Why isn’t Bowser kidnapping Peach in the Super Mario Bros. Movie trailer?

By Kieran Burt
Published: November 30, 2022 (Last updated: December 28, 2023)

Why isn’t Bowser kidnapping Peach in the Super Mario Bros. Movie trailer? This article discusses why Bowser isn’t at his traditional kidnapping antics and what this means for the film. 

The official trailer for the Super Mario Bros. Movie is out, and it shows the full scale of Nintendo’s latest attempt to make the franchise a successful film. The animation for the film looks amazing, just like it’s taken straight from the video game, and Bowser is showing the full depth of his villainy, threatening to rip off Luigi’s mustache for not telling him where Mario is.

The trailer also shows Bowser’s motivation for the film, which has changed significantly from the games. This change is likely due to modern influences on the film but nonetheless stands out in a trailer full of Easter Eggs and call-backs to the franchise.

What’s Bowser’s motivation in the Super Mario Bros. Movie trailer?

The two trailers for the Super Mario Bros. Movie have shown why Bowser is going around and taking over the worlds inside the Mario universe. The first trailer shows Bowser destroying somewhere that’s likely inspired by Cool Cool Mountain in Super Mario 64, as he takes a Super Star from their castle. He exclaims that he’s finally found it and that no one can stop him.

In the latest trailer, Bowser explains to Luigi that he’s looking to rule the world and take over the different areas in the universe. It seems as though Bowser needs the powers from the Super Star to do this. In the Mario games, the Super Star power-up makes the user temporarily invincible, but this might be reworked for the film.

This is a huge change from the typical conflict in the Mario world. In the Super Mario Bros. games, Bowser kidnaps Princess Peach at the start, and Mario goes on a journey to find her. The movie will be avoiding this altogether, with Peach joining Mario on his adventure to stop Bowser.

Why isn’t Bowser kidnapping Peach in the Super Mario Bros. Movie trailer?

The departure from the games is probably to avoid criticism for woman-based conflict, commonly known as fridging. This term was coined in 1999 as a group of feminist writers noticed a reoccurring plot element in superhero comics, as women would often get killed, captured, or otherwise hurt to motivate the male lead. The trope is named after the 1994 Green Lantern comic where it first originated, where Green Lantern’s girlfriend is murdered and stuffed in a fridge early in the issue to motivate Green Lantern.

Peach has been kidnapped a total of 24 times in the Mario franchise, and Mario and Luigi have had to save her every time. When looked at this way, a compelling argument can be made that Peach is constantly fridged to motivate her male lover Mario. It’s probable that Nintendo wanted to motivate their characters in a different way and give Peach a more active role than just being locked up in Bowser’s castle.

This can be seen in the trailer, with Mario, Peach, and Toad going off together to fight Bowser. Peach takes a huge pike axe in the trailer and later gets the firepower up, likely to use against Bowser’s Koopa army.

What happened in Super Mario Odyssey?

Super Mario Odyssey, the latest Super Mario game released in 2017, had a controversial take on the Bowser-Peach kidnapping. Here, Mario has to stop a forced marriage between Peach and Bowser. This changed the fun tone of the game into something much darker and took the kidnapping concept too far for a kids’ game.

The ending of the game also caused some controversy. After Mario defeats the final boss, the final cutscene shows both Mario and Bowser proposing to Peach with flowers. Clearly flustered, Peach rejects them both, steals Mario’s ship, and flees. This caused Nintendo to be accused of being overly feminist by some, as they thought it gave Peach too much agency.

While the ending did empower Peach, the game mostly treated Peach in a stereotypical way and went further by including a forced marriage element. Avoiding this seems to be the major reason why Bowser isn’t kidnapping Peach upcoming, pushing forward the agency Peach got at the end of Super Mario Odyssey.

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