How Wreck-It Ralph Gets To Use All Those Famous Video Game Characters & Why Mario Was Left Out
Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph is a veritable who’s-who of video game history. We saw several classic characters in the first trailer and a few more (heroes and villains) in the second trailer but one is conspicuously missing – Mario! You may be thinking it has something to do with property rights (and you’re not alone) but then why is Mario’s nemesis Bowser in the film and our favorite plumber is not? Producer Clark Spencer explains while revealing just how crazy video game companies are.
Spencer did an interview with Total Film in which they asked him why Mario doesn’t make an appearance.
“The hard thing was, we were trying to work out the right way to use a character like Mario. It had to be organic to the film, we didn’t want to just paste him in there,” he said. “For Bowser, it made perfect sense for him to be a member of the Bad Anon group. For Mario himself we couldn’t think of the right way to incorporate him into the film, and so we didn’t do it.”
But how did they go about approaching video game companies in the first place?
Rich [Moore, director] and I went to E3, and pitched the movie to all the different game companies, talking about the concept. What was great about that was we developed a one-on-one relationship [with the people at the game companies], and people warmed to the idea. So they felt like it could be something interesting, but they were still a little skeptical, as they were giving their own creative characters over to Wreck-It Ralph. And so we said we’d keep them involved in the process, and give them the script pages. We showed them the models, we showed them the early animation tests, and even the final animations. We brought them along the entire way, and it made companies willing to participate, because they felt like we were going to be true to their characters. As a result we got pretty much almost anything we wanted, because the companies started feeling the momentum and everybody pretty much said yes to us.
And in case you were wondering, no, utilizing the characters they were allowed to use in Wreck-It Ralph wasn’t as easy as hitting “start.”
“The games companies were very specific – there’s a scene in which Bowser drinks a cup of coffee, and they were very specific about how Bowser would drink coffee,” said Spencer. “The other thing that was fascinating to me was that all of the companies know how tall their characters are. There was lots of conversation about which character would be the biggest character in that Bad Anon scene. Even to the specifics of centimeters.”
But Spencer said all that input was actually helpful because they wanted to remain authentic.
He said, “We had a scene where we wanted the rings to come out of Sonic, and SEGA said the only way that happens is if he falls over, and we didn’t have him fall over in the scene, so we actually went back and re-animated it.”
I mean, come on, people, everyone knows that.