Super Mario Bros. Movie Directors Explain Changes To Peach, And Not Making Her The Victim

Peach with fire powers in Super Mario
(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Across Nintendo’s nearly 40-year history with the Super Mario Bros. franchise, it’s been common for Princess Peach to be the damsel in distress, and for Mario to journey the far reaches of the Mushroom Kingdom to save her. However, in the 2023 new movie release, The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Peach is getting a new narrative that is much more empowering than helpless. 

Across the clever marketing for The Super Mario Bros. Movie that has made us especially excited to see the animated movie, Princess Peach looks to be a stronger female character in comparison to how she's portrayed in the video game. One of the movie’s directors, Aaron Horvath said this about the characterization of the iconic video game character in the movie: 

She's the monarch who leads this kingdom of hapless, adorable Toads. We were thinking how strong that person would need to be to protect those people. All that informed the idea for Peach's character in our movie.

The Super Mario Bros. Movie

Mario and Luigi in The Super Mario Bros. Movie.

(Image credit: Illumination)

Release Date: April 5, 2023 (Theaters)
Directed By: Aaron Horvath & Michael Jelenic
Written By: Matthew Fogel
Starring: Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Charlie Day, Jack Black, Keegan-Michael Key, Seth Rogen, Fred Armisen, Sebastian Maniscalco and Charles Martinet

During an interview with Total Film (via ComicBook), the co-director of The Super Mario Bros. Movie shared that Princess Peach’s leadership role in the Mushroom Kingdom will be a focal point of the film. In a notable swap from the norm of the franchise, it will be Charlie Day’s Luigi who is captured by Jack Black’s Bowser. Mario will go on a wondrous adventure to rescue his brother and Princess Peach will be instrumental in helping him out. 

It’ll be a nice change of pace for Princess Peach after decades of needing to be rescued in the popular game. As Horvath shared, the switch-up will allow the character to explore her role as a protector of a people, something we’ve not yet really seen from Peach. 

The actress behind the voice role is Anya Taylor-Joy, known for numerous dramatic and critically-acclaimed roles over the years like Queen’s Gambit or, most recently, The Menu. Taylor-Joy has previously shared that she wasn’t very familiar with the Nintendo franchise before the movie role came along. Since nabbing the role, the actress said she’s become a “gamer”, especially in terms of tearing up the arcade with friends. 

Her leading co-star in the stacked The Super Mario Bros. Movie cast is Chris Pratt as Mario, which has been a controversial decision among fans, but according to the filmmakers made “total sense” due to the actor’s ability to play a “blue-collar hero with a ton of heart” really well. 

This week it was announced that The Super Mario Bros. Movie’s release date has been moved up by a couple of days. Rather than it hitting theaters on Friday, April 7, the movie will now debut on Wednesday, April 5, perhaps giving the movie more lead way to open really big at the box office. And we’re certainly excited to see the filmmaker’s new take on Princess Peach once the movie hits theaters one month from now. 

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.