Ahead of Nintendo’s presentation on Thursday, a poster for The Super Mario Bros. Movie has been released, and it’s jam-packed with the sort of easter eggs and curious details that the average punter might miss. And let’s face it, who has time to zoom into a Twitter post? Well, luckily for you, it’s our job to do that sort of thing so you don’t have to. So, here’s 7 things we found in the Mario poster that may give us some clues as to the upcoming film’s story:
The Antique Shop’s Pixelated Goods
Could this be a clue as to the Mario movie’s canonicity within the wider continuity of the games? I can’t believe I just typed that sentence with a straight face. But hear me out: on those shelves you can clearly see switch blocks and music boxes from Super Mario Bros 3. Is this an indication that the film considers the classic games to have happened in its timeline?
If so this film is not, as with the Sonic films, an origin story. This could be Old Man Mario, at a stage in his life not unlike Nathan Drake in Uncharted 4: middle aged, bored, and itching for one more daft adventure. Throw in a sub-plot about Luigi escaping from a South American prison and the Mario movie could end up being a better Uncharted movie than the actual Uncharted movie.
That’s Toad in the foreground, right? He’s chatting away to Mario like they’re old buddies. And that’s his Treasure Tracker gear, more or less, right? Is there going to be a Lost Treasure of Something-or-Other storyline going on here, with Toad filling the role of an Indiana Jones side-kick, like Short Round? It’s possible. A Mario movie could wrap itself around any number of Hollywood tropes, and a globe-hopping adventure romp would seem like a good fit: after all, Super Mario Odyssey was essentially that.
So… middle-age, Indiana Jones… is… is this actually a secret Uncharted movie? Is Nintendo mugging off Sony here by doing a Mushroom-skinned Uncharted film?
Mario’s Unironed Dungarees
Look at those wrinkles around Mario’s arse and legs. It’s clear that those are on straight from the rack: fine for the likes of you and me, but this is a man who is pretty close to royalty when it comes to the Mushroom Kingdom. Literally. In British royal family terms, Mario’s relationship with Peach puts him on the cards for a dukeship of some shithole or another. And so, one would expect – as a matter of civic duty – his dungies to be well-kept.
Well, they’re not. Which could indicate trouble in paradise: Peach has had enough, and Mazzer has found himself kicked to the kerb. This would also explain why Captain Toad is talking at Mario with the exact expression of an annoying pal in the middle of saying something asinine and platitudinous like “Cheer up mate! There’s plenty more heiresses in the kingdom!”. Aye, whatever, you’re a sentient mushroom, now beat it.
The Nathan Drake connection moves ever deeper here: though Drake wasn’t quite divorced in Uncharted 4, his marriage was teetering on the brink. Him and Elena were estranged and barely communicating. (Elena is also blonde and has been to a castle, probably, just like Princess Peach).
This is a god-damned Uncharted movie.
Take a look at that antiques shop. Nice and close, now. Peek next to the more expected goods, and you’ll clock that iconic egg; white, with little coloured splotches. It’s blue, just behind blue shopkeeper Toad. It’s undeniably the egg of long-time Mario workhorse Yoshi, right? So we can expect to see the glue-tongued little mount at some point in the film, we expect. It stands to reason; Nathan Drake gets a jeep, Mario gets a Yoshi. There’s almost certainly going to be a bit over the course of these mushroom-centric 90 minutes where Mario has a chase scene. Probably against Bowser. And maybe it takes place over the Kalimari Desert from Mario Kart 64, the course with a train, and Yoshi (Mario’s car) has to run and keep up with- ach, you get the idea.
Let’s just hope the cinematic interpretation of Mario isn’t as indiscriminate with his use of Yoshis to bridge unjumpable gaps as we have all been, otherwise this family-friendly flick is going to have more needless deaths than the sluiced floor of a KFC hatchery.
All the Toads are smiling… except one
Five toads are clearly visible in the foreground of this poster. Two of them, Captain Toad and the antique shop proprietor, look positively pleased to exist in the warm glow of Mario’s presence. The other two look happy enough, though Mario doesn’t seem to have factored into their day. But one of them – a yellow one – carrying what looks to be either a stack of takeaway pizzas or Toblerones (so they’ve either emerged from a Dominos or an airport) does not look very joyful at all at the sight of Mario.
Which begs the question: what did Mario do to the yellow Toad?
The obvious Uncharted parallel here is that in those games, yellow is often used to denote objects that Nathan Drake can climb, grab, or swing from. This could be a metaphorical device to indicate a certain level of unease around the Mushroom Kingdom regarding Mario’s intentions: is he, as he presents, merely a foreign suitor for Peach, or does he plan to leverage the Mushroom Kingdom’s hospitality and apparent wealth to advance his own nefarious agenda? Could he be willing to step (or climb, or grab, or swing) on the Toad people to gain power?
Look at the floating islands that satellite the big hill in the background: notice that they all have step platforms leading to them?
We’re definitely going to see Mario’s acrobatic abilities play a key part in this cinematic adventure: platforming his way around the nobbly geography of the Mushroom Kingdom like… well, like Nathan Drake launches himself around the heritage sites of emerging market economies.
The purple Toad on Mario’s right: look at what he’s holding. It’s a Cheep Cheep fish in a plastic bag, presumably purchased from the fishmonger (or pet shop, if you want a charitable read on this) in the background. Now, the Cheep Cheep fish is usually aligned with the Koopa Troop, and is one of the Mushroom Kingdom’s more deadly forms of aquatic life: dangerous even to powerful heroes like Mario, let alone lowly Toads.
Which suggests that the Mushroom Kingdom sports a massively deregulated livestock market. The danger this represents to the Kingdom’s food security, as well as its individual citizens, cannot be overstated: a lack of proper food standards means that the entire supply chain is at constant risk of contamination from diseased or expired food, to say nothing of the physical risks associated with trying to fillet an arsey puffer fish that’s spoiling for a scrap. This is no way to run an advanced economy.
The Nathan Drake connection is inconclusive here, but frankly, he strikes us as a bit of a “don’t tread on me” sort of melt, so there you are.
The Super Mario Bros. Movie will release on PS5 and Xbox Series X following its run in theaters.