To say The Super Mario Bros. Movie is a success is an understatement. Over its third weekend in theaters, it has earned over $871 million globally. It has yet to release in Japan, at which point it should easily eclipse the $1 billion mark. Even before Japanese audiences weigh in, it's safe to say this adaptation is a hit. Needless to say, unless something completely unexpected happens, it's going to get a sequel.
Having seen The Super Mario Bros. Movie and weighed in with our own thoughts and opinions, my mind turned into what a sequel could look like. Despite packing in dozens of refernces throughout its 92 minute runtime, there's still a lot of territory that Nintendo, Universal, and Illumination can pack into a second installment. I may not speak for the entirety of Shacknews, but I have a few ideas of what I'm expecting to see in The Super Mario Bros. Movie 2.
Oh, this is where I should a massive SPOILER WARNING! If you have not seen The Super Mario Bros. Movie, turn back now. Feel free to jump back in after you've seen it and stayed for the two post-credits scenes. Speaking of which...
Follow-up on the post-credits scene
The first post-credits scene was a fun peek into Bowser's current fate. He's sitting in a bird cage, shrunken down to size by the Mini Mushroom from New Super Mario Bros. He's almost certainly not going to stay in that state, especially since it's been established that one hit is all it takes for the effects to wear off. That means Bowser will probably bust out of his prison to wreak havoc again, seeking out a new way to win Princess Peach's heart.
It's the other post-credits scene that's a little more intriguing. It takes viewers back into the World 1-2 sewer in Brooklyn where a single egg started to hatch with the familiar call of Yoshi.
This leads to the question of whether Yoshi's Island will play any sort of role in the sequel. Moviegoers saw a brief glimpse of the Yoshi homeworld as the main characters trekked to the Kong kingdom. There was a full stampede of Yoshis on display, which would seemingly imply a future visit there. While I don't rule that out, I don't think that'll be the main focus of the next movie.
Instead, Yoshi is notably in the real world. It's new territory for him. It's a world he doesn't belong in. That leads me to believe that the next movie could be the inverse of the Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island plot. Instead of Yoshi taking Baby Mario home, Mario and Luigi will likely be taking Yoshi home. There could even be more importance to this particular Yoshi than meets the eye. Who would know that better than frequent Yoshi's Island antagonist Kamek?
While Peach and Toad will undoubtedly try and hammer home that Yoshi has a home where he belongs, the bulk of the sequel will see Mario bond with his new dinosaur friend. They'll survive Bowser's latest plot together and they'll forge a friendship that makes everyone realize that maybe Yoshi's place is in the Mushroom Kingdom.
More power-ups, including an original one
It's not a Mario project without power-ups. The Super Mario Bros. Movie got this aspect of the games exactly right. Super Mushrooms, Fire Flowers (though, curiously, not on Mario at any point), Ice Flowers, Cat Suits, Tanooki Suits, and even the aforementioned Mini Mushroom were well represented. Still, there's always room for more. There's room for the Frog Suit, the Hammer Bro. Suit, and a possible climax involving the Mega Mushroom. Imagine a giant Mario and Bowser throwing down like something out of Bowser's Fury.
Universal and Illumination haven't been shy about nailing the source material. The obstacle course scene contained numerous elements from the Mario games and I'd expect to see more of that. There will be a place in this next movie for POW Blocks and P Switches, just to really scratch that nostalgia itch.
With this first movie being such a hit, though, imagine Nintendo tapping the Illumination crew to put on their thinking caps and come up with a brand new Mario power-up of their own design? Picture the sequel debuting a never-before-seen power that would then become a feature of the next big Mario game. Given how successful this first movie has been and what a tremendous job Illumination has done for Nintendo and how happy they've made Shigeru Miyamoto, I wouldn't be surprised if there's something new for Mario fans in the next movie.
Kamek puts up with a lot in service of Bowser. He's at the wrong end of a lot of slapstick, he gets a piano slammed on his fingers, and he gets trotted out in Peach's dress. (Though he did look like he was enjoying it, so more power to him.) Still, Bowser's army is probably getting some expansion at the top.
How it expands remains to be seen and it'll ultimately depend on how much more dedicated Illumination is to taking Mario back to his roots. This first movie saw Mario and Luigi return to their 1980s origins as Brooklyn plumbers. Will Illumination stay in that era and present the Koopalings as Bowser's kids... or as related to him in any way?
The Koopalings' relationship to Bowser have noticeably been retconned over the past few decades, but there is at least one other blood relative for him to bring out. I would expect Bowser Jr. to debut at some point in the sequel, possibly as some reckless runaway that Bowser adopted. Better yet, maybe Bowser doesn't even know he exists and doesn't find out until Junior helps bust him out of his Mushroom Kingdom prison.
At the end of the day, this is a kids franchise and I would expect younger viewers to gravitate towards the mischievous Bowser Jr. His arrival is a no-brainer and I would expect it to happen sooner than later.
The continued exploration of Peach's origin
A lot of the joy from The Super Mario Bros. Movie was in seeing how many things from the source material I recognized. There was nothing there that I hadn't seen before, except for one very notable exception. After Mario meets Peach and they head to the obstacle course, Peach explains to Mario that she's not originally from the Mushroom Kingdom.
Let's get the obvious out of the way. This clearly explains why Peach doesn't look like any of the Toads. Instead, she came from somewhere far away, which is an idea that I don't think any of the games have explored to this point. Even the story-heavy RPGs have never gone in depth into where Peach came from or how she became Princess of the Mushroom Kingdom.
The movie brushed it off with Peach staring off into the stars and talking about millions of galaxies. That's a fun nod to where the series is going eventually, but it's not going there immediately. I would expect Mario and company to venture into the cosmos for the third movie.
Instead, I would expect the second movie to raise more of these questions. Why did Peach end up in a warp pipe as a baby? Was she sent to the Mushroom Kingdom on purpose? Is she from Mario's world or is she from somewhere else entirely? Don't look for these answers right away, but also, don't forget these questions either for the future.
Farewell to Donkey Kong
Having established Donkey Kong and his world, I wouldn't expect to see the Kongs return in the sequel. Granted, the banter between Mario and DK was one of the movie's highlights, but Illumination has already set up the Kong mythos for exploration in a separate spin-off. Rumors of a Donkey Kong movie have been around for a few years and they're far more likely to come true in the wake of The Super Mario Bros. Movie's massive success. Whether DK will get a standalone film or a streaming series in the vein of Knuckles remains to be seen.
Regardless, DK's place in Mario's story is finished. Mario has his own stories to tell with Bowser, Peach, Yoshi, and Luigi. DK can start diving into his own lore with Diddy, Dixie, and the others able to do more than just cameo in the coliseum.
That's where I'm expecting the sequel to The Super Mario Bros. Movie to go, but your opinions might differ from my own. If you've got ideas on where this is all headed, join the conversation and let us know in the comments. The Super Mario Bros. Movie is currently in theaters. Plus, if you want to hear more about The Super Mario Bros. Movie and all things falling in the realm of video game pop culture, tune in every week for Pop! Goes the Culture with Donovan and Greg.