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Nintendo’s apparently real Mario movie stars Chris Pratt, Jack Black

Anya Taylor-Joy will play Peach, with Charlie Day as Luigi

super mario party group shot Image: Nd Cube/Nintendo
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Nintendo's feature-length animated Mario movie is coming Dec. 21, 2022, in the United States, Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto announced during Thursday’s Nintendo Direct. Timing elsewhere will be announced later. Oh yes, and the movie will star Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy), Anya Taylor-Joy (The Queen’s Gambit), and Jack Black (School of Rock).

The full voice cast feels absolutely surreal, with Pratt and Taylor-Joy starring as Mario and Princess Peach, respectively. Charlie Day (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) will play Mario’s “timid sibling” — as Miyamoto put it — Luigi, with Black as Bowser, Keegan-Michael Key as Toad, Seth Rogan (Superbad) as ... Donkey Kong, Kevin Michael Richardson (Teen Titans) as Kamek, Fred Armisen (Portlandia) as Cranky Kong, and Sebastian Maniscalco (Green Book) as Spike.

Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong Image: Nintendo

Charles Martinet, the voice actor who has played Mario, Luigi, and Waluigi, among others, is also involved in the animated film, Miyamoto said. We’ll all be very upset if Wario is not in the animated film. (Martinet has, of course, voiced Wario, too.)

Nintendo is producing the Mario movie with Illumination Entertainment, which is known for its work on Despicable Me, Minions, and The Secret Life of Pets. Illumination CEO Chris Meledandri is co-producing the movie alongside Miyamoto. The partnership between Nintendo and Illumination was first reported by The Wall Street Journal in 2017, but confirmed by Nintendo in 2018. Universal Pictures is expected to distribute the film.

Nintendo hasn’t released a major feature-length film since 1993’s ... controversial ... live-action Super Mario Bros. movie that starred Bob Hoskins, Dennis Hopper and John Leguizamo. Decades after Super Mario Bros. was released, director Rocky Morton called the experience making the movie “harrowing” and pure hell. It’s safe to say the 2022 animated film doesn’t have high bar to clear.