Universal Studios’ animation studio Illumination could be planning a standalone Donkey Kong movie as its next Nintendo feature, it’s been claimed.
The site claims that the Donkey Kong project has entered production and actor Seth Rogen – who will voice DK in next year Super Mario film – is claimed to have signed up as the lead ape.
The publication did not provide further details, but speculated that cast members from Super Mario could potentially join the DK movie.
The latest report could corroborate claims made earlier this year that Nintendo is planning a big push for its Donkey Kong franchise, including a new game, animation and theme park world.
Historically reliable Nintendo insider Zippo claimed in May that the Donkey Kong franchise would be the next focus of its push outside of video games.
“Donkey and co. aren’t just getting a new game, they’re getting animation… a big theme park expansion, merchandise, etc,” they wrote. “This new game is not just a one off, DK is being taken seriously at the big N again, and that should be good news for fans everywhere.”
A few months after Zippo’s post – and following years of speculation – Nintendo and Universal officially announced that they’re building a Donkey Kong expansion at the Super Nintendo World theme park in Osaka, Japan.
The Donkey Kong world is set to open in 2024 and feature a roller coaster based on the DKC games, plus interactive elements and themed merchandise and food.
“I am very happy to be able to make the world of Donkey Kong a reality following the world of Mario,” Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto said in a statement at the time.
“I am looking forward to creating a thrilling Donkey Kong experience with the amazing team at Universal. It will take some time until it is completed, but it will be a unique area for not only people who are familiar with Donkey Kong games, but for all guests.”
The Super Mario animated movie is set to release on December 21, 2022, with actor Chris Pratt voicing Mario.
In addition, Anya Taylor-Joy (Queen’s Gambit) has been cast as Princess Peach, Charlie Day (Horrible Bosses) as Luigi and Jack Black as Bowser. Comedian Fred Armisen will voice Cranky Kong.
The original Donkey Kong arcade game turned 40-years-old this summer, with little-to-no fanfare from its creators.
Perhaps more notably, it also marked the debut of Mario, who had originally been named Mr Video by his creator Shigeru Miyamoto, before being renamed Jumpman, and then finally Mario.