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Console Games The True Origin of Waluigi - A Super Mario Theory

Which potential origin do you believe in?

  • Option 2: The Realistic Explanation

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  • Option 3: The In-Depth Explanation

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Option 5: Your own explanation (please share)

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Waluigi is a man seen only in mirror images; lost in a hall of mirrors he is a reflection of a reflection of a reflection. You start with Mario – the wholesome all Italian plumbing superman, you reflect him to create Luigi – the same thing but slightly less. You invert Mario to create Wario – Mario turned septic and libertarian – then you reflect the inversion in the reflection: you create a being who can only exist in reference to others. Waluigi is the true nowhere man, without the other characters he reflects, inverts and parodies he has no reason to exist. Waluigi’s identity only comes from what and who he isn’t - without a wider frame of reference he is nothing.
-I, We, Waluigi: a Post-Modern analysis of Waluigi by Franck Ribery

Hello, everyone!

Up to this point I've only theorized about manga, but I noticed that there was a video games category in the prefix section, so this seemed like a good opportunity to share my take on one of Nintendo's greatest questions: where did Waluigi come from?

It's weird enough that Wario, an exaggeration and perversion of everything that Mario represents, just seems to exist in this world, but then another guy who does the exact same thing for Mario's brother Luigi also just happens to exist? That's a pretty wild coincidence, so naturally some people feel like there must be a more logical explanation. Inspired by conversation I've seen online, I've come up with a couple of my own. You may have noticed that I've posted a poll at the top of this thread, so once you've read all of the options, let me know which one you think is the most likely.

Nintendo doesn't make it a habit to go into too much detail on the lore of most of their games, and Mario is probably the best example of this, what with Shigeru Miyamoto claiming that he's Bowser Jr.'s real mother because he created him. Despite Waluigi's uncanny resemblance to Wario, Nintendo's only official statement on the matter is that Waluigi and Wario do not appear to be brothers (stated in Waluigi's official bio on Nintendo's Japanese website). Mario/Luigi/Wario/Waluigi voice actor Charles Martinet, takes this a little bit further, referring to them as two guys that just happened to find each other, though he admits that's just his interpretation (stated in an interview with Kombo). Other official materials do occasionally refer to Wario and Waluigi as either brothers (Wario's Warehouse from Nintendo Europe) or cousins (supposedly stated in the trivia section of Mario and Sonic at the Winter Olympic Games, though I can't find a source on that), but the former is from a foreign source and the latter may be a mistranslation or misrepresentation of the facts by a foreign source. If I could find proof that the Japanese version of Mario and Sonic says they're cousins then I'd take that, but as it stands, I can't even confirm that the English version does. Even then, I'm more inclined to trust the official profile that Nintendo of Japan has made public, so for now, we'll assume this explanation to be the established canon: Wario and Waluigi are not related, and just happen to look like clones of the Mario brothers, each other, and have names that mirror each other. In short, basic cartoon logic.

Assuming that Wario and Waluigi are in fact not related, there is a very simple explanation as to why they are so similar that makes much more sense than it being a coincidence: it's an act. A common fan interpretation of Waluigi is that he showed up literally just to play tennis with the cast and was recruited by Wario because he needed a partner in Mario Tennis 64. To fit in better with the group and make himself identifiable, he put on mascara to match the bags under Wario's eyes, a prosthetic nose, a fake mustache, and a complementary plumber's uniform that flips Luigi's signature L to match Wario's relation to Mario. This also meant taking on a new name to continue the theme: Waluigi. Likely the only thing that truly remains of his original appearance is his lanky build, though Wario's Warehouse and Mario Power Tennis both suggest that Wario has a rack that he uses to make Waluigi taller, so who knows for sure. The only remaining question is if Waluigi's personality is also fabricated or if he actually is as vain and misanthropic as he purports to be. Has he always hated Luigi and put on the mask because of the opportunities it would present, or did he slowly become the mask itself? Could he remove it at any time, or are his original name and face lost to him forever?

Option 2 may be sound, but it's missing something. It's easy to say "some guy" took on the Waluigi mantle, but it still makes a number of assumptions. Some guy either had the right build or one that was close enough and was willing to completely change his life and identity just to have some people to play tennis with? Sure, it explains why all of his traits line up with existing people so eerily well, but it's just as cartoony to assume that someone did that for such a mundane reason as it is to assume that he just happened to have all of those traits in the first place. No, it's too strange that Wario just walked up to someone on the street or practicing on a tennis court and said "wear this outfit and makeup to play tennis with me" and got a positive response. That was someone Wario already knew, someone he already had an established relationship with, and someone who had a real reason to reinvent themselves.

Let's take a moment to reexamine Waluigi's character: his signature color is purple; he ostensibly loves Princess Daisy; he is one of Wario's associates; he has ambitions for world domination, with one of his plots involving mass hypnosis; he appeared out of literal nowhere. If you're familiar with extended Mario lore, you may have noticed that description doesn't only apply to Waluigi.

It also applies to Tatanga.

Tatanga is a small, purple alien of an unnamed race from an unnamed planet who came to Earth and attempted to take over Princess Daisy's kingdom of Sarasaland by hypnotizing its citizens and kidnapping her, intending to force her to marry him (Super Mario Land). While Mario was away from the Mushroom Kingdom dealing with Tatanga, Wario swooped in and stole Mario's castle (that he got...at some point), and recruited the defeated Tatanga as one of his henchman to guard his pilfered domain (Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins).

After laying siege to a nation and then backing another criminal's coup, it would make sense that Tatanga would want to make himself scarce, hence why he hasn't made another appearance since Mario Land 2. It's entirely possible that he's just gone back to his planet, but what if he didn't? What if he decided to hide out on Earth, assuming a new identity so he could evade arrest? Standard enemies were able to disguise themselves as Princess Daisy in Mario Land 1, possibly either due to magic or Tatanga's technology, so it would make sense that Tatanga would be able to use the same ability on himself. There's no reason to assume it could only be used to recreate an existing person's image, so Tatanga could well use it to combine Wario and Luigi's characteristics to make someone completely new. With this, Tatanga was able to remain on Earth and continue his pursuits of Daisy and world domination without fear of facing any comeuppance, even intermingling with the very people he seeks to conquer by playing various sports and games with them. Somehow in all that time he never makes the connection that the likes of Wario and Bowser, guilty of exactly the same crimes as he is, are also playing games out in the open without getting arrested, but it's also possible that he's just gotten used to being tall.

This explanation allows both Nintendo and Charles Martinet's interpretations to remain perfectly intact: they definitely aren't brothers, and they are in fact just "two nice evil guys that found each other."

But what if Waluigi is exactly who he says he is? What if Waluigi was in fact given the name Waluigi at birth and a genetic predisposition for having a similar face to Wario as well as a general distaste for other people? Can all of this be true without being a wild coincidence?

Would I be writing this if it couldn't?

If you're a fan of theories, you may be familiar with the youtube channel Game Theory. A few years ago, the channel's creator MatPat suggested that the carpenter from Donkey Kong, "Jumpman" Mario, was not in fact the same as the plumber Super Mario, but his father. The key piece of evidence to this theory is Donkey Kong's age: the DK from the original arcade game goes on to become Cranky Kong in Donkey Kong Country, with the current DK being the son of Donkey Kong Jr. from the game of the same name. Because of how gorillas age, Mario should be much older when interacting with the current DK, and yet he hasn't seemed to age since the original Donkey Kong. This can only really be possible if the two Marios aren't in fact the same character, but father and son.

It isn't addressed in the video because Mario Odyssey hadn't been announced yet, but this would potentially be contradicted by Pauline being apparently the same age as Mario in Odyssey and obviously never acknowledging that she's Mario's mother. However, the name and current design of Pauline was not introduced until the remake of Donkey Kong on the GameBoy. In the original arcade game, the damsel was a blonde woman named Lady.

More recent sources officially refer to Pauline and Lady as the same character, such as a trophy description in Super Smash Bros. for Wii U that states that Pauline used to be called Lady, but older sources explicitly refer to them as different characters. Promotional materials at the time of GameBoy Donkey Kong's release referred to Pauline as a "new heroine", while 1994's Perfect Edition of the Great Mario Character Encyclopedia describe them as having different personalities, with Lady being docile and Pauline being vigorous. Taking that into consideration, we can conclude that the original Donkey Kong saw Donkey Kong, Sr. kidnapping Jumpman's girlfriend, Lady, followed by Donkey Kong, Jr. growing up to do the same to Jumpman and Lady's son, Mario, and his girlfriend, Pauline, with the help of Donkey Kong III (referred to as Jr. at the time). For Lady, being kidnapped by a gorilla wasn't a dealbreaker, so she continued her relationship with Jumpman and had two children with him: Mario and Luigi. Pauline, on the other hand, didn't like the idea of being kidnapped a second time and called it quits (though ironically she would later be kidnapped by DK III again in Mario vs. Donkey Kong 2).

But what does this have to do with Waluigi? Well, if we have evidence of Mario and Luigi's parents, perhaps we have evidence of Waluigi's as well.

As Mario and Luigi grew up, they eventually needed to get jobs. Before becoming plumbers, their father Jumpman helped them get a job in construction. Rather than working in his department as a carpenter, though, he recommended them for a different department at his company: the Wrecking Crew. There, the two were placed under the tutelage of Foreman Spike.

For undisclosed reasons, despite being Mario and Luigi's boss, Spike took every opportunity he could to sabotage the brothers, such as by unleashing enemies on the worksites or by pushing the brothers off of beams. Seeing as he competed to collect coins faster than them in game, it's entirely possible that he was trying to take their wages for himself, though this is never confirmed. That kind of vindictive, greedy personality sounds a fair amount like both Wario and Waluigi, but lots of bad guys act like that, so it's not really proof by itself. Take a look at Spike's design though. Though it's not pink like Waluigi's, it definitely has a very similar shape. It's worth noting though that in Spike's second appearance in Wrecking Crew '98, though his build and general design is heavily tweaked, his nose is shown to actually be pink.

Since Wario and Waluigi didn't exist at the time of Spike's creation but did by the time of his redesign, it seems somewhat likely this design is meant to be reminiscent of the two.

Along with visual similarities, there are a few interesting parallels between Spike and Waluigi. For one, one of the enemies encountered in Wrecking Crew and '98 is Eggplant Man, likely being a hired goon of Spike's.

In Mario Superstar Sluggers, Waluigi's Star Skill, Liar Ball, allows him to pitch or hit baseballs in such a way that they split into both the baseball itself and an eggplant meant to distract his opponents. No one else in the Mario franchise (that I can find at least) has any association with eggplants, so it seems strange that the two that do, Spike and Waluigi, would both weaponize them in some form.

Secondly, in Spike's third and so far final appearance (and second complete redesign) in Mobile Golf on the GameBoy Color, he is depicted in promotional art operating an excavator. Waluigi, despite never being depicted as a construction worker or anything similar, is also given an excavator, the Gold Mantis, as his signature kart in Mario Kart DS.

The joke seems to be that Waluigi is a "gold digger," but honestly greed has never really been a strong motivating factor for Waluigi. He's always seemed more motivated by proving he's better than others or simply trying to spite them. Gold Mantis would make much more sense to be Wario's kart, but instead Wario gets the Dragonfly, a tractor.

In conjunction with Wario's pet hen, Hen, this tractor suggests that Wario's main profession before becoming a treasure hunter/game designer was likely that of a farmer. If we assume this to be the case, we can also infer that Waluigi may actually have been a construction worker before becoming a regular member of the Mario cast. Aside from the Mario brothers themselves, this would make Waluigi and Spike the only characters that are construction workers by trade (again, that I can find).

Finally, in Dance Dance Revolution: Mario Mix, wherein Waluigi is the driving force of the game, Waluigi's signature song is "Destruction Dance," a remix of the bonus stage theme from the original Wrecking Crew. Again, Waluigi was never explicitly stated or suggested to be related to construction, and yet his theme isn't even original to him; it's a remix of a song associated with Foreman Spike.

I did at one point consider the possibility that Foreman Spike and Waluigi were in fact the same person, but seeing as Nintendo redesigned him twice and kept bringing him back even after Waluigi was officially introduced into the series, I figured it wouldn't make much sense either in canon or in our world for Spike to disguise himself as a lankier version of himself just for the sake of playing sports, especially when he openly plays golf as Spike. No, I think the answer is much simpler: Spike is Waluigi's father, just as Jumpman is Mario and Luigi's. This perfectly explains why he is named after Luigi: Spike raised him to be Luigi's inversion, specifically to spite the offspring of his coworker Jumpman, even going so far as to literally name him "bad Luigi" (warui=bad, Luigi=Ruiji in Japanese -> Waruiji).

If that's the case, though, then wouldn't that make it Wario who is the strange coincidence? Waluigi was manufactured to be the "bad Luigi," but Wario just happened to become the "bad Mario"? Absolutely not. No, Wario was just as intentional of a dig at the Mario brothers as Waluigi was. They are brothers, after all.

But how can this be? Nintendo explicitly said they are not brothers, didn't they? Well, not quite. If you recall, Nintendo's official statement in Waluigi's bio was that he and Wario "do not appear to be brothers." In conjunction with many other sources being just as vague or inconsistent, we can conclude that people in canon, possibly including Wario and Waluigi themselves, are just as unclear on the matter as we are, but make no mistake: the truth is that they are in fact brothers, they just don't know it.

Let's look at Spike's designs across the years again: in his first design, he looks a lot more like Waluigi with his long nose, not much like Wario at all. In his second, though, he has clearly been working out, and he's gotten rid of his beard to reveal a cleft chin not unlike Wario's. Finally, in his third, he seems to have let himself go, but much like Wario, his girth may belie the strong build he once had. This, along with his greedy personality, make Spike just as much a ringer for Wario as he is for Waluigi. So how would Wario and Waluigi be unknowing brothers?

To understand this discrepancy, we must journey back to the beginning, to Mario's very birth. In Yoshi's Island, it is established that children in the Mario universe are delivered to parents via Stork: Mario and Luigi were, Peach was, Donkey Kong was (presumably DK, Jr. going by the age discrepancy we mentioned earlier), Bowser was, and even Wario was. Mario, Luigi and Wario all already had their signature hats when they were first delivered to their parents, suggesting that they were already given their names before delivery. Literally from birth, Wario was already assigned the moniker of "bad Mario." To me, this implies that parents order children from the Stork like some kind of delivery service and include the names they want to use on their order form. They may even request certain personality traits, but it's also possible that the traits are based on who's placing the order.

Given Spike's personality, it doesn't take much stretching of the imagination to believe that he was already antagonistic towards Jumpman. Upon learning that Jumpman was going to have two sons, Mario and Luigi, Spike decided to spite him and ordered two of his own who would embody everything that stood against Jumpman's children. These would be the bad Mario and bad Luigi, the Wario and Waluigi, that he would raise to counter his nemesis and his kin at all turns.

But Spike couldn't have possibly predicted that Wario would be one of the seven Star Children, one of a group of chosen children that house incredible power. An adult Bowser from the future appeared in the age where he was but a child, Yoshi's Island DS, and ordered his old caretaker Kamek to assemble babies from across the land so that he might find the Star Children and take their power for himself (not realizing that he was in fact one of the Star Children). Kamek's Toadies stole into many a house and spirited away countless children, including the Mario brothers and Wario, leaving Waluigi behind. The Yoshis banded together to save the children kidnapped by Bowser, and with the help of the Storks saw all of them returned to their rightful homes.

All except for Wario.

For whatever reason, the Storks were unable to locate Wario's family again, maybe because Spike has left the little mushroom village for the big city, maybe because Wario was too enamored with the treasure he'd taken from Bowser's castle to leave it. Wario drifted all alone until eventually he found a mother, mentioned in Mario Power Tennis and Wario's Warehouse, who presumably raised him on a farm as evidenced by Hen and the Dragonfly tractor. Evidently, Wario does not know his age because his mother never threw him any birthday parties. She claims it's because he was too goofy to warrant it, but it may well be because she doesn't actually know his birthday or age either.

We do know that Wario and Mario knew each other as children, as Mario states in the Mario Land 2 instruction manual that Wario has been jealous of him since they were boys, but it's hard to say under exactly what circumstances they met or knew each other. Either way, it's clear that Wario didn't know his father, as only his mother is ever mentioned and he clearly didn't have a family at the end of Yoshi's Island DS.

This likely only furthered Spike's hatred of the Jumpman clan. Not only did his nemesis have a loving wife, but two healthy boys, while he was alone with his ostensibly weaker son after losing another to Bowser. Though he may well have been sabotaging the brothers for money, it's hard to argue that spite had nothing to do with it, especially if he was pushing them off of support beams. He hated the Mario brothers, and he raised his remaining son to do the same.

Spike raised Waluigi as an only child, but one day while practicing his serve on a tennis court, he was approached by someone who felt...familiar. This Wario fellow really felt like a kindred spirit. Another nice, evil guy, like him. Almost like the brother he'd never had.

With that, we have four possible origins for Waluigi, each building on the previous in its own way. Which do you think is the most plausible? The face-value, cartoony explanation? The simple, realistic explanation? The more complex explanation that incorporates existing canon? The explanation that draws disparate puzzle pieces from across the entirety of the greater Mario canon to form a cohesive picture? Or do you have your own thoughts and ideas as to where Waluigi comes from and why he is the way he is? Let me know what you all think, I'm very curious to see what details I may have missed or interpretations that I didn't consider.

Until next time.

-Tokiro Oumaga
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This is mindblowing. I have never considered digging deeper into the Marioverse, the only thing I know is that Wario and Waluigi are the cousins of Mario and Luigi, but it always has been questionable that Waluigi has been absent until his introduction.
Maybe it was just a convenient solution for Nintendo or they roadmapped him in early stages. Just my two cents.

I liked reading your options tho and some inputs you found, sounds like each idea is possible to underline how this character came to be and shaped over time. Keep up!
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