The Super Mario Bros. Movie has been one of the biggest commercial successes of 2023, and with a sequel likely, there are plenty of things from the games that audiences still want to see. The movie’s $1.35 billion intake is great news for a potential sequel in the next few years, hopefully returning to the Mushroom Kingdom and expanding this universe even further with new additions from the classic video games. While the first movie did a great job of bringing most characters and locations to life on the big screen, there are still some areas that a sequel could improve upon.
In contrast to the original Super Mario Bros adaptation from 1993, the latest version was a huge success because it stuck closely to the source material and offered plenty of Easter eggs for long-time players of the games. Since the movie was only 90 minutes long though, it was impossible to bring everything to life. This meant sacrificing certain characters and cutting them from the story altogether. Thankfully, the movie also does a great job of setting up the future, teasing certain elements that could later come into play.
Making Toad one of The Super Mario Bros. Movie’s main characters was a bold decision that ultimately became one of the project’s biggest strengths. Keegan Michael-Key’s enthusiastic performance really helped elevate the side character into something more engaging, serving as a great way of introducing the audience to the Mushroom Kingdom. If Toad is going to return in the sequel, it would make sense for him to adopt his Captain Toad persona at some point, since he’s definitely going to be doing plenty of adventuring. This would also be a smooth way of integrating certain mechanics from the Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker video games.
Although most players will agree that they’re typically more difficult than the regular levels, the underwater levels are an iconic part of the original Super Mario video games that could easily be adapted into the movies. The first movie didn’t get many opportunities to explore this corner of the Mushroom Kingdom since it took place primarily in the jungle, but an ocean-focused story could work really well for the sequel. There are also several underwater tracks in Mario Kart that could make for some fun set pieces.
Cappy is a fairly new addition to the Super Mario video games, but he’s quickly become a fan-favorite character following his debut in Super Mario Odyssey. The sentient hat is a close friend of Mario’s that gives him specific abilities to help him throughout his journey - which could be an effective way of making the power-ups more accessible in the movies. Although Super Mario Odyssey is a fairly new game that many fans of the originals won’t be familiar with, Cappy is one of the few elements that could transition into The Super Mario Bros. Movies without too much difficulty or confusion.
While it works pretty well in the video games, the idea of having Bowser return as the main villain in The Super Mario Bros. Movie 2 could prove somewhat underwhelming. There needs to be somebody new that can raise the stakes even further, and Dry Bowser is the perfect candidate. He’s even scarier and more intimidating than regular Bowser, commanding an entire army of Dry Bones that have already proven themselves to be dangerous in the first movie. This could even open up the possibility of Bowser and Mario having to work together in order to bring down a greater threat.
There is still plenty to be explained about where Princess Peach is from and her backstory in The Super Mario Bros Movie, which is undoubtedly going to play a large role in the sequel. This perfectly sets the stage for Princess Daisy’s entrance, revealing that Peach and Mario aren’t the only human characters in this fantasy world - and proving that other realms exist outside the reaches of the Mushroom Kingdom. Introducing Daisy as a character would be an effective way of expanding this fictional universe while staying true to the lore of the video games.
Mario Party Sequences
One of the best sequences in The Super Mario Bros Movie was the car chase that was clearly inspired by the Mario Kart video games, with the characters racing against each other on Rainbow Road. This was a nice touch that acknowledged just how expansive the Super Mario franchise has become, with plenty of variants outside of the main series games. If the sequel wants to do a similar thing, riffing off the Mario Party games would be a fun way of doing so - perhaps pitting the characters against each other to compete in a course.
Another variant of the traditional video game level, Haunted Houses appear in almost all mainstream Super Mario games so far. They were subtly included in The Super Mario Bros Movie when Luigi was sent to King Boo’s world, but the characters are yet to actually enter one of these labyrinthine buildings. It could be a fun way of integrating some horror and tension into the sequel, perhaps even bringing in some elements from the Luigi’s Mansion video games. There has been some demand for an actual Luigi’s Mansion spin-off movie, but if that doesn’t come to pass, even just a brief sequence would be welcome in The Super Mario Bros. Movie 2.
The battleship levels are an iconic part of the Super Mario franchise, but there’s one key aspect that needs to fall into place before they can be adapted into the movie series. The idea wouldn’t really work without Bowser Jr, who was noticeably missing from the first movie and still needs to be introduced. If The Super Mario Bros. Movie 2 decides to bring Bowser Jr into the story, a scene on his famous battleship would definitely be a great idea - maybe even helping to introduce the character at the beginning of the story.
Wario & Waluigi
Neither Wario nor Waluigi has been cast in the Super Mario movie franchise, and yet they’re two of the most recognizable and important anti-heroes in the entire series. The first movie decided to prioritize the characterization of Mario and Luigi before introducing their evil counterparts, which was probably for the best, but The Super Mario Bros. Movie 2 will have plenty of chance to bring them into the story. Even if they start out causing trouble for Mario and his friends, they could definitely turn around and prove useful in the fight against Bowser (or whoever ends up being the sequel’s main villain).
Omitting Yoshi from The Super Mario Bros Movie felt like a huge absence, with the beloved dinosaur playing a huge role in the video games and quickly becoming a fan-favorite character. Although it made sense for the movie to focus on the main characters before introducing so many others, Yoshi is a non-negotiable for any potential sequels. His friendship with Mario and Luigi is one of the sweetest and most entertaining aspects of the video games, with his unique abilities opening plenty of doors for creative fight sequences and power-up scenes.