Stop me if you’ve ever heard the phrase “what’s best for business”.
This is usually said with a kind of negative connotation, as it’s usually associated with the idea of doing something unpopular, uncomfortable, unsavory, and just generally difficult. However, it doesn’t always have to be that way. Sometimes what’s best for business is the clear front runner option that everyone knows, realizes, and recognizes.
Nintendo is, of course, all about business. They’re the longest standing publisher in the video game world, the most successful video game console manufacturer to ever do it, fiercely protective of the intellectual properties, and most importantly, always looking for new ways and new ventures to be successful. One of these new ventures is actually an old venture: licensing their IP’s out to Hollywood so that new movies, shows, and whatnot can be created based off of their properties. Nintendo famously tried this back in 1993 with the oft-misunderstood Super Mario Bros. Movie (which I contend is legitimately a fantastic movie!) and the results were, well, mixed at best. I think it’s probably fair to say that this experiment scared Nintendo away from the silver screen for a long time.
Time heals all wounds, however, and almost 30 years later, we’re getting ready for Super Mario’s return to cinemas this year, which looks like it’s going to be a blast just based on the crazy voice cast alone. Assuming that this movie will be successful – and let’s face it, I think with the star power attached and studio behind it, how could it not be? – it’s probably reasonable to assume that even more Nintendo franchises could be hitting the big screen. Couple that with the rise of streaming and success of shows like Castlevania and Arcane on Netflix that add more options in terms of distributing (maybe Nintendo feels more comfortable releasing some of their lessor known series on a streaming platform and skipping a theatrical release?), I think this offers a real opportunity for Nintendo to branch out and create movies/shows based on their iconic characters.
Of course, in laying that all out, there may be no series more desired to be adapted than Metroid.
There seem to have been talks of a Metroid movie being made for what seems like forever, dating back to the early 2000’s when director John Woo was linked to a production. Seeing the Metroid Prime commercials really served as an appetizer for what this franchise could look like on the big screen, and that’s obviously left a huge impression on not only Metroid fans, but Nintendo fans in general. I don’t have any data to back this up, but I feel confident that if you asked your average Nintendo fan what franchise should get the movie treatment, Metroid would be at the top of the conversation.
Now, there seems to be a back and forth between Metroid fans about whether a hypothetical Metroid movie should be a live action show or an anime in the similar vein of the aforementioned Castlevania. While I’m sure that an anime adaptation would be solid and certainly has it’s own merits, to me, a live action movie/series is the only option. In my opinion, live action feels bigger and more important and aims to bring in fans that you don’t already have, which I think is key. If the goal of a Metroid movie is to make new fans, live action is the only way to go.
So that begs the million dollar question: who plays Samus?
Well, there are a ton of great options available out there that I’m sure would do a great job. For anyone that watches The Expanse, you’re probably looking at both Dominique Tipper or Frankie Adams and thinking “man, these guys would be awesome”. Tipper in particular I think would be incredible. I’ve also seen people suggest Charlize Theron as an older, more experienced Samus, and that sounds awesome too. However, the best option out there has been right in front of our faces from the very beginning, whether we like it or not, and that’s Brie Larson.
Say Larson’s name to your average Metroid fan and you’ll see most of them are just repulsed by her. A lot of Metroid fans have an intense dislike for her because… actually, I don’t know. I looked. I legitimately Googled “why do Metroid fans hate Brie Larson?” and couldn’t come away with a clear answer. They just don’t for some reason. The list of “reasons” I saw from people on message boards and social media were laughable.
“Brie Larson can’t act”; I think her Academy Award for Best Actress would disagree with you. “She’s not buff enough”; How often do you hear about actors training and preparing for roles? She could put on some muscle if she needed too, which frankly, she doesn’t. You don’t get to play Captain Marvel and be an out-of-shape actress – we saw the lengths that Marvel goes in order to make sure their stars look the part. “She doesn’t fit the role”; I guess, but people said the same thing about Heath Ledger when he signed on to play the Joker, and that turned out okay. On and on and on. I’m not sure why Metroid fans have such an aversion to Brie Larson, but from all accounts, this is a great actress who fits the part, is one of the biggest stars in the world, and brings a whole lot of eyeballs to the Metroid series.
But we haven’t even talked about the most important aspect: she wants to play Samus.
I really believe that it can’t be overstated how crucial this is and would be to the success of this movie. Having an A-list Hollywood star that campaigns to play a character, is invested in doing that character justice, and understands that character sounds like the perfect recipe for success to me. Where video game adaptations tend to fail is when they are being made by creators who don’t really understand why people love a franchise and are unable to translate that the masses.
Obviously things like director, budget, cast, marketing can have huge impacts on whether a project is successful, but my point is, with a star with a passion for the project attached, you can bet that the odds of success are higher. Want some proof? Take a look at The Witcher, which is a huge hit for Netflix and something that star Henry Cavil campaigned for hard to play. His understanding of what makes Geralt of Rivea tick is such an integral part of the show that it overshadows and overcompensates many of the shows weaknesses.
Brie Larson has publicly campaigned to play Samus. Nintendo has already turned to Brie Larson to help market many of their games, including Metroid Dread, to her 7.5 million Instagram followers. Brie Larson is one of the biggest movie stars in the world. Nintendo is riding high on the success of Metroid Dread, but still has a ways to go in making Metroid a mega series on the same level as Zelda or Animal Crossing.
Obviously there’s no guarantee that Nintendo will ever make a Metroid movie, but if they did, this marriage is so obvious, so perfect, so fitting, that Nintendo would be foolish to pass it up.
If the goal of a Metroid movie is to elevate the franchise and make new fans, then make no mistake: Brie Larson as Samus is what’s best for business – like it or not.