And speaking of Earthbound

‘Earthbound’ is the Most Underrated Nintendo Series

Ness and his friends from Earthbound in Super Smash Bros. Nintendo
Credit: Nintendo

Related: Super Mario Bros. Creator Shigeru Miyamoto Thanks Critics For Film’s Success

When Earthbound was first released on the Super Nintendo, it wasn’t a hit. Instead of seeing the traditional epic fantasy Role Playing Games, Earthbound starred a bunch of kids in what seemed like a regular city. However, those audiences missed out on one of the quirkiest and silliest games Nintendo had ever released.

Ness’ adventures with his friends to save the world from Pokey and Giygas were critically acclaimed and became a cult classic. While its sequel was never released outside Japan, it soon reached the same cult status. Both games were catapulted into public knowledge with the Super Smash Bros. series and the re-releases on the Nintendo Switch.

Earthbound is the perfect Nintendo game to turn into a movie because it has the same foundation as every other franchise under the Nintendo banner, with the freedom of having people not know as much about it. This could be Nintendo’s version of Guardians of the Galaxy (2014).

Nintendo Needs To Give Waluigi Something

Waluigi posing with his tennis racket Nintendo
Credit: Nintendo

Earthbound was a weird choice. It’s not a game that people would think of when it comes to making a Nintendo movie. But what about a Nintendo character that has never had their own game? Everyone, meet Waluigi.

Originally created as a doubles partner for Wario in Mario Tennis (2000), Waluigi is a sharp and gangly man dressed in purple who loves to cheat and give out roses. He has participated in parties, kart races, and every sport you can think of. But he has never starred in his own game.

This, combined with his odd interactions with other characters, has made him the ultimate Nintendo underdog in the eyes of fans. Yes, plenty of other Nintendo series have stories worth exploring, like PikminXenobladeKid Icarus, or even Punch-Out, but there isn’t a character that is as much of a blank slate as Waluigi.

Nintendo needs to give Waluigi some kind of vehicle. And a movie would be the most Waluigi way for him to get it finally.

What Nintendo franchise or character would you like to be made into a movie? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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