News Article

Shigeru Miyamoto: Mario and Luigi Don't Have Last Names

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

So stop saying he's called Mario Mario

When it comes to Mario, Nintendo's number one icon, there are plenty of myths and stories that can be debated by gamers until the moo moo cows come home. One of these, thanks to the Super Mario Bros. movie that wasn't particularly good, is that Mario and Luigi's last name is actually Mario, meaning that the famous plumber is unimaginatively called Mario Mario.

Those of us that have argued that this is utterly ludicrous often get pointed to the movie and told to accept we're wrong, but we now have the word of Shigeru Miyamoto to settle the argument, as he clarified this vitally important issue in an interview with Game Informer.

This is an old story, but Hollywood did a film version of the Mario Bros. many years back. There was a scene in the script where they needed a last name for the characters. Somebody suggested that, because they were the Mario Bros., their last name should be Mario. So, they made him "Mario Mario." I heard this and laughed rather loudly. Of course, this was ultimately included in the film. Based on the film, that's [how] their names ended up. But, just like Mickey Mouse doesn't really have a last name, Mario is really just Mario and Luigi is really just Luigi.

Miyamoto also explained why Mario has a black moustache and brown hair, a strange affliction that also affects Luigi.

This goes into [a] technical explanation of the number of colors that you could use in the early days. Mario was originally red, blue, white, and black. Maybe it was around the time of Super Mario Bros. 3 that we changed his hair to a different color. What really happened was that, when drawing the character, it became much easier to draw the mustache as an extension of the outline of his nose. Using that same color of black, we drew the mustache. But then we felt bad for Mario that he didn't have a distinct hair color, so we gave him brown hair.

Also confirmed, for the record, is that the Koopalings are not Bowser's children; the only direct heir is Bowser Jr., though the mother is unknown.

So, the big question has been answered. Can we stop calling him Mario Mario now, please?


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User Comments (111)



WingedSnagret said:

Apparently Miyamoto is just letting out all sorts of secrets lately! But yeah, the whole Koopalings are not actually Bowser's kids? Sorry, but I call BS on that one.



Tasuki said:

Makes sense to me. I never liked the whole Mario Mario bit to be honest. Its sounded way to cheezy and lame.

As for the Kooplings part I dont care if Miyamoto says so or not to me they will be Bowsers kids. Although for what its worth I did hear a story that the kooplings were created by Miyamoto from members of the dev team on SMB as a thank you. Now whether thats true or not I dont know.



DarkEdi said:

Errr.... the SMB3 blocket says the koopalings are Bowser´s sons. Even in the cartoon they are his sons. And the Mario Bros. real name is Mario Mario and Luigi Mario, how they suppose "Mario Bros." means?



Rect_Pola said:

Koopalings not his children, then who are they? Just more Koopas? I mean yeah, Bowser is their king and all, but are they like the highest level of koopa (read: minion)? Is there an heirarchy from Troopa to.. well Koopas?



Tasuki said:

@DarkEdi: They are called Mario bros. Cause original Luigi just was a palette swap of Mario so that way two players could play Mario Bros at the same time. It would have been pretty silly to have both characters named Mario and not explain the other guy so they just said it was his brother Luigi.



rjejr said:

Mario and Luigi - the Cher and Madonna of the videogame world.



Rect_Pola said:

Meh, this is one of those era things; sort of like the whole Earth 2 thing in DC to cover their first continutiy warps. Only in this case, instead of trying to fix things with a "once and for all", this is a more laid back approach that only cares about how it stands NOW. Bringing up anything before now means you are thinking to hard about it, because seriously, the guys to made the material up aren't.



Megumi said:

Ok, can we just all agree that Mario and Luigi's last names are Miyamoto? lol



Monsti said:

Uhm yeeah, one big problem with the Mickey Mouse comparsion....Mickey does have a last's Mouse!!!!!!!



scrubbyscum999 said:

Minds are blown. In all honesty I am surprised that the Koopalings aren't Bowser's kids. Are they adopted? What they heck would that make them because they certainly aren't just henchmen.



Hyperstar96 said:

That still doesn't explain why the OFFICIAL NINTENDO POWER PLAYER'S GUIDE for Mario & Luigi Superstar Saga has their names as Mario Mario and Luigi Mario.



Doge said:

superstar saga is a spin off
during the paper mario ttyd, it was thought to be gonzales, hence his fighting name "The Great Gonzales"



FluttershyGuy said:

They used to call Mario Lemieux Super Mario! hmmmmm...

As for Bowser Jr., I'm glad these aren't the olden days (dark ages) or he'd catch all kinds of flack for being an (perhaps) "illegitimate child." It would give him such an inferiority complex and make him a sad Koopa. I think his mother took off out of jealousy that Bowser always wanted to kidnap another woman, but never her. Is that "cheating" in the Mushroom Kingdom?

Also, article pic: SHORYUKEN!!!!!



TobieOBrown said:

American localization made the Koopa Kids Bowser's "children," just like the American localization also changed the A Link to the Past booklet's information. Doesn't make it cannon. All that aside, anyone who still insists Mario's surname is "Mario" is just kidding themselves. The man who created them never gave them that name. It's ridiculous to hold on to something as the truth even when it's been proven otherwise.



Big_Gamer said:

@Tasuki What? People have the same last name all over the world why would it be different in a cartoon? Its stated as their last name many times just as Donalds is Duck.

About the Mario Mario thing. I was sure it had been said in some game their last name was Mario, guess I remembered wrong



Cevan said:

Thanks for the confirmation. Maybe this will help make some of the debates about this topic die down. I never thought their last names were Mario, so glad to see we got confirmation.



ouroborous said:

The movie was abysmal, I still cringe when I think of it.
Maybe if anything their flippantly made-up last name should have been something like "Mario Plumber", but even that would have been really dumb. It's much better with no last name.



Moshugan said:

Aww.. I think Nintendo should embrace the non-canonical and often pretty silly Mario cartoons and movies.
There's much material in those that would make up for some good inside humor in games like Paper Mario.
And the Koopa Kids are Bowser's! He's in vain trying to deny that. Source: SMB.3 booklet.



Varia01 said:

I did read that that on the Game Informer. Seriously... "Mario Mario" and "Luigi Mario" LOL.



NintyMan said:

Frankly, it's silly that people would accept information in a non-canon movie of a video game series as official when the creator of the series had nothing to do with it.

Even if they're not Bowser's children by blood; I'll still consider the Koopalings as Bowser's adopted children because they simply have too much in common with the Koopa king to be ordinary minions. Miyamoto has a knack for making strange statements.



Gamer83 said:

Thing is, over the years I haven't heard anybody call Mario, 'Mario Mario' or call Luigi, 'Luigi Mario.' Even after the movie was out. Must be some inside joke at GI.



Kyloctopus said:

I have a theory. Maybe there is a Mario Timeline.
1st Generation Mario: Saving Princesses from apes and evil turtles. This is the Mario we see in SMB 1-3, and is based off the Mario movie and Cartoons. Who seems to be a Plummer from Brooklyn with the last name "Mario"
2nd Generation Mario: The Mario from SNES and GameBoy titles he seems to have his own kingdom as shown in SML2: 6 Golden Coins
3rd Generation Mario: This Mario is from the 64/GCN Titles
4th "New" Generation Mario Mostly does 2D Platforming, and was not near as fun as any of the other Marios, but seems to be the busiest.

  • I don't know where SMG is because according to the story they are 100 years apart from each other.
  • Also bear in mind that Donkey Kong has generations as well
  • I have no idea when Mario turns "Paper" must be some post-apocalyptic future Mario.


AltDotNerd said:

I think they need a game that introduces "Mrs. Bowser". She and Bowser could have a relationship like Lrrr and Ndnd (from Futurama) where he seems like the king, but she really wears the pants in the family.



KingMike said:

Well, he was originally created as Mr. Video Game, so their names are Mario Video Game and Luigi Video Game.



grimbldoo said:

@GameCube #14
10/10 I almost fell out of my chair.

Their last names are obviously the same as their father's; Mario Miyamoto and Luigi Miyamoto.



Capt_N said:

I never bought the surname "Mario" thing to begin w/. Also, I only seen multiple fragments of the movie, which I got enough of to make my opinion about it, & that I thought it was horrible.

Also, interesting thought: If the Japanese SMB3 manual never implies, or directly states the Koopalings are Bowser's children, yet the localized SMB3 manuals do, then is Nintendo:
a. Keeping old continuity (assuming the Japanese SMB3 manuals call them his children)
b. Retconning old continuity (again, maybe in the untranslated/unlocalized SMB3 manuals the Koopalings are his children)
c. Concentrating on the present continuity, like @Rect_Pola: said
d. Wiping out regionally alternate continuites, to make way for just one
e. Extension of "d" by gathering, & making current canon, select elements from any of the past regional continuities to form a new one.

It's sorta like Dr. Wily was once Dr. Light's lab assistant, in the (North American) localized version of the Mega Man story, while the original Japanese, from what I understand from the MM Knowledge base (wiki), makes no such mention of a once-partnership (between the 2 Dr.s). yet, I've never actually known if such a mention has had any significance on the plot/etc. of any of the games. I don't believe it has, & it seems that the 2 alt continuities have not been contradicted.

I know they are just games, but having some continuity is nice, regardless. But, I guess "alt universe" concepts, even when they are nothing more than (the) same universe w/ a retcon, is just a staple of being a gamer/geek/etc.



WaxxyOne said:

Isn't it kind of hard to justify continuing this debate now that the creator of the characters themselves has stated straight out that they have no last names?

No? OK, well I tried. Carry on...



JebbyDeringer said:

This doesn't make any sense. Why are they the Mario brothers if not having a last name Mario? Perhaps their last name is Mario and only Luigi has a first name.



SomeBitTripFan said:

Do we complain about Link's last name? NO! This is so irritating. He's just a video game character for goodness sake. Just have fun with the game. If we got technical Bowser would be Bowser Koopa and Peach, Peach Toadstool.



FyreeTSG said:

I'm sorry, Mario will always be Mario Mario, and Luigi is Luigi Mario---I LOVE THE SMB MOVIE!!!

And the Koopalings ARE Bowser's kids--why would HIS name be King Bowser Koopa(unless you forget), and the Koopalings' last names are KOOPA as well!!
And in the SMB3 and SMW cartoons which I watched as a kid, and have on DVD, even though the Koopalings' names are changed from SMB3 and SMW--they STILL call Bowser/King Koopa their DAD....

I respect you Miyamoto---but maybe you should have addressed this issue back in the 90's before the Cartoons and Movie made US all believe what we heard, and made an OFFICIAL announcement as Mario's creator.


Oh, and I still call Peach "Princess Toadstool", which is another thing that WE in the west didn't know for, like, ever BTW...Princess Peach Toadstool!!

Oh, and Toad's OFFICIAL title is "Royal Mushroom Retainer", there are more than ONE Birdo(3 colors in SMB2, and it's a species in the SMBSS Cartoon)--just like there are MORE than on Yoshi....

And DK in all the current games is the SAME Donkey Kong from 1981---why not? Mario's the same, why wouldn't he PET GORILLA be??(Yeah, DK was Mario's Pet Gorilla)



Morpheel said:

Well, I have black hair and my facial hair is usually lighter in color, so Mario is not alone in that regard.



robertp17 said:

Interesting considering that Captain Lou refers to himself as Mario Mario in the Super Mario Super Show (Luigi also refers to Mario being his last name in another episode) LONG before the movie and the official Nintendo's player's guide for SMB3 refers to the Koopalings as Bowser's kids as does Nintendo Power over and over throughout the years. Seems like he's trying to rewrite a bit of inconvenient/undesirable history.



SuperMinusWorld said:

Ok, I couldnt care less about them not having last names. But the fact that he says the Koopalinhs aren't Bowser's kids and goes on to say that Mario and Bowser are just part of a big family of actors... No. No, Miyamoto, you're wrong.

You are wrong. Bowser and Mario are not actors, they're arch enemies interlocked in a tale as old as time itself, and the Koopalings ARE Bowser's kids. I don't care what you have to say; that's how I've known them since the first time I played SMB3, and that's how I know them now.



GamerZack87 said:

There are very few characters in the entire scope of Nintendo's franchises who have last names. So few, in fact, that I can list them all in this post: Samus Aran, Fox McCloud, Peppy Hare, Slippy Toad, Falco Lombardi, Wolf O'Donnell, Pigma Dengar, Andrew Oikonny, Leon Powalski, Panther Caruso, Katt Monroe, Bill Grey...(the names continue to dribble from GamerZack's mouth for about four-and-a-half hours)...and Professor Elvin Gadd. So it's no surprise that many Nintendo characters have only a single name.



TwilightV said:

They're Bowser's strongest underlings. Where do you think the name KoopaLING came from? XP



Xilef said:

Why is some people questioning this? He is the creator if these characters, he if anyone knows their names and familys. Also this is Mario, logic is kind of thrown out of the window.



Bass_X0 said:

If he didn't want their surnames to be Mario, he shouldn't have called them the Mario Bros.

It doesn't matter what the movie says or its quality, in standard english, it goes "[surname] brothers" not "[older brother's first name] brothers". Example; Frasier Crane and Niles Crane are the Crane brothers, not the Frasier brothers.

Its possible that back in 1983 Miyamoto didn't give much care to naming Luigi's first game but that doesn't change what the title means.



Araknie said:

@DarkEdi Yeah in the american one, but in the japanese one?

Revelations from Miyamoto.
Reaction: people don't belive him.
Me: WHY?



Bass_X0 said:

Read what I said, Araknie. I don't believe Miyamoto's word trumps proper grammar.



Dreadjaws said:

@Bass_X0 Yeah, but in japanese, the first and last names are swapped. This also goes back to all the people saying "Mario Miyamoto". So if Mario was Miyamoto's son he'd be actually named "Shigeru Mario".



KingMike said:


The DK from 1981 became Cranky Kong in Donkey Kong Country. The new DK is his grandson (or maybe it was his son, I forget).



Olaf-symbiote said:

@ Bass_X0

Finally someone who thinks the same way as I do! While everyone has gotten used to the name "Mario Bros." over the years, the fact still stands that IRL, this kind of a naming convention would be ridiculous. I certainly think my sis would punch me in the face if I ever suggested that we should collectively refer to ourselves as the "Sammy Siblings" .

This information confirms that either Mario's some kinda egotist or Luigi has some serious self-esteem issues and wants to hide behind his brother's name. Seriously though, speaking of Miyamoto vs. proper grammar made me think: could it be possible that when the Japanese creators came up with the title "Mario Bros." they thought it sounded catchy, and didn't think too hard about the grammatical use of "brothers" in English? This might also explain why the names "Mario Mario" and "Luigi Mario" only appeared in the American media: the writers of the TV shows and the movie naturally thought about the rules of English grammar and tried to put more meaning in the title "Mario Bros."

Remember, Donkey Kong also had a similar naming goof: Miyamoto thought "donkey" was a synonym for "stupid" and that's why he named DK as such. When the arcade game came to America, many confused players actually thought there was a typo and the game's name was supposed to be "Monkey Kong!"



ultraraichu said:

@ Olaf-symbiote & Bass_X0
Glad I'm not the only one that think that way. Even without the movie I would still think their last name is Mario due to English grammer

As for the Koopalings I somehow thought they were Bowser's Nephews and Niece, can't remember what started that (so long ago).

On a side note, I hope he have an answer on Birdo. Is it a male or female. Personally I think female but booklet says otherwise.



Marioman64 said:

"How many Mario's are there?"
"Well, there's three, there's Mario Mario, and Luigi Mario"
still one of my favorite lines in that movie, regardless of how incorrect it may be



Bass_X0 said:

Speaking of the Koopa Kids having silly names... they were called Bully, Big Mouth, Kooky, Cheatsy, Kootie Pie, Hip and Hop in the cartoons. And Bowser was definitely their father there.



FJOJR said:

Maybe the Koopalings are not Bowser's biological kids but adopted. Bowser Jr. is truly his however. Which begs the question, who is Jr.'s mom?!



Mario500 said:

Mario and Luigi's last name was Mario in the animated TV series (first broadcast between 1989 and 1991), all of which were made before the theatrical movie (released in 1993). The idea their last name was Mario was based on them being known collectively as the Mario Brothers since the creation of the first game in which they appeared together (Mario Bros.).



Malkeor said:

Yep read this in the GI magazine.

And please don't give them last names for whoever is still doing it.
Just remember that is spawned because of that awful movie...JUST REMEMBER!



Bass_X0 said:

Then why "Mario Bros."? That's what Shigeru sould answer.

If he were being honest. probably something like "Mario wasn't a brand character for us back in 1983 like he is today, I wasn't too familar with the english language back then and Mario Bros. sounded cool to the Japanese as a title starring Mario and his brother. I never intended for Mario to have a surname but once we started using the Mario Bros. title, we couldn't just stop using it."



Henmii said:

I always found it dumb: Mario Mario and Luigi Mario! I don't consider the movie to be canon, so it's just Mario and Luigi!

"Also confirmed, for the record, is that the Koopalings are not Bowser's children; the only direct heir is Bowser Jr., though the mother is unknown"

It makes sense, otherwise you wouldn't have Morton Koopa junior or Ludwig von Koopa! They are just bowsers elite cronies!

Speaking of Bowsers cronies: It looks like Nintendo has finally realized that Bowser junior isn't that popular, because I didn't see him in New super mario bros 2! And he doesn't seem to be in New super mario bros Wii u either!



sdcazares1980 said:

So why after all these years, after the Mario Bros. movie, he decided to say that? It's ironic because I was at the Wii U Experience (I had fun, so thanks guys at Nintendo Life) in Los Angeles, and one of the questions for some prizes was "What is Mario's last name?" and of course the answer was "Mario." So, I guess that can't be one of those questions anymore.

Furthermore, what about the Koopa Kids? I don't get it. They were never Bowser's kids? So what's this "King Dad" I kept hearing from the TV show?



StarDust4Ever said:

"Mario Mario." "Luigi Mario." Always good for a laugh!

Mickey's last name is "Mouse." I don't think anyone debates this.

Bowser Jr is the progeny of Bowser and Peach. Yes, it's canonical: If you don't believe me, you haven't seen the interlude:

One more thing: The cake is a lie!



Bass_X0 said:

I don't consider the movie to be canon, so it's just Mario and Luigi!

Its not canon. It took their surnames from the title of the videogames which are canon. "because they were the Mario Bros., their last name should be Mario" - which makes sense. Does it not make sense to you? The movie wasn't the first to do this either.

So what's this "King Dad" I kept hearing from the TV show?

The TV show isn't canon either, but it took Bowser being their father from the SMB3 instruction manual which is canon.

Its come to something when canon games and titles can't even be trusted.



Henmii said:

"Furthermore, what about the Koopa Kids? I don't get it. They were never Bowser's kids? So what's this "King Dad" I kept hearing from the TV show?"

The tv show isn't canon either! Just look at the names of the Koopalings: They are all wrong! For example: Wendy o Koopa is called Kootypie (or something like that) in the series. And King Koopa (from the tv series) is certainly not Bowser!



Grodus said:

I thought Bowser Jr. was adopted. I have absolutely no Idea where I got that.



allav866 said:

I don't get why people thought their last names were Mario, just because the movie said so. In the movie, Daisy was an archaeologist, Koopa was a human, and Mario and Luigi weren't Italian. It's so painfully obvious that the movie isn't canonical to the Mario series, so I never call Mario "Mario Mario."



Moviefan2k4 said:

@allav866 Its still a funny scene though...

Guard: "How many Marios are there between the two of you?"
Luigi: "There's three. There's Mario Mario, and Luigi Mario."



Elmario said:

In the Super Mario 3 manual it says the koopalings are his "kids", but there is a koopaling whose name is Morton Koopa Jr so if they are Bowsers adopted kids you'd assume the real fathers name is Morton Koopa. BOOM!



Bass_X0 said:

Can we stop calling him Mario Mario now, please?

When Mario and Luigi stop being the Mario brothers.

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