The massive success of “The Last of Us” seems to have definitively settled the debate about turning acclaimed video games into movies and TV shows. While many game adaptations have failed in the past — and plenty will inevitably fail in the future — Craig Mazin, Neil Druckmann, and the entire “Last of Us” creative team have proved that it’s possible to succeed in the formerly cursed subgenre.
So what video game is next in line for the prestige HBO drama treatment? If “Saturday Night Live” gets its way, it’ll be “Mario Kart.” In a parody sketch starring this week’s host Pedro Pascal, the sketch show imagined a post-apocalyptic take on the beloved racing game.
Pascal plays a grizzled version of the iconic Italian plumber, who is tasked with smuggling Princess Peach (Chloe Fineman) to Rainbow Road through the dangerous wasteland once known as the Mushroom Kingdom. “Karting out here isn’t a game. If we’re going to make it, we’re going to need all the help we can get,” Pascal says before enlisting the help of Luigi, who warns them about massive sentient fungi known as Goombas.
Once the crew is assembled, they set off on their harrowing journey with the villainous Bowser trailing close behind. The world has little in common with the colorful racetracks from the Nintendo games, as the producers of “The Last of Us” have brought all of the show’s signature stylistic elements to the fictional series. “All of your favorite wacky racers are reimagined as complex, dramatic HBO characters,” the trailer’s narrator boasts as he reveals that both Yoshi and Toad are bisexual in the fictional series.
The trailer teases many of the obstacles that Mario and Peach will face along the way, including murderous plants and turtle shells and his own battle with drug abuse. But despite all of the danger, the two unlikely friends have no choice but to keep going.
“What if we crash?” Peach asks Mario, who responds that “A little guy with a cloud comes and uses a fishing pole to put you back on the road.”
Watch the “HBO Mario Kart Trailer” sketch below.