Following the record-breaking success of The Super Mario Bros. Movie, it was nearly inevitable that Nintendo would dive headfirst into Hollywood. In fact, just last month, Nintendo confirmed a live-action The Legend of Zelda movie, set to be directed by Wes Ball (Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes), was in the works. We still do not know what the company’s next animated project will be, but according to a new rumor, Illumination plans to pitch Nintendo on a cinematic universe that will culminate in a Super Smash Bros. movie.
This week, frequent Marvel scooper Daniel Richtman shared a Nintendo scoop on his Patreon. According to Richtman, Illumination (The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Despicable Me) is going to present its vision for a Nintendo cinematic universe that will consist of multiple spinoff movies and an Avengers-style event film to wrap up the story.
On paper, this makes perfect sense. There’s clearly an appetite for animated Nintendo movies, as evidenced by the $1.3 billion box office of The Super Mario Bros. Movie. Spinoffs starring the likes of Luigi, Toad, Peach, Donkey Kong, or Bowser would have no trouble finding an audience. The same is true of countless characters from other franchises, like Kirby, Samus Aran, Captain Olimar and his Pikmin friends, Tom Nook, and Captain Falcon.
Super Smash Bros. is an arcade fighting game for Nintendo 64 featuring 12 playable fighters, all of whom are from previous Nintendo games. In more recent entries, Nintendo has also included characters from third-party games, such as Joker from Persona 5, Steve from Minecraft, Cloud from Final Fantasy VII, and Sora from Kingdom Hearts.
Securing the film rights to characters from a variety of different game publishers and developers would be a tall task, but it also wouldn’t be necessary. I listed 10 Nintendo characters above that could carry their own movies, and there are plenty more I missed.
This would obviously be an enormous undertaking and require a serious financial commitment from Nintendo. That said, it’s hard to imagine a Nintendo cinematic universe not taking off. Not every video game character has the cachet of Mario, but not every Nintendo movie has to top $1 billion to be successful. It’s also worth noting that Richtman has accurately leaked plenty of major Marvel plot points in the past, so at the very least, Illumination will probably make their pitch. But much like Mario Tennis, the ball will be in Nintendo’s court after that.