What will Nintendo do Next in Hollywood?

One of the highly anticipated films of the year is this April’s Illumination Super Mario Bros. film. The film is likely to be a box-office smash regardless of what critics and fans say on Rotten Tomatoes. Look at this upcoming Holywood feature and the new Super Nintendo World parks being added to most Universal Studio theme amusement parks around the globe. This is just the beginning of Nintendo’s big marketing push outside of video games. 

With rumors and rumblings of other projects, it appears that Nintendo is ready to go Hollywood. After the unsuccessful and unrecognizable Super Mario Bros. Movie from the 90s, it is understandable why Nintendo has shied away from any more adaptations of their properties. 

There is no better time than the 2020s for Nintendo to go Hollywood. The Switch after five years continues to sell like hotcakes. It can potentially become the highest-selling home console ever when it is all said and done. 

Not since Disney started deep diving into Marvel, when it bought it in 2009, has there been another library of characters as rich with potential. Video game adaptations are also becoming more popular. There has yet to be an individual film with universal praise. However, some shows like Netflix’s Arcane and Castlevania or HBO’s upcoming Last of Us show progress. 

The worst-case scenario for Illumination’s Mario movie is that it makes only a few hundred million. A lukewarm reception from the vocal Nintendo fanboys would meet this. Best case, it grosses more money than Disney’s Frozen II and wins Best Animated Feature at the Oscars over the next Studio Ghibli film. 

So what can Nintendo fans expect to see in theaters or on the small screens over the next few years? Like everything else dealing with the big N, all we can do as fans is speculate and predict. Most of the time, that is the fun part of being a Nintendo fan. 

Here are ideas that can work as Nintendo begins its big Hollywood push. 

Illumination Brings Mario and his Friends to Hollywood

Seth Rogen being cast as Donkey Kong and having a supporting role in the film has started rumors. Fans believe that a spinoff Donkey Kong Country film is in development. With Cranky Kong being voiced by Fred Armisen and other kongs spotted by eagle-eyed viewers, we can almost bet this is certain. 

If Nintendo is smart, it will try to diversify its franchises. Illumination’s animation style seemingly pairs well with Mario and Donkey Kong. If films or shows for other Mario spin-offs like Yoshi’s Island or even Wario Land were to be made, it would likely be left to Universal’s Illumination or DreamWorks animation to create.  

Many people on the internet joke with the Sonic films, Detective Pikachu movie, and now Mario feature that there can now be a Super Smash Bros. film. Personally speaking, I am a little sick of crossovers and universe-building. 

I think audiences are more likely to see a mini Mario universe of films similar to how Illumination spun off the Minions for Despicable Me. A Mario movie sequel from Illumination is likely what audiences can expect. 

What to do with Zelda?

The Legend of Zelda is regarded as Nintendo’s most prestigious series. Many, myself included, believe it can be put into film or television. The question is how they should approach the project. Since there are many different Zelda stories with their unique worlds and themes, there are several directions it can take. 

Do they make a high-fantasy live-action film trilogy like Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings? Do they make it a series like HBO’s Game of Thrones or House of the Dragon? Some people might think it works best as an animated film. Maybe this could be handled by Studio Ghibli inspired by Princess Monokoe or even Tales of the Earthsea. 

Zelda could be a great Hollywood adaptation

There were rumors of a canceled Zelda series for Netflix. I believe that is the best approach for the series. I like the idea of making a Zelda animated series where each season deals with a different game in the timeline. Think Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure but with Zelda. 

The Legend of Zelda has an ongoing manga series with the same idea. Many claim Zelda can be difficult to adapt since Link never talks, but I think it is full of potential. If literary works such as Dune or the Great Gatsby can be adapted multiple times, talented artists should not have too much trouble working with the Zelda series. 

Sci-Fi or Horror for Metroid 

Of all the franchises Nintendo could or decides to adopt, Metroid is the one that should probably be live-action. Metroid’s dark and isolated atmosphere makes it the perfect sci-fi horror flick. People will point to the Alien films as obvious inspirations. Interestingly, other films like 2013’s Gravity or 2018’s Annihilation showcase the ideal tone for a Metroid film. 

Metroid enthusiasts like Good Vibes Gaming’s Derrick Bitner have already created a well-thought storyboard pitch for a Metroid film that I recommended others check out. 

In my opinion, the grittier, the better The biggest challenge in adapting Metroid is the casting of Samus Aran. Many fans will point to Captain Marvel’s Brie Larson. She is an outspoken Nintendo fan and has played similar characters. 

Art-house Animation for Pikmin in Hollywood

Pikmin deserves a Hollywood feature!

Pikmin is not the most popular Nintendo series, but it has a certain charm that makes it ripe for the right audience. A movie about a small army of ant-like creatures exploring familiar environments has been done before. One can look at films like A Bugs Life or the green army men scene in the first Toy Story as inspiration for how a Pikmin film would look.

Other movies like Arriety or scenes like the soot sprites from Spirited Away prove that there is something cute about little guys working together in a large environment. 

With a Pikmin movie, I think Nintendo can go full arthouse and make it a silent film like the early parts of Wall-E. Given the world and character designs in Pikmin, GCI can seamlessly recreate the graphics of the game for an awesome-looking film. 

Nintendo seems to agree with them already producing a series of Pikmin short films. The series is a personal favorite of Shigeru Miyamoto, so maybe he’ll be eager to greenlight a potential project. I’m not saying the Red Pikmin is the next Grogu, but it certainly can be. 

Dumb-fun and Thrills with F-Zero 

This last potential idea is a pipedream, but it would be hilarious. It is hard to convince an idea of an F-Zero film being made if Nintendo is not even making more F-Zero games. Perhaps all it needs is an entertaining blockbuster to create a new generation of fans. 

Now F-Zero is just a sci-fi high-octane racing game, but that alone is enough to get one movie out of it. The key is to lean into the craziness and create amazing action sequences you must see in theaters. Think the Fast and Furious or Mad Max films. The characters and plot are not deep or taken seriously, but it’s dumb fun. 

There already was an F-Zero anime series with more episodes made than Chainsaw man and One Punch Man. There is enough lore from the games to create a narrative, but with a film, I don’t think it has to be Shakespeare. 

You put a charismatic actor in the role of Captain Falcon and try to make some intense races, and you got yourself a summer blockbuster. The only challenge with F-Zero is that since it evolves zero gravity high-speed racing, I expect the film will be coated with CGI. Visually, the look of the 2008 live-action Speed Racer film is what I imagine with an F-Zero film.

Speed Racer set the stage for F-zero

Nothing wrong with CGI but if practical stunts and effects can be utilized, it will make the movie ten times more exciting. Imagine the thrill of the climax of Top Gun: Maverick with Captain Falcon saying some quotable line. 

Speaking of Top Gun, Glen Powell the bully turned hero Hangman from Top Gun: Maverick, would be a great Captain Falcon. Of course, you could instead cast the upcoming actor Chris Pratt, but I prefer Powell.

Nintendo’s legacy franchise offers a goldmine of creativity. Unlike comic books, studios do not have to worry about connecting the series. These were just a few ideas that fans like myself like to spitball.

Are you planning on seeing the Mario movie? What Nintendo series would you like to see on the big screen? Join the conversation in the comment section.

Ready to start your journey?

It's dangerous to go alone! Join us!