The recent cast announcement for the Super Mario Bros. movie was met with more than a few raised eyebrows. Chirpy Italian plumber Mario, usually voiced by the iconic Charles Martinet, will be played by Chris Pratt, with other famous comedic actors filling out the rest of the Mushroom Kingdom. But apparently, Shigeru Miyamoto likes what he’s seen so far, and now we’re hearing talk of further spinoffs.
Now ThatHashtagShow is reporting that Nintendo and Universal are collaborating on a Donkey Kong movie. This will presumably see Seth Rogen reprise the role from Super Mario Bros and explore the particulars of DK’s world.
A bona fide video game icon, Donkey Kong debuted in the 1981 arcade classic of the same name (also the first appearance of Mario). Since then he’s carved out his own universe, with this movie said to feature beloved characters like Diddy Kong, Candy Kong, Chunky Kong, Funky Kong, and King K. Rool. We’ll also get Cranky Kong, the original princess-kidnapping DK (the more familiar tie-wearing ape from Donkey Kong Country is his grandson).
Illumination is hard at work on Super Mario Bros, so Nintendo and Universal have reportedly given this to another as yet unidentified animation studio, which may suggest they want to fast-track it through production. There’s also word that this may be a Peacock streaming exclusive, though Universal apparently wants to see how Halloween Kills does on the service before committing to releasing it there.
Nintendo and Universal working together on Donkey Kong is a fun twist for anyone that knows their video game history. The two companies went to court in the early 1980s, with Universal claiming the character infringed on their King Kong copyright. Universal lost when Nintendo pointed out that the studio had argued the character was public domain in a previous case and had to pay substantial damages and costs (Nintendo went on to name Kirby after their lawyer John Kirby).
But that bad blood is in the past for good now. Let’s hope we get official confirmation on Donkey Kong soon.