Skip to main content

The Super Mario Bros. Movie almost featured Daisy and Birdo

And a very different Bowser

Nintendo and Illumination’s record-smashing Super Mario Bros. Movie was almost a very different video game movie, one with Daisy, Birdo, and even Bowser Jr. Freelance director and artist Jed Diffenderfer recently uploaded some of his Mario movie concept art, and it looks like the original vision also included Toadsworth and Toadette, along with a Mushroom Kingdom school story (thanks, Eurogamer).

Diffenderfer worked with Illumination on Minions projects in the past and contributed to Disney and Pixar productions, including Wreck-It Ralph and an unannounced Pixar project.

One of the concept art pieces shows teenaged Daisy and Peach in a school hallway under a banner that reads “Mushroom Prom,” while Bowser Jr. – old enough for high school, evidently – walks away with a dejected expression and a withered bouquet of Fire Flowers. Birdo, Shy Guys, and other Mario staples are pointing and laughing at him.

A piece of Mario Bros. Movie concept art showing teenaged Peach and Daisy rejecting Bowser Jr at school

Aw, poor Bowser

Presumably, this rejection explains why Bowser despises Mario and tries kidnapping Peach again and again, and I’m really glad this vision didn’t make it to the final movie. It’s a terrible cliche.

Another early piece of art depicts a large-scale conflict with Super Mario enemies of all stripes battling the Mushroom Kingdom’s finest, including Toadsworth and a rather deranged-looking Daisy. It even looks like King Boo is sitting atop Bowser’s Castle. Maybe for a Luigi-themed sequel, eh?

Anyway, Diffenderfer said the concept art dates from 2018-2020, so these were all very early in the storyboarding process. The final movie axed Daisy, King Boo, Birdo, and even Yoshi, who turned up in the battle concept. Bowser is just Bowser - with a darn good singing voice - and its version of Princess Peach is definitely not the kind of person who’d make little turtle men cry at school.