Nearly 25 years after Hollywood’s first baffling attempt at bringing video games’ most iconic figure to the big screen, Universal is reportedly in talks with Nintendo to give this whole “Super Mario Bros. movie” thing another shot. Today, The Wall Street Journal published a story claiming Universal’s Illumination Entertainment, the production company responsible for bringing the Minions into this world, is “close to an agreement” with the Japanese gaming giant that would let them make an animated Mario movie. According to one of the Journal’s sources, the company is currently planning for a single movie, but the deal would allow Illumination to produce more in the future.
Although it has shied away from licensing out its game characters ever since the first Mario movie debacle, Nintendo executives have repeatedly said the company is now more open to looking for media partners, including Hollywood studios. But as one might imagine given Nintendo’s penchant for micro-management and overwhelming polish, The Journal reports the game maker isn’t exactly eager to hand over full control of its biggest star, noting that “making the Japanese videogame company feel confident it will be involved enough in the creative process” has been the biggest hurdle in negotiations. The story also reports Shigeru Miyamoto, Mario’s creator and Nintendo’s most famous developer, has been involved in the talks and “likely will be a producer on the movie.”
Nintendo and Universal do already have a working relationship; the two companies have teamed up to bring amusements based on Nintendo’s games to theme parks around the world. It’s worth noting, however, that this is the same outlet—and one of the same journalists—who reported two years ago that Netflix was developing a live-action Legend Of Zelda series. That deal, if it were ever in talks at all, never materialized, and the late Satoru Iwata, then Nintendo’s president, denied the rumor.