Here’s why the titular characters didn’t return for Super Mario Bros 2. The original Super Mario Bros made history as the first video game to movie adaptation, which took the classic Nintendo franchise to the big screen. Sadly, it also set the tone for the subgenre, with the movie having little in common with its source material and being, well, pretty bad. The movie’s directing team Rocky Morton and Annabel Jankel largely ditched the colorful antics of the games for a dingy, Blade Runner-inspired look and the movie famously suffered through a hellish production that saw it go through constant rewrites.
After actors like Danny DeVito and Cheech Marin passed on the role, the great Bob Hoskins took on the Mario role while John Leguizamo played Luigi. Following Super Mario Bros, other video game adaptations like Street Fighter with Jean-Claude Van Damme and 1995’s Mortal Kombat came along. Expect for Mortal Kombat and a handful of other examples in the years since the video game movie genre has a bad habit of producing duds and has yet to produce a true classic.
That said, Super Mario Bros has earned a genuine cult fanbase since its release, thanks to its great cast and unique tone. It also ended on a cliffhanger, so why didn’t Super Mario Bros 2 happen?
Money talks in Hollywood and the most straight forward reason for Super Mario Bros 2 not happening is the reception to the first movie. In addition to generally negative reviews, it grossed less than its production budget and while there were no clear plans for where the Daisy cliffhanger would lead, a follow-up was quickly scrapped.
The failure of Super Mario Bros led to Nintendo withholding the live-action movie rights to their properties for over 20 years, which was only recently broken with 2019’s Detective Pikachu.
Given the failure of the original, the odds of Super Mario Bros 2 appeared extremely bleak. That’s until the editors of the Super Mario Bros fansite teamed with one of the movie’s co-writers Parker Bennett to create a fan comic that picks up from the ending, and finds Mario and Luigi heading back to Dinohattan. For those who enjoyed the movie, the comic is worth seeking out.
While legacy sequels are a popular thread in Hollywood, the odds of a Super Mario Bros 2 happening are close to zero. The movie is still regarded as a major bomb and while it has a devoted fanbase, that wouldn’t be enough to convince either Nintendo or a major studio to bet on a belated follow-up.
Added to that is the fact Bob Hoskins passed away in 2014, meaning Super Mario Bros 2 is practically an impossibility. An animated movie reboot of the franchise is currently in development and is currently on course for a 2022 release.