Princess Peach has been a long staple of the Super Mario franchise.
The perennial damsel in distress has been kidnapped more times than we can count. Providing the basis for the multiple adventures in a franchise that’s admittedly short of story.
For some, it’s a plot device that’s grown tiresome and that represents an overuse of narrative cliches. There’s been increasing pressure on Nintendo since the mid-00s’ to switch up the beloved fairytale formula.
So far the Japanese gaming giant has remained quiet on the matter, or have they?
In a narrative nod more reminiscent of series like Pokemon or Kirby, Nintendo may have hidden a clue in plain sight.
A hint towards a future where they may be about to replace Princess Peach.
Why Replace Peach?
The first question we hear you asking is why switch up the timeless formula now after nearly 40 years? Well, quite simply because of the current climate. There has never been more pressure on the entertainment industry to adjust the representations of women.
Feminism has made real strides in the movie industry already with recent releases like Wonder Woman. We’re also starting to see greater diversity in action heroes in gaming. Popular series’ like Battlefield have moved to include female protagonists.
And that increased pressure could pose a problem for gaming’s greatest icon, Mario. The idea of a woman needing to be rescued is not offensive in itself, but the constant adherence to that model has created friction.
Nintendo as a company has always displayed a strong notion to avoid any political commentary in their games. Changing Peach now would go against that code of ethics which is something Nintendo is eager to avoid.
There is another option at their disposal though, to replace Peach with a stronger feminine role model.
Mario Odyssey and Super Mario Galaxy
We recently alluded to the fact that Nintendo could be about to introduce more cinematic storytelling. That would add a new level to Nintendo’s quality titles and move their games closer to the current industry standard.
And what better way to kick off a new narrative era than by displacing an old classic. Mario Odyessy is probably the most cinematic release in the series with the possible exception of Super Mario Galaxy.
Both of those games introduce fans to a new strong, central female character. First Rosalina in Super Mario Galaxy, the powerful adoptive mother to the Luma species. Then in an old flame and new mayor of New Donk City Pauline.
Pauline was Mario’s girlfriend who was kidnapped by Donkey Kong in the original arcade cabinet. The character has not been used again, except for in the spin-off sub-series Mario vs Donkey Kong.
But the character returned in a big way to the main canon as an elected mayoral official no less. Complete with her own ballad that provided the unforgettably catchy soundtrack. Rosalina has been a mainstay in all spin-off series since and Pauline was even recently added to Mario Aces.
Nintendo has been planting seeds of more independent prominent female characters for a while. Both of these characters could have significant roles to play in the future of the series but that doesn’t spell the end for Peach, yet.
New Super Mario Bros U Deluxe
That part of the theory comes from popular Youtuber Matpat who delved into the possible significance of Peachette. This retains to a new power-up added to the Switch port of New Super Mario Bros U.
Toadette, who’s now added a playable character, can use the ‘Super Crown’ to give her the appearance of Peach. There are a few minor distinctions but the Super Crown basically makes Peach playable in the story as well.
This could just be a lazy attempt to add some variety to the port but the Super Crown also shows up in the port of Toad’s Treasure Tracker. Meaning the power-up is more than just an afterthought and it could have canon significance.
The theory compares the Mushroom Kingdom to the hierarchy of real-world bees. When a new queen is ready to be crowned in the hive, royal jelly is produced by drones. The royal jelly is given to a select number of candidates who are groomed to take over the position.
It this instance the Super Crown is the Royal Jelly and the Toads are the drones. The select candidate? Well, who better than one of the most famous Toads, Toadette. The character first appeared in Mario Kart: Double Dash in 2003. Since then Toadette has featured in 30 separate Nintendo titles.
Toadette has already been shown to be the brave accomplice to Captain Toad and thus could make an empowered ruler. A trusted character in the Toad society, a prominent staple of the series in the modern era and possibly the new Peach.
A Brand New Peach
The best part is Toadette has already shown to display the characteristics of Peach when combined with the Super Crown. Meaning Nintendo won’t have to replace the Peach character as much as rebrand her.
It would create a contemporary take on the popular character who would provide a better role model for young female gamers. Younger gamers, in fact, wouldn’t even notice the difference, whilst long-term fans have a canon explanation for the change.
Presumably, Mario wouldn’t just jump ship to infatuate over the latest model, eliminating the current controversial dynamic. The Mushroom Kingdom gets a strong and capable ruler whilst the Mario series gets a fresh new narrative.
The only problem with this theory is, where does that leave the current Peach in this new world?