You might think the story of Super Mario and the Super Mario galaxy is interesting enough. Mario, a plumber, is tasked with saving Princess Peach from the clutches of the evil Bowser, king of the Koopas—a race of black magic-wielding turtles. And that’s just the quick synopsis of his time in the Super Mario world.
With some help from familiar faces including Donkey Kong, Dr. Mario, and King Boo, the Mario series has seen its fair share of exciting adventures.
Yet, as with any tale that has legions of enthusiasts, Mario’s story has been picked apart. Some fans think there are hidden secrets in Mario games. They’ve come up with theories that go beyond the main storylines and turn the Mushroom Kingdom on its head.
Now, let’s look at some of those Mario theories that range from fun and plausible to bonkers.
#1 All the World’s a Stage (Especially Super Mario Bros. 3)
This one’s for the dramaturges out there. Theater people are nothing if not committed, and this theory holds that Mario and friends are just theater kids at heart.
In fact, they’re such theater lovers that all aspects of the Super Mario Bros. 3 video game are just a play that they’re putting on to relive past glories. If that sounds wild at first, let’s look at some of the evidence that supports this Mario universe theory:
- curtain rises – Do you remember how Super Mario Bros. 3 starts? We begin with a closed, red stage curtain, which then lifts to “start the show.” If that doesn’t scream Broadway, what does?
- Thrown together sets – Look at the background of the worlds Mario is adventuring through and you might see something strange. They all appear hastily built, almost temporary. Platforms have visible screws bolting them in. Many objects cast shadows on the “sky” behind them. One could argue that the whole thing looks more like a set than a world.
- Hanging platforms – Many of the platforms are shown hanging, supported by cables that seem to drop from the heavens. Any crew member can tell you that if you look up in a theater, you’ll see a large grid that would be possible to hang things from. Go outside and you’ll find no such grid in the sky.
- Exit to the wings – As each level ends, Mario finishes by exiting into a black void separated from the rest of the world. It’s almost like the end of a set with Mario exiting into the wings.
- The creator confirmed it – Maybe none of this has you convinced, but the man who created Mario, Shigeru Miyamoto, confirmed this theory in a video posted to Twitter in 2015. While he doesn’t speak, the question is posed if Super Mario Bros. 3 was a performance and Mr. Miyamoto nods his head in confirmation.
This theory can also be brought into other games in the Super Mario world citing evidence like the camera crew in Super Mario 64 to show that none of the Super Mario Bro games are real except the first. Mario is just trying to relive his past glory through elaborate role-playing games of his own.
#2 Mario is the Real Evil
Mario is a hero trying to thwart Bowser and the Koopas’ evil plans…right? One game theory from fans flips challenges what we think we know, claiming that Mario isn’t the lovable character we think he is, but a power-hungry maniac rampaging through the Mushroom Kingdom.
What’s the evidence in favor of this theory? Let’s take a look:
- The bad guys…juggle hammers? – What exactly are all the “bad” guys in Super Mario actually doing? The goombas are just walking around. The hammer buddies seem to be juggling or playing catch. No one seems all that interested in Mario at all until he comes along and jumps on their heads. Who’s the real aggressor here?
- Mario is a world-destroyer – If the Koopas aren’t bad, then how can we justify what Mario does to them? He steals their coins, wrecks their castles, and deposes their king. Looking at things from their perspective, maybe they should be throwing those hammers at him.
- The ‘hero’ is no friend to mushrooms – Okay, you’re probably figuring Mario is doing all this on behalf of the Mushroom People. The Koopas attacked them, and he’s their ally. But there’s one small hitch there. In the instructions to the first game, it says that part of the Koopas’ magic turned the mushroom people into stones and bricks. Bricks. You know, like the hundreds of bricks Mario destroys during the game. Could they have been Mushroom people all along?
Maybe you’re still not convinced. Sure, something seems weird, but Mario couldn’t be the bad guy. Well, maybe you’re right. Maybe the true evil lies elsewhere, which leads us to fan theory number 3…
#3 Princess Peach is Behind it All
We all know Princess Peach and her role in the Mario franchise. This character is the daughter of the Mushroom King, always adorned in pink and always being kidnapped, thus requiring Mario’s help to save her. But does she actually need him? Let’s look at the evidence:
- We only hear one side of the story – Bowser has his own kingdom. What does he want with the Mushroom Kingdom? We’re told that Bowser and King Koopa invade, but we’re never given the reason why. We only hear Peach’s side of things, and yet we’re supposed to believe that’s all there is.
- Peach has power – Peach is kidnapped by Bowser, though, right? That may be how the story goes, but the specifics are vague. As we learn in later games, Peach is a formidable force in her own right, so how does she keep getting kidnapped? Perhaps, she’s allowing it to happen to achieve her own goals.
- Peach could have ulterior motives – Why would Peach let herself be kidnapped? Well, maybe she sees the big picture. She makes it appear as though she’s kidnapped. This pits Bowser and Mario against each other and lets Mario do the dirty work of taking out most of her enemies, leaving a power vacuum that Peach will then fill. She’s been the evil genius all along!
#4 Dr. Mario, Lost at Birth
Okay, enough heavy theories where good guys are really bad guys. Let’s look at one that’s a bit more lighthearted. We all love the Mario brothers, right? Mario, Luigi…and Dr. Mario? While most of us probably assume Dr. Mario is just Mario trying out a new profession, one theory holds that Dr. Mario is in fact the third Mario brother. The evidence here is pretty simple:
- They both appear in one game – Both characters appear in Super Smash Bros. Melee—a tough trick if they’re the same guy.
- They look different – Doctor Mario is a little paunchier than Mario and sports lighter hair.
- Where’d the doctor come from? – Mario never shows any medical skills during the main game. Wouldn’t those come in handy while fighting the Koopa—more than plumbing skills, at least?
Mario, Luigi, and Doctor Mario. It’s a fun theory. And no matter how many times Mario and Luigi save the kingdom, you can bet their family still brags about their doctor brother more.
#5 Wario: Just a Misunderstood Fan
We can all get a little carried away when we try to emulate our heroes. While the official backstory of Wario in the instructions for Super Mario Land 2 deems Wario an arch-rival who has been jealous of our favorite plumber since childhood, maybe that’s all just misunderstood fandom. The facts to support this include:
- Keeping your enemy’s statue – If Wario hates Mario so much, why does he have a huge statue of him at his estate which we see in Super Mario Land 2? It is stated that this used to be Mario’s castle and that Wario chose to keep the statue. That sounds more like the behavior of a fan than an arch-rival.
- Nice outfit – If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, well, look no further than Wario’s fashion sense. The colors may be different but the overalls, hat, and mustache look sure do seem familiar.
- Other games – Future games feature Wario on his own adventures and introduce us to his “brother” Waluigi. It’s like he’s trying to recreate Mario’s life. Sounds like Wario doesn’t need to be defeated so much as he needs to find a good therapist to help him get over his hero worship.
Show Your Fandom with CultureFly
The fun thing about Mario theories like these is that they get you thinking about your favorite things in different ways. Because when you’re a fan of something like Mario, you want to be able to engage with that fandom in as many ways as possible (just don’t go down the Wario path). One way to do this is to have some Super Mario gift ideas on hand, for either yourself or a superfan you know.
One way to revisit your favorite stories is via the collector’s boxes from CultureFly. Our boxes are full of goodies—from pint glasses to beanies and more—that will show off your fandom. Because we’re fans, too, we handcraft each box with items we know you’ll love.
Our Mario box is a great way to celebrate the theories and keep the nostalgia of the Mario series alive. Filled with collectible items from the Mario franchise, everyone fan will love this box.
If you want to keep the fun coming, our quarterly subscription boxes can be delivered to your door four times a year. Our fan theory? You’ll love having something new to look forward to while you wait for the next Mario game to drop.
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Nintendo. Mario Through the Years. https://mario.nintendo.com/history/
WhatCulture. 10 Best Super Mario Fan Theories That Explain Everything. https://whatculture.com/gaming/10-best-super-mario-fan-theories-that-explain-everything
Twitter. NintendoUK Tweet. https://twitter.com/NintendoUK/status/641929274719608832?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
Execulink. The Most Interesting Super Mario Fan Theories. https://www.execulink.ca/blog/the-most-interesting-super-mario-fan-theories/
The Gamer. 24 Super Mario Fan Theories (That Are Too Good To Be True). https://www.thegamer.com/super-mario-fan-theories-too-good/