Hi! It’s Annie!
I think everyone is more than aware by now that there’s a brand new ‘Mario Bros.’ movie coming out and a lot of people have a lot of opinions on the casting. I know I do! But even though this may or may not be one of the best ‘Super Mario Bros.’ related things to come out in the way of content, it will certainly give us more plot than we’re used to seeing when it comes to the Nintendo characters. For the most part, Mario games aren’t well known for being big on plot. And they don’t have to be! The games focus a little more on traditional storylines, the obvious draw of the iconic characters, and fun mini games that large groups of people can play. In fact, the mini game approach has gotten them so popular that it’s what Nintendo has been banking off of when it comes to the Mario characters for years now. I’m not sure any Nintendo game is as popular as ‘Mario Kart’. But this lack of general storytelling doesn’t mean that Nintendo has never done any with these characters. And it certainly doesn’t mean that fans haven’t included their own ideas of what a more fleshed out Mario Bros. world would look like. So I’m going to get into some of my favorite canonical additions, some history, and some of my favorite fan additions that have really fleshed out this world for me.
Everyone knows what happens plot wise in most of the original games as well as a lot of the recent games. Princess Peach, the ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom, is kidnapped by Bowser, a dinosaur looking creature, and taken to his giant castle filled with fire. For some odd reason, the citizens of the Mushroom Kingdom employ the help of a plumber, Mario, who goes on a quest to save the Princess. A very classic damsel-in-distress storyline. Most games have gone after a storyline where Bowser is depicted as being pretty obsessed with the Princess and sometimes even attempts to force her into marrying him on top of the general kidnapping. If you’ve ever seen pictures of Princess Peach in a wedding gown or gotten a wedding Peach as a racer in ‘Mario Kart’, it’s likely a design from when Bowser tried to force her to marry him. It has absolutely nothing to do with her marrying Mario. Besides this, we don’t get much information at all. We don’t know how Mario suddenly comes into the picture as he is not a citizen of the Mushroom Kingdom. We don’t know why Bowser is intent on only Princess Peach. And, most importantly, we never learn what Princess Peach thinks about all of this. I mean, she’s the one getting kidnapped!
Besides the main storylines we’ve gotten, there has been an expansion on other characters. It’s called ‘Super Mario Bros.’ for a reason; there’s more than one brother. This allowed for two players to team up to save Princess Peach, but it also gave us the character of Luigi. Not only is Luigi adorable, but he’s unleashed a whole other host of characters as well as story. While Luigi’s games don’t focus on storyline that much either, Luigi frequently is pitted against King Boo in his games. A very scared Luigi reluctantly goes against the King ghost haunting him. But we don’t really know who these ghosts used to be or how Luigi frequently finds himself in company with them when he’s just a small, scared, adorable, man who doesn’t really want to fight anyone. On top of Luigi, we also have Princess Daisy who has a more complicated storyline. Princess Daisy is actually in charge of several Kingdoms, so she’s technically an Empress. Her original game saw her as yet another damsel-in-distress to be saved by Mario, just slightly more tomboyish than Peach. The comics went so far as to include her in evil schemes in order to try and persuade Peach to like someone other than Mario so that she could have Mario to herself. One such scheme was aiding in the creation of Wario and Waluigi. But these comics are not considered canonical and it’s questionable whether they ever were. Despite no plot relevant interactions within any games, Nintendo semi-recently declared that Daisy is the official love interest of Luigi. The only romantic links we’ve seen between them have been hinting in mini-game related Mario games, but despite this it seems that this is a move that’s been coming on for a very long time.
Rosalina was a popular character introduced in ‘Super Mario Galaxy’ and despite her absence in earlier Mario games, she’s arguably one of the most important characters in this franchise when it comes to plot. The original plot of the game was set to depict a new Princess of the galaxy Mario would be exploring on his way to save Peach. She was set to have a slightly deeper plot than we had seen before, but nothing too fleshed out. This was until Yoshiaki Koizumi wrote a completely fleshed out plot for the character late at night and requested that it be completely added into the game. He acknowledged in later interviews that to him it had felt like writing plot for Mario games was forbidden and deeply wanted to change this standard. Thus, the deep background for Rosalina was born. Though her storyline is optional in the game, you can visit Rosalina several times throughout the game and learn her entire backstory through a virtual storybook. The story is actually quite sad and really makes you feel for the character of Rosalina. At a young age a star creature called a Luma finds her having lost its mother; crying and begging for help. Together they search the galaxy for the mother of the Luma on their own planet and through their travels find even more Lumas who have lost mothers. Rosalina makes the planet habitable for them all, declaring herself the mother of the Lumas. Which is when we find out that Rosalina has also lost her mother and there is no hope of ever finding her again (It is strongly implied that she died shortly before the story began). Though this inclusion was optional, it still proves to be one of the most heartfelt pieces of plot ever written for a Mario game and continues to make the character of Rosalina stand out despite her being a more recent inclusion.
To fill in a lot of the gaps from the original games, many fans have tried their hand at inventing plot lines and deeper backstories for the original and iconic characters. This mainly seems to have focused on Princess Peach and Bowser. After all, the two seem to have past history as enemies even before the Mushroom Kingdom asks Mario for help in retrieving their Princess. A lot of people even wonder if perhaps Peach and Bowser had a history that wasn’t always antagonistic. My absolute favorite fan-created plot for the Nintendo games comes from the creators ‘lovebunnycosplay’ and ‘dinograveyard’ who post their Mario Lore videos primarily on both TikTok and Instagram. Their version of the story is actually still going and I’m always on edge to see what they’re going to do next with the characters. There will be SPOILERS for this going forward; I highly highly recommend going through all of their videos! Their version of the story has Princess Peach from a noble family that abused her and was losing money, so they sent her to a ball in the hopes that she might woo King Boo, who is still alive in the story. Instead she ends up wooing his brother, Prince Bowser, and though he is not her first choice, she marries him in order to get herself out of her situation and to give her family the money that they need. She still holds the hope of becoming the Queen, so she has an affair with Boo and we know from early videos that this may or may not lead Bowser to murder his brother, which leaves Princess Peach the ruler of the Mushroom Kingdom. But it’s starting to seem like Peach was the one who killed Boo this entire time. Like I said, it’s not finished and it’s so intriguing! I feel so sorry for Bowser; he’s so sweet in their version! The cosplay is also top notch here! I seriously can’t recommend this series enough; I binge watched it like it was a Netflix show.
Obviously there’s a lot of Mario content to explore, but it seems like there’s significantly less when it comes to trying to find plot in the Nintendo games. And while they work perfectly well without plot, I am personally a very plot oriented show watcher and game player. I’m hoping that this new movie will give us some of the plot that these iconic characters deserve, but we’ll see. If all else fails we’ll still have top notch fan theories and fan series to watch! But I do hope that Nintendo sees the increasing want for canonical Mario lore and gives us something more to chew on, especially when it comes to the characters. There’s just so much that they could do!
See you across the pond!