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Illumination’s Super Mario Bros. Movies Has Cast Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy And More

Mario and Luigi Super Mario Bros

When one thinks of video game movies that didn’t fare well, inevitably 1993’s Super Mario Bros. comes up. But after all these years, Mario, Luigi and the rest of the characters from this corner of the Nintendo entertainment empire are finally getting another shot at cinematic flory, albeit in animation rather than live-action again. Illumination has a Super Mario Bros. movie coming up, and it’s been announced that Chris Pratt and Anya Tayor-Joy are among the many big names that will make up the main cast.

Freshly announced from the Nintendo Direct event, we now know that Chris Pratt will be voicing Mario in the new Super Mario Bros. movie, while Anya-Taylor Joy has been brought aboard as Princess Peach. The rest of the main voice cast includes Charlie Day as Luigi, Jack Black as Bowser, Keegan-Michael Key as Toad, Seth Rogen as Donkey Kong, Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong, Kevin Michael Richardson as Kamek and Sebastian Maniscalco as Spike. And for those of you who’ve enjoyed Charles Martinet’s vocal performances as Mario and various other characters in the video game franchise since the 1990s, not to worry, as he’ll be participating in the movie through “surprise cameos.”

While Sebastian Maniscalco revealed that he’d be voicing Spike in the Super Mario Bros. movie earlier this year, now we know who’ll be making up our main lineup of characters. Having already looked at social media a bit, it’s good to know I’m not alone in being surprised that Chris Pratt was tapped to play Mario, but this’ll add another entry on his list of voice acting bonafides, having previously participated in The LEGO Movie, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part and Onward. And while Super Mario Bros. will mark Anya Taylor-Joy’s first animated movie, she does have some voice acting experience under her belt from the Netflix series The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance.

Behind the scenes, the animated Super Mario Bros. movie, which was first announced in 2017, will be directed by Teen Titans Go! To the Movies duo Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic, while Minions: The Rise of Gru’s Matthew Vogel wrote the script. Illumination founder Chris Meledandri and Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of the Mario franchise, are attached as producers. Here’s what Meledandri had to say about the project in a statement (via THR):

Mario and Luigi are two of the most beloved heroes in all of popular culture, and we are honored to have the unique opportunity to work so closely with Shigeru Miyamoto and the widely imaginative team at Nintendo to bring these characters to life in an animated movie, unlike any film Illumination has made to date.

As of right now, no plot details for Super Mario Bros. have been revealed, although like the classic Mario games, I imagine Princess Peach being kidnapped by Bowser will come into play, and Kamek will be among his many minions. It’s also interesting to see that Donkey Kong will appear in the movie, as he’s been part of Mario’s history since the beginning, with his 1981 arcade game seeing Mario (previously known as Jumpman) trying to rescue his then-girlfriend Pauline from the gorilla. Nowadays these two usually just cross paths in “event” games like Super Smash Bros., Mario Party and Mario Kart, so the fact that both Donkey Kong and Cranky Kong are showing up has me wondering if this movie will pave the way for a spinoff to more deeply explore the Kong side of the Nintendo universe.

Illumination’s Super Mario Bros. movie arrives in North American theaters on December 21, 2022. Learn what other movies come out next year in our 2022 release schedule.

Adam Holmes

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.