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NBC Insider The Super Mario Bros. Movie

If The Mario Bros. Are Really Brothers, Are Their Full Names 'Mario Mario' And 'Luigi Mario'?

Let's clear this up before The Super Mario Bros. Movie comes through the pipe on April 5.

By Brian Silliman
Mario and Luigi in the Mario Bros Movie

Trouble in the Mushroom Kingdom? No problem, just call a plumber! Mario ... something.

Come to think of it, what is this gaming legend's first name? That is a question fans have pondered ever since the Mario Bros. first hit the gaming world in 1983.

The famous Mario and Luigi will soon come to sparkling animated life in The Super Mario Bros. Movie on April 5, reigniting ongoing questions and conspiracies about Mario’s (and by extension, Luigi's) full name. So the time has come to ask, once again: What is the deal with Mario’s name? And if the supposed "Mario Bros." only go by one of the supposed brothers' names, does that really make them brothers?

A Mystery In The Making: Mario Mario?

Mario himself was first created by Shigeru Miyamoto for Donkey Kong in 1981. He was referred to as "Jumpman" with no Mario moniker in sight. That would come when Miyamoto took the character, gave him a fraternal twin brother, and launched him into plumbing adventures. Questions about his full name have persisted ever since. 

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Let us examine what we do know. Mario and Luigi are brothers. They will be played in the new movie by Chris Pratt and Charlie Day. The true voice of Mario for gamers everywhere is Charles Martinet, who gave life to two of Mario’s catchphrases: “Let’s-a-go!” and “It’s-a-me, it’s-a-Mario.”

Because of this, we know that the man self-identifies as “Mario.” That’s what everyone calls him. His brother goes by the name “Luigi.” Simple enough, right? Wrong.

Whether they are “super” or not, these two (together) are called the “Mario Brothers.” This is where complications, questions, and conspiracies abound. 

Is “Mario” the brothers' last name? That would make Mario’s full name “Mario Mario” and it would make Luigi’s name “Luigi Mario.” That’s a little Koopa-kooky, but that’s exactly the choice that was made in the 1993 live-action movie Super Mario Bros. in which Bob Hoskins played Mario Mario and John Leguizamo played Luigi Mario.

Can we leave it there? Absolutely not. Despite the involvement of the brilliant Hoskins and Leguizamo, the 1993 movie doesn’t necessarily hold all of the answers.

Maybe It's Not That Deep

There’s the possibility that Mario goes by his last name exclusively while Luigi goes by his first. So Mario doesn’t have two of the same name, it's just that everyone (including himself) calls him by his last name, akin to people referring to, say, "President Abraham Lincoln” as just “Lincoln.”

"It’s-a-me, it’s-a-Lincoln!"

What’s Mario’s first name in this hypothetical? It could be anything. Robert Mario. Abraham Mario. Natasha Mario, Constantine Mario, Qui-Gon Mario ... the possibilities are endless.

The word "Super" might not be a description — it could be the first name. Perhaps the brothers' overzealous mother wanted everyone to know he was Super, so she made it his name. Luigi's name is still an issue here, though, because "Super Luigi" is not a thing.

Luigi's agency is always taken away by forcing the “Mario” name umbrella on him. If it’s not their actual last name, then Luigi is seriously getting the short shrift.

But, let's be honest, Mario may not be behind this. The ones who write the material may be at fault. Luigi is always an afterthought, and Mario is the Player 1 default. They are the Mario Bros. (not "Mario and Luigi: The Brothers") because who cares about the guy who wears green? Sure he can jump, but what has he done for us lately?

Why not look at what some of the game creators have said over the years? What a novel idea. 

Do Experts Have The Answer?

OG Mario voice actor Martinet supposedly answered the question at San Diego Comic-Con in 2012, saying that the character’s name was “Mario Mario.” The CEO of Nintendo at the time, Satoru Iwata, did not agree. In an interview with Kotaku, he stated that the character had no last name.

Miyamoto agreed with this stance. He said as much to Game Informer, adding that the whole “Mario Mario” thing had become confused because of what the 1993 movie did.

OK, so if Mario has no last name (and Luigi doesn’t either), we’re back to Luigi getting the shaft. He jumps around and gets the occasional haunted mansion spin-off game, but his name isn’t listed on the company letterhead. It’s-only-a-he, it’s-only-a-Mario.

Thus it was, for a time, Miyamoto confirmed that Mario was a one-named star. Jackée. Zendaya. Mario.

Not for long! Miyamoto reversed his position after Iwata died. As part of a festival celebrating 30 years of Mario in 2015, he banged the gavel and announced, once and for all, that the hero plumber’s full name was “Mario Mario” after all. He’s a hero so nice they named him twice.

It’s weird, but so is a plumber using flower power to shoot fire out of his hands and flying into bricks with a magical raccoon tail. It’s a better name than Jumpman. 

Perhaps his true name is “Mario Jumpman Mario.” If the new movie makes any kind of reference to any of this, we’ll be delighted.

For now, the names of the brothers are "Mario Mario" and "Luigi Mario." Such is the will of Miyamoto. 

The Super Mario Bros. Movie emerges from Warp Zone on April 5. Let’s-a-go! Tickets are now available for purchase on Fandango.