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'Super Mario Bros. Movie' directors came up with explanation for Mushroom Kingdom's floating blocks

The mystery has been solved at last!

By Josh Weiss
A still image from The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023)

Ever wonder how bricks and Mystery Blocks stay afloat in the Mushroom Kingdom? It's not exactly something that requires a concrete explanation within the iconic Nintendo games, but the question did occur to Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic, co-directors of The Super Mario Bros. Movie (now playing in theaters everywhere).

Recently sitting down with Variety, the veterans of Cartoon Network's Teen Titans GO! franchise stated that while the long-awaited adaptation doesn't get bogged down in the minutiae of its outlandish concepts (be it a rainbow highway or super-powered fungi), the production team was very conscious of ensuring it all made sense on the back end.

RELATED: ‘Super Mario’ creator on pitfalls of giving the character an official backstory in new movie

"Our idea was that there’s a mineral that’s natural to the Mushroom Kingdom, which we call ‘floatanium,’ because it sounded funny to us,” Horvath said of the mysterious floating structures that form the backbone of Mario's platformer roots. "The Toads mine it and transform it into these blocks and use them for construction purposes."

But again, don't expect an overt mention of "floatanium," let alone a scientific deep-dive into the mechanics of its chemical makeup. "We never slow down and explain where the mushrooms came from and how they make your particles grow," added Jelenic. He also joked that Illumination's movies are so successful because the studio's founder and CEO, Chris Meledandri, is "allergic to exposition."

"If you look at Mario through the lens of a superhero, it’s no weirder than Peter Parker being bit by a spider and gaining superpowers," Horvath continued.

It's the same philosophy employed by James Cameron on the Avatar films, which, despite their reliance on feasible speculation about future technology and alien planets, never forget the fact that they are escapist blockbusters at the end of the day.

"I give myself a lot of permission in Avatar and I just remind people, ‘Hey, it’s a world with floating mountains. We can give ourselves permission to do some improbable things,'" Cameron said during a 2021 press conference attended by SYFY WIRE. "Although even there, I had a rationale for the floating mountains. That Unobtanium was a Type-2 superconductor and the Meisner Effect flux-pinning would hold them up off the ground if there was a magnetic field of sufficient force, etc. etc. So we had it all sort of worked out, but for the average viewer, it’s a world with floating mountains. If that doesn’t give you permission to do anything you want, I don’t know what does."

The Super Mario Bros. Movie is now playing in theaters everywhere. Tickets are on sale here! The film opened to a whopping $377 million worldwide this past weekend, setting new box office high scores for animation and video game-inspired cinema.

Want more Illumination goodness in your life? Despicable Me and Despicable Me 2 are now streaming on Peacock.