Did Nintendo Make Mario Too Expensive for the Wreck-It-Ralph Films?

MOVIE URBAN LEGEND: Mario did not appear in the Wreck-it-Ralph films because Nintendo charged too much for his licensing fee.

The hit Disney film, Wreck-It Ralph is about a video game villain who wants to get more respect than just being the bumbling villain of his game...

Ralph's "enemy" in his video game is a character named Fix-It Felix...

Felix is, of course, roughly based on probably the most famous video game hero of all-time, Mario, from Nintendo's Donkey Kong, Super Mario Bros. and, well, a gazillion different Mario-themed video games...

Wreck-It Ralph featured a number of cameos of famous video game characters, like Qbert...

However, in neither the original film nor the hit sequel, Ralph Breaks the Internet...

is there a cameo appearance by pretty much the most famous video game character around.

It was a glaring omission and one that fans quickly came up with reasons as to why he was kept out of the movies and the most common reason that people have come up with is that Nintendo charged Disney too much money for the licensing fee for the character. Even John C. Reilly, the actor who voices Ralph, suggested that Mario cost too much for the film. Mario's biggest enemy, Bowser, does appear in the film. One scene in the movie has a doorbell ring and Felix says, "I'll bet that's Mario. Fashionably late, per the norm."

However, directer Rich Moore and Clark Spencer claimed in an interview with Wired that the reason Mario was not in the film was more plot-driven, namely that they couldn't work out a good enough cameo for the character that would work for them AND also work for Nintendo. Moore noted, "We couldn't find the perfect way to put Mario into the film in a way that felt totally organic, where it served the story well and also kind of served the character of Mario in the eyes of Nintendo."

Obviously, a lot more goes into licensing a character for a film than just paying a fee. The other company has to approve of the cameo, as well, and it seems like they just couldn't come up with a good enough use of the character that they thought that Nintendo would approve. You don't want to just have Mario pop his head in and say "Hi!" and you also don't want to just treat him like a background character, either.

Moore elaborated even further to Digital Spy, ""Over the course of developing the story I was always looking for the perfect moment or scene to include Mario. But it had to be organic, it had to feel like [the scene] was made for him and unfortunately as we were developing the story and taking it to where it needed to go, that moment never made itself clear."

In that same Digital Spy interview, Moore also said, "If we're lucky enough to have a sequel then we'll create that moment that's perfect for [Mario]," but obviously that didn't work out, either, as Mario did not make it into the sequel.

Maybe if there's a third film!

The legend is...


Be sure to check out my archive of Movie Legends Revealed for more urban legends about the world of film.

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com.

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