Game Theory

Mario movie theory teases a wild reason for that controversial casting choice

Who is he, really?

Originally Published: 
Mario in Mushroom Kingdom

Mario fans can’t seem to get over Chris Pratt. At this point, many of us have accepted the strange reality that Star Lord will be voicing one of Nintendo’s most recognizable protagonists in The Super Mario Bros. Movie. However, that hasn’t stopped wishful thinking from Nintendophiles who hope there’s more to the controversial casting than meets the eye. One Redditor suggests that maybe Pratt isn’t actually Mario Mario. Maybe he’s just a gamer dude inside Mario’s body. Let’s dive in.

The redditor begins their post by wondering why casting directors would hire Pratt to voice Mario instead of Charles Martinet, who voices Mario and Luigi in the video games, and is also slated to cameo in the upcoming movie. While it seems obvious the minds behind the project wanted a big Hollywood name, the reddit theorist insists there could be more to the story.

“I believe the movie's story will be a metanarrative where a (potentially live-action) gamer, portrayed by Chris Pratt, is somehow transported into a Mario game,” they write in the post.

Mario faceplants in the Mushroom Kingdom after he shoots out of a pipe in the first The Super Mario Bros. Movie trailer. He asks, “What is this place?”, indicating that he doesn’t recognize the main setting of the games. If Mario really was from the Mushroom Kingdom, wouldn’t he know?

As OP explains, Chris Pratt is “speaking his regular voice” here. Toad also somehow recognizes Mario despite him not being there before. (It could be because of an introduction scene that the trailer skips, though.) OP suggests that the “poor voice impression” is an attempt at the real-life gamer in Mario’s body attempting to “play along” after realizing that he’s inside the game.

The theory continues to the game’s second trailer, which gives more insight into Mario and Peach’s mission to stop Bowser. Mario is seemingly “oblivious to how this world works,” considering he’s unable to platform or do everything he seems adept at doing in the games like throwing fireballs.

“After Bowser is defeated, therefore completing the game, the gamer will meet the real Mario, voiced by Charles Martinet and will be transported back to the real world,” OP predicts.

Just because this is a popular theory doesn’t mean it’s one that people actually believe, though. Many commenters noted that replacing voice actors with Hollywood stars isn’t unheard of, let alone suspicious.

“It's not uncommon at all for legacy actors to cameo in a newer version,” the top comment reads.

Others pointed to the worldbuilding in the second trailer, where Mario and Luigi seem to actually perform plumbing duties in some part of the world, as proof that Mario is supposed to be grounded in that reality. One person said that the two are from Brooklyn, probably based on the popular theory that the new film would mirror the lore from the original Super Mario Bros. movie from 1993, where Mario and Luigi were plumbers from Brooklyn. This was further supported by leaked promotional posters from earlier this year.

Meanwhile, some applauded OP’s theory, even if they were unconvinced.

“A twist that would unironically save the movie for me,” one commenter wrote. “I hope this ones true.”

OP admitted that their theory had “very little chance” of being true, even though they thought it would be a cool twist. We’ll have to see when The Super Mario Bros. Movie comes out in the new year.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie will arrive in theaters on April 23, 2023.

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