The Super Mario Bros. Movie 2 Has A Villain Problem



  • The success of The Super Mario Bros. Movie relied on the presence of Bowser as a compelling villain who united the characters and drove the story forward.
  • Using Bowser as the main villain in the first movie may pose challenges for the sequel, as it will be difficult to find a replacement villain that can attract a casual audience in the same way.
  • However, not relying on Bowser in the sequel could benefit Nintendo by introducing lesser-known villains to a mainstream audience, potentially increasing interest in their games among a broader demographic.



Though The Super Mario Bros. Movie exceeded all expectations to become the biggest animated movie of the year, its sequel faces a major dilemma via its villain. Despite all the concerns surrounding Chris Pratt playing Mario and the poor performance of video game adaptations, the movie crossed the $1 billion mark and broke a long list of records for animated films. But while its success is obviously good news for its sequel, The Super Mario Bros. 2 will still have some hurdles to overcome, one of which being what to do about the villain.

Compelling villains are essential for many movies, and The Super Mario Bros. Movie is no exception. While there was heavy focus on giving these iconic characters cinematic personalities, they did need a villain to help progress the story. Even when he wasn’t present on screen, Bowser was essential for uniting Mario and Donkey Kong, allowing them to work together to defeat a greater threat. This teamwork and unity proved to be a driving factor in the story and wouldn’t be possible without an important enemy to overcome. Interestingly, Bowser’s memorable role in the movie could end up creating some big problems for The Super Mario Bros. Movie 2.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie Already Used The Games’ Biggest Villain

Bowser menaces Luigi in the Super Mario Bros. Movie

A big reason Bowser is so memorable in this film is because he is the biggest villain in the Super Mario video games. The Super Mario Bros. Movie’s post-credits scene teases a sequel, which makes it a little strange to use their main villain on the first go. It proved effective in creating a solid story and cinematic world but does leave concerns for the future. Bowser is by far the most well-known villain in all the Super Mario games. He is not just known by fans of the franchise, instead, he has mainstream appeal that is recognizable to almost anyone even vaguely familiar with the Mario IP.

Bowser’s intimidating look and demeanor make him one of gaming’s all-time bad guys, although the movie does somewhat parody this in a light-hearted way that fits its tone without ruining the character. It becomes difficult to imagine a Super Mario movie without Bowser, although The Super Mario Bros. Movie 2 does still have the luxury of being able to use him again as even after defeating him in the games, he always comes back. This is something they could even play on as a joke, however, the same villain in every movie may come across as much weaker than it does in the game, hence why the film may try someone new.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie Will Have Trouble Replacing Bowser

Super mario bros movie box office bowser

A sequel to The Super Mario Bros. Movie will struggle to replicate the magic of the first without Bowser. Surprisingly, The Super Mario franchise doesn’t exactly have an abundance of high-profile, interesting villains it can choose from beyond Bowser. After all, he’s Mario’s main rival in nearly every installment. And what few villains it does have wouldn’t be able to attract a more casual audience the same way Bowser could. Losing Jack Black would also be a heavy blow, and it would be difficult to find an actor as beloved as him to join the cast.

While introducing a new villain may be difficult, it’s not impossible. Bowser Jr. or the Koopalings could be a fun alternative to have as the lead threat. They would have similar evil intentions and offer a way to keep Bowser in the story but lack maturity and experience, something the movie could poke fun at. Alternatively, King Boo would offer a completely different style of film and could help involve Luigi more. Since there was a tease to a Luigi’s Mansion story in The Super Mario Bros. Movie, it could be the focus of the next film with Mario also involved alongside his brother to take on King Boo.

The Sequel’s Villain Problem Could Work In The Nintendo Franchise’s Favor

Mario, Link, Samus, and Donkey Kong in Nintendo's Movie Franchise

On the surface, a villain problem could be an issue for the next film, but it may work in Nintendo’s favor. It might be harder to market the movie without Bowser, yet succeeding without him would be a huge benefit to Nintendo’s future. Allowing lesser-known villains to be a central part of Mario’s cinematic world would help them become better known to a more mainstream audience. Whereas Bowser already has the mainstream appeal, the likes of King Boo and Bowser Jr. don’t; these movies could help get them there. Exposing audiences to these characters could help Nintendo get them more invested in their games.

Children are the main demographic for the movie and could help draw in an audience who didn’t grow up on Mario games. Likewise, parents who have an interest in gaming or may not have played a Mario game for years could learn about these villains and become more interested in trying out the games they are from. If The Super Mario Bros. Movie sequel can thrive without Bowser, it also suggests Nintendo can make big movies without their most popular characters.