Super Mario Brothers character's name changed by Nintendo from potential racial slur
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Featured Image Credit: Alamy/FlixPix/Nintendo/Universal Pictures
WARNING: CONTAINS LANGUAGE THAT SOME READERS MAY FIND OFFENSIVE
The name of a Super Mario Bros character has been changed by Nintendo ahead of its appearance in The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which is set to be released in Japan later this week.
The new film was released in a number of countries on 5 April, but is due to hit Japanese cinemas in a few days’ time.
Starring the likes of Chris Pratt, Charlie Day, Anya Taylor-Joy, Seth Rogen, Jack Black and Keegan-Michael Key, the animated flick is based on Nintendo’s Mario games and follows Brooklyn plumbers Mario and brother Luigi as they are ‘transported down a mysterious pipe and wander into a magical new world’.
After the pair are separated, Mario embarks on an ‘epic quest’ to find his sibling, enlisting the help of the Mushroom Kingdom’s Toad and Princess Peach.
The movie also features a foreman, a character who first appeared as an enemy of Mario in the 1980s game Wrecking Crew.
Ahead of the release in Japan, Nintendo announced that the name of the character would be changing from ‘Blackie’ to ‘Spike’.
“The name of the character Blackie, who appears in the Family Computer software Wrecking Crew, will be changed to Spike, which is the same as the name in Europe and the United States,” a tweet posted by the company said.
While Nintendo did not offer a reason, many fans have speculated it may be because the original name carried potential racist connotations.
One tweeted: “Nintendo Co. Ltd. has confirmed that Mario's old boss will be referred to as Spike in the Japanese release of #SuperMarioMovie and all other media from this point forward, most likely due to the fact his original Japanese name ‘Blackie’ is a racial slur in English.”
Someone else said: “’Blackie’ is an incredibly unfortunate name - for so many reasons - so it’s an unambiguously good call on Nintendo’s part to change it.”
A third wrote: "*sees original Japanese name* Yeah, definitely the right call to change his name in Japan."
UNILAD has reached out to Nintendo for comment.
The family film had fans racing to theatres after it premiered on 5 April, earning a whopping $508.7 million in just one week - and an estimated $368 million of that came just from its opening weekend alone.
For the title of biggest video game adaption, The Super Mario Bros. Movie has beat out previous record holders Warcraft, which earned $439.4 million in its first week, and Pokémon: Detective Pikachu, which earned $449.8 million in its first week.
And, when it comes to the record for biggest worldwide opening for an animated film, The Super Mario Bros. Movie snatched the title from Disney's Frozen 2, which debuted with $358 million.