Nintendo Games Illumination Should Adapt For TV

A split image of Little Mac for Punch-Out!! for the Wii, Mario from the Super Mario Bros. Movie, and Link from The Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom

With the Super Mario Bros. Movie achieving incredible success, many fans are already thinking about what Nintendo property Illumination will adapt to film next. With Mario being such a hit, it’s only natural that Nintendo and Illumination will want to continue their partnership. But perhaps their best next step isn’t a movie, but a TV series.

RELATED: 10 Things The Super Mario Bros. Movie Needs To Change For The Sequel

Shows like Castlevania and The Last of Us have proven that Video Games can absolutely work when adapted to television. Perhaps their biggest advantage is that they can tell longer stories over time without feeling rushed. With that in mind, there are a few Nintendo properties that would be perfect for a TV series.



10 Earthbound

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Known as Mother 2 in Japan, Earthbound feels like a Steven Spielbergian family adventure taken to ridiculous extremes. A young boy named Ness discovers an alien crash-landed outside his small hometown, which sets him off on a sprawling adventure. Earthbound is beloved for being silly, but also shockingly dark.

Ness’ journey takes him to a variety of locales where he fights strange creatures and meets weird and wonderful characters. The sillier aspects of the game would be a perfect match for Illumination, but its large scope would be hard to fit into a two-hour movie. By making an Earthbound TV series, Illumination is sure to make a crowd-pleasing show that doesn’t omit any beloved content.

9 Splatoon

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Eight Inklings and Octolings with yellow and purple hair in a city getting ready to fight in Splatoon 3.

On the surface, Splatoon would be a great fit for a movie. It’s a game about fashionable anthropomorphic squid-kids participating in what essentially boils down to extreme paintball. While that sounds like a solid blank canvas for a feature film, and it very well could be, there’s a lot more to work with.

RELATED: 10 Changes Splatoon 3 Needs To Make

Digging into Splatoon’s single-player modes reveals a wealth of lore and a surprisingly complex story with dark themes. Splatoon is a rare property that could work as either a simple sports story or a more epic adventure. If Illumination chooses to do the latter, a TV series would give it the breathing room it needs.

8 Star Fox

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Considering Star Fox’s premise, it’s a little surprising that it’s one of the few Nintendo properties that hasn’t been given a TV series yet. Set in a sci-fi world populated by anthropomorphic animals, Star Fox follows the eponymous team of mercenaries as they battle the forces of evil in their Arwing starfighters.

If done right, a good adaptation should feel like Star Wars mixed with Top Gun and Zootopia. While a movie adaptation is sure to do well, a TV series is more likely to live up to the game’s potential. The games are filled with diverse planets, enemies, and bosses that all have more of a chance of being seen in a series.

7 Animal Crossing

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>The main character surrounded by villagers on Animal Crossing New Horizons cover art.

One of Nintendo’s most popular series, Animal Crossing is probably the biggest blank slate for an original story. The games star a human who builds a new life in a village inhabited solely by anthropomorphic animals. In essence, it’s a slice-of-life anime turned into a game.

With this in mind, a TV series is likely to suit Animal Crossing better than a movie. The episodic nature of the format will perfectly reflect the day-to-day nature of the games. It’s the best possible way to capture Animal Crossing’s satisfying progression of time without feeling rushed.

6 Fire Emblem

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Fire Emblem Awakening key art featuring Chrom and co. leaping into battle.

Fire Emblem is a series where each entry is purely self-contained, meaning Illumination could pick any game to adapt. Regardless of their choice, Illumination should adapt Fire Emblem with caution. Not only is it arguably Nintendo’s second-darkest franchise, but it would be a terrible match for a film format.

RELATED: 10 Easiest Fire Emblem Games, Ranked

Fans love Fire Emblem games for their long, complex stories and large casts of memorable characters. Even if a studio were to trim the fat, there is still a lot of content to fit even into a three-hour movie. A TV series is also an easier fit with the episodic way the games divide up their campaigns.

5 Kirby

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Promo art for Kirby: Return to Dreamland Deluxe.

With its smaller cast of characters and seemingly simple plot, Kirby would doubtlessly make an excellent animated film. The franchise is radiating with cuteness and humor that would suit Illumination’s style perfectly. However, there is more lurking below the surface that would make giving Kirby a second TV series a better choice.

The Kirby franchise is filled with lore, and the internet is filled with theories about how it is actually a horror game in disguise. Most final bosses in the series end up being eldritch monstrosities or dark Gods with fascinating histories. While it’s unlikely that Illumination will go as dark as some fan theories, a TV series will give them more space to explore this lore.

4 F-Zero

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>F-Zero GX Box art

F-Zero is perhaps the Nintendo franchise most in need of a comeback. Most Nintendo fans have been clamoring for a new game for decades, but no one would be sad if it received an adaptation. Though F-Zero has had an animated series in the past, giving it another one is the best way to capture the full experience.

The futuristic world of F-Zero is absolutely huge. Not only does it have one of the largest casts of any Nintendo game, but those characters consist of bounty hunters, criminals, superheroes, pop stars, and robots. With such a deep and rich world, F-Zero deserves a lengthy TV series to make sure no beloved element gets left behind.

3 Punch-Out!!

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With Punch-Out!! having an easter egg in the Super Mario Bros. Movie, many fans have anticipated it to be the next property to get an adaptation. Since it’s essentially a boxing story filled with cartoony, slapstick humor, it would be a natural fit with Illumination’s style. However, a TV series would best fit with the vibe of Punch-Out!!

In the games, players take on the role of underdog Little Mac. He defies the odds by slowly fighting his way through a gauntlet of wacky boxers until he becomes the reigning champ. A TV series would be better at showing this slow and steady climb, and make it feel all the more satisfying when Mac reaches the top.

2 Metroid

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Samus Aran sticking a superhero landing in Metroid Dread

Metroid is arguably Nintendo’s darkest and scariest property and would require a vastly different approach from the Super Mario Bros. Movie. Even ignoring the necessary stark contrast in tone, Samus Aran’s often terrifying journeys can be lengthy. Even after trimming the fat, a TV series is probably Illumination’s best bet.

RELATED: 10 Mistakes That Still Haunt Metroid

It’s unrealistic to expect every single enemy or set piece from the game to make it into an adaptation. However, no fan wants to see their favorite moments from the games reduced to a quick scene in a montage. A series would give Illumination the room to capture every thrilling moment the fans have been fantasizing about.

1 The Legend Of Zelda

<!–[if IE 9]> <![endif]–>Link scouts the horizon in The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

As arguably Nintendo’s second most popular franchise, The Legend of Zelda is the one fans are most expecting to see adapted next. And with the Mario movie doing so well, adapting Zelda as a film seems like a no-brainer. But to fully capture everything fans love about this iconic series, a TV show is the most appropriate option.

Almost every Legend of Zelda game sends players on a sprawling quest across Hyrule, where they delve into vast dungeons and fight iconic bosses. In order to accurately represent the scope of these adventures, an adaptation is going to take much longer than two hours.

NEXT: 15 Best Nintendo Franchises, Ranked


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