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Super Mario Bros. Breaks A Surprising Donkey Kong Trend

With its use of Donkey Kong, The Super Mario Bros. Movie is breaking a surprising trend. In addition to providing a big-screen adventure for Mario, Luigi, and Princess Peach, the upcoming animated film will also feature characters from Nintendo’s Donkey Kong games. Voiced by Seth Rogen, Donkey Kong is shaping up to be a key player in The Super Mario Bros. Movie’s story.


The Super Mario Bros. Movie will mark Donkey Kong’s big-screen debut. Usually portrayed as a silent, super-strong ape, Donkey Kong will be reworked to fit an animated adventure movie. As for where he fits into the bigger picture, it seems he’ll get to at least have at one fight with Mario, with whom he clashed in their very first game. However, it seems any rivalry they form will be short-lived. Marketing confirms Donkey Kong and the residents of his island home will join forces with Mario for the battle with Bowser and his Koopa army.

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Donkey Kong’s Fire Flower Upgrade Is A Franchise First

Super Mario Bros Movie Donkey Kong Mario

The final trailer for The Super Mario Bros. Movie confirms a major change to how Donkey Kong is handled. In the footage, the character can be seen getting a fiery upgrade after activating the fire flower. For a character like Mario or Luigi, such a moment would be par for the course, but for Donkey Kong, it’s unchartered territory. Power-ups like the fire flower are an iconic part of Mario’s games that goes back decades, but that’s never been the case with the Donkey Kong franchise. Traditionally, Donkey Kong and his allies don’t use items to give themselves special abilities.

He doesn’t get the special mushrooms, fire flowers, and other power-ups that Mario gets because these characters have occupied different franchises since the early 1990s. The role played by power-ups in the Donkey Kong franchise is filled by rideable animals like Rambi the Rhino, which can be reached while clearing a level. The only situations where Donkey Kong can get the fire flower and similar power-ups are in games like Super Smash Bros. or Mario Kart, where Super Mario Bros. power-ups are available to virtually every character on hand. Crossovers, of course, aren’t canon with any of the universes featured in the games.

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Super Mario Bros. Movie’s Donkey Kong Change Makes Him More Powerful

Mario and Donkey Kong in the Super Mario Bros. Movie

By bringing the respective worlds of Mario and Donkey Kong, The Super Mario Bros. Movie has an opportunity to take Donkey Kong in multiple directions he’s never gone before. If he can use the fire flower, he should be able to use other classic power-ups and weapons as well, including Bob-ombs, Koopa shells, and the mushroom that changes Mario’s size. If some of these items are used in combination with Donkey Kong’s strength and agility, he could easily be the most powerful character in the movie.

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