The Super Mario Movie Features A Redesigned Donkey Kong, Shigeru Miyamoto Says

This marks the character's first redesign since he made the jump from two dimensions to three.


Donkey Kong is one of the very oldest video game characters. Born in 1981, Donkey Kong is what some might call a geriatric millennial. For the upcoming Super Mario Bros. Movie, he received his first redesign in almost 30 years for the movie, said creator Shigeru Miyamoto in the latest Nintendo Direct dedicated to the film.

This trailer gives us a clearer look at Mario and Luigi, and our first look at Donkey Kong himself, who will be voiced by actor Seth Rogen in the film.

"It's been over 40 years since the release of the original Donkey Kong game, which was also my debut title. We've also changed his design for the first time since he became a 3D model in the original Donkey Kong Country game," Miyamoto said in comments directly after the trailer. At a glance, Donkey Kong looks quite familiar. Just like the version seen in Donkey Kong Country, he's a big ape wearing a bright red tie with his initials in yellow letters--it's hardly a reimagining for the character. Even the font on the tie is the same.

So what's different?

"Some of you may have noticed, but for this movie, we've seized the opportunity to give him a comical personality and design reminiscent of the original character," Miyamoto said. Miyamoto doesn't elaborate on what exactly that means, but our guess is that the focus is on DK's eyes. In the Donkey Kong Country iteration, Donkey Kong has a more angular brow and eyes befitting an action game mascot, while the movie version of DK has bigger eyes and a more rounded brow. His fur is also a slightly lighter shade.

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In addition to Rogen's Donkey Kong, the Super Mario Bros. Movie stars Chris Pratt as the voice of Mario, Anya Taylor-Joy as Princess Peach, and Charlie Day as Luigi. We'll also see Jack Black as Bowser, Keegan-Michael Key as Toad, Fred Armisen as Cranky Kong, Kevin Michael Richardson as Kamek, and Sebastian Maniscalo as Spike. Longtime Mario voice actor Charles Martinet will also have a cameo in the movie. The Super Mario Bros. Movie hits theaters on April 7, 2023.

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