Fan theories can often venture to some pretty dark places, sometimes going so far that they end up feeling completely unlikely. Theories that suggest a game is just happening in a character's head while they're in a coma or theories that a particular character was dead all along are some of the most well-known in this genre of fan theory. While a lot of these can sometimes be a little too far-fetched to even consider, there's a pretty dark Super Mario Bros. fan theory that has a bit of truth to it.
The Mario series is no stranger to the world of bizarre theories, though it does seem surprising that a series has cheerful as Mario could have anything sinister going on behind the scenes. There have been quite a few subtle nods towards darker themes in Mario games, such as the various ghost and alien easter eggs in the 3D titles. Some fans have taken some of the more subtle dark references and moments across the Mario series' history to create some pretty interesting fan theories.
When Mario fan theories are discussed, the drug theory is almost always brought up in the conversation. It's a classic in-joke and fan theory that the Super Mushrooms Mario picks up are psychedelic, causing him to go on a drug-fueled rampage. What players see during the game, according to this fan theory, are just Mario's hallucinations. This fan theory is usually brought up to explain Mario's origins as a plumber.
Another popular fan theory is that Mario is either a freedom fighter or revolutionary who is trying to overthrow Bowser. While this theory is certainly an interesting take on the Mario universe, it's also one of the more far-fetched ones. While Mario is technically fighting to stop a corrupt King, he's also rescuing the Mushroom Kingdom's leader in the process. The Mushroom Kingdom seems to be the more dominant kingdom, at least when compared to Bowser.
On the topic of Peach and Bowser, there are a ton of dark fan theories that explore their relationship and why Peach is kidnapped so frequently. Everything from a secret relationship between Peach and Bowser to Peach being a victim of Stockholm syndrome has been brought up regarding the Mario franchise's most common trope. Many of these theories dive into some all-too-real topics that tend to get a little too dark for Nintendo's flagship family-friendly platformer.
However, one Mario fan theory does make sense, even if its darker themes make it very clearly inaccurate. This theory points out some very particular inconsistencies throughout the Mario timeline, such as why Mario went from the villain of Donkey Kong Jr. to the hero of his own franchise. To explain that strange jump in personality, some fans suggest that Mario's death in Donkey Kong Jr. is actually canon.
Donkey Kong Jr. has spawned quite a few interesting theories trying to connect Mario to his old Jumpman persona. In this retro Donkey Kong title, Mario is sent plummeting to his death at the end of the final level, suffering a similar fate to many of the villains from his later games. Fans suggest that Mario really did die here, and every Mario game is just Mario suffering his own eternal purgatory where he constantly saves Peach, only for her to be captured time and time again.
Taking the time to really break down the Mario games, there's a lot more that begins to seem odd that the series expects players to accept. Not only is Mario just an average plumber thrown into a fantasy-like world, but he's also able to manifest powers from seemingly living mushrooms. On top of that, while Mario might be dropping Bowser into lava and melting his skin off one day, he'll be kart racing and partying with him the next as if nothing happened.
The implications of this fan theory make it the darkest one of the bunch by far since fans have effectively been playing through someone's unending torture as punishment for their years of animal cruelty. While this more than certainly isn't canon to the Mario games, the fact that it explains a lot of the stranger elements that other dark fan theories have tackled makes it one of the more easily believable and creatively connective Mario theories out there.
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