All this is to say that we haven't seen the last of the Nintendo X Illumination collabs. Now, The Super Mario Bros. Movie 2 is a no-brainer but we wonder if there are any other Nintendo IPs that might make an attractive prospect to the studio behind
Despicable Me and The Secret Life of Pets.
Obviously, everyone wants to see a
Zelda or a Metroid movie, but neither of these franchises feel right for Illumination who, let's admit it, usually sits firmly on the cuddly side of things.
So what would be the right Nintendo product for Meledandri and Co. to take on next? Below, we have attempted to tackle this very question, first breaking down the safe options that could likely be spawned from the Mario Movie, before heading into ones that were either subtly hinted at in the film or that we simply feel would be a good fit.
We should also point out that we are going to go into some detail about what happens in the Mario Movie with some of our ideas below, so if you are still yet to see the film and don't want anything spoiled, then it might be best to not read ahead until you have had a chance to catch up.
Let the Illumination speculation begin!
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Aside from the obvious Mario Movie sequel, this option seems to be the lowest-hanging fruit of the bunch. Audiences appear to be split on Seth Rogan's performance as Nintendo's iconic gorilla, but the Jungle Kingdom sections of the film are some of the most in-depth world-building that it has to offer.
When Mario, Peach, and Toad are first driven along the kingdom's spiralling tracks, one of the first things to enter our minds (after "new
Mario Kart circuit, pleeeease") was how ripe for further exploration this world seemed to be. Add to this the fact that you already have appearances from DK, Cranky, Funky, Diddy, and Dixie Kong to play with, and a film with this ensemble starts to feel like it would write itself.
Donkey Kong already has the games sitting right there, so who's to say that a solo movie wouldn't work just as well?
We loved Charlie Day's Luigi in the Mario Movie. What we didn't love, was how little screen time he got. So why not make the best of this situation and make him the sole focus of a future tie-in movie?
There were little hints of
Luigi's Mansion dotted through the bro's arrival in Bowser's domain (Brian Tyler, you genius) and now we want more. You take that Ghostbusters-level of child-friendly chills and stretch it out over a 90-minute runtime to give Charlie Day a chance to really add some meat to the character and you're onto a winner.
Much like a DK spinoff, the big plus of going down the Luigi's Mansion route would be the number of characters that you could pull in. E. Gadd, King Boo, Polterpup, not to mention the obligatory cameo from Mario at the end. We've seen Luigi as the brother in peril on the big screen, so why not flip the script?
We'll admit, this one isn't all that likely.
However, the Toad that we see in the Mario Movie bears a striking resemblance to one Captain Toad, Treasure Tracker, and we know that there are adventures to be had there.
There are definitely worse options out there than an adventure movie that sees Keegan-Micheal Key's Toad setting out across the first movie's kingdoms in search of one MacGuffin or another. Think
on helium and all of a sudden the prospect sounds that little bit better, huh? Indiana Jones Star Fox
Now we're into the territory of franchises that were actually hinted at in the movie.
At one point, we see a TV in Mario's room on which he plays his NES (more on that later), but balanced on top of the TV set is a model of an Arwing from
Star Fox — hey, more obscure spinoff clues have been used in the past (we're looking at you, Marvel).
The idea of Illumination taking on a Star Fox movie actually doesn't sound all that bad. The studio knows how to make loveable animals (
Secret Life of Pets, Sing) and seeing the game series translated into an all-out sci-fi big-screen experience would be quite something.
We're picturing space-set dogfights, animal action and, of course, enough Illumination quips to keep it all lighthearted enough to land a PG rating.
Remember Mario's NES that we just mentioned? This is the game that he was playing.
Yes, the chances of Nintendo working on another
Kid Icarus game any time soon feels like a bit of a pipe dream, so what better way to bring the masses back on board than with a big old fantasy epic?
The actual connection between this tie-in and the Mario Movie could be much like the one between
Toy Story and Lightyear — the latter is a movie which plays in the universe of the former. This would allow Illumination to once again lean into the gameplay references and make a film that both reintroduces audiences to the Nintendo franchise and works as a standalone picture by itself. Pikmin
Pikmin is probably more likely to be a Luxo Ball-style cameo in each future Illumination X Nintendo project than it is to get a film all of its own, but the studio certainly has a history of giving the starring role to small, brightly coloured alien species.
There are a fair few
Pikmin Shorts that you can find on YouTube which were made by Dynamo Studios (since bought by Nintendo to form the creatively-named 'Nintendo Pictures'), so maybe the series could be a little pre-film skit before Nintendo-based feature films.
But this is Illumination that we're talking about, and you only need to take a look at the
Minions movies to see that they looove supporting the little guy. Kirby
There's no deeper thought behind this than the idea that if you were to inflate a Minion and dip it in pink dye, you wouldn't be a million miles away from Kirby.
Much like the previous Pikmin concept, this is based on Illumination's love for smooth, round(ish) protagonists and Kirby fits the bill perfectly. Would we actually like to hear Kirby talk real human words? Frankly, the thought sends a shiver down the spine. But if a movie was to lean into the interstellar, Warp Star-ing elements of the franchise then we could Dededefinitely be persuaded.
It would be fun, cute, and lead to potentially the biggest range of tie-in merchandise that the plushie market has ever seen.
A chilled 'day in the life' animated movie set in the world of
Animal Crossing is actually a very pleasing idea indeed. Japan got one and surely it's time for another given the series' global popularity?
As we have previously noted, Illumination has shown that it has no problem with anthropomorphised animals (heck, you could probably carry over many of the models from
Sing 2 and nobody would notice) and Animal Crossing is surely the granddaddy of them all.
Would this be better pitched as a gritty drama, following a human wage slave who is forced to live in isolation under the thumb of tyrannical overlord Tom Nook? Maybe. But the cute and cuddly route would also be suitable, where the biggest drama is how to rehouse your friends instead of struggling with crippling financial debt.
It's true, the chances of Illumination making a product centred around gun-based warfare are as slim as they come, but we all said the same thing about Nintendo before it announced
Splatoon, now didn't we? And the studio when it comes to firearms. does have form Hehehe, bottom.
The whole mercilessly-splatting-opponents thing might not immediately scream 'Illumination', but there is definitely potential here with the series' global warming message, young protagonists, and (once again) room for talking animals — albeit ones that are a little more squid-y than the studio is used to.
Of all the Nintendo franchises out there, Splatoon is the one that provides the best opportunity for some live music sequences too. Illumination peppers these into its films like there's no tomorrow (remember how unnecessarily hard the
Despicable Me soundtrack was?), so the chance to get some original Deep Cut or Squid Sisters material into the script would be a strong enough selling point on its own, we'd imagine.
Well, there you have it. That's just a few of the Nintendo franchises that Illumination could take on next ranging from the likely to the flying-pigs unlikely. Which one would you be first in line to buy a ticket for? Fill out the poll below to have your say.
Which Nintendo franchise should Illumination tackle next? (2,481 votes)
Donkey Kong 19% Luigi's Mansion 26% Captain Toad 2% Star Fox 12% Kid Icarus 3% Pikmin 5% Kirby 13% Animal Crossing 5% Splatoon 7% Other (comment below) 10%
Are there any others that we have missed? Take to the comments and leave us your pitch for Illumination's next video game flick.