Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, Nintendo licensed their characters out for TV. Nintendo partnered with DIC Entertainment on shows like The Legend of Zelda, Captain N, and The Super Mario Bros. Super Show. The results were mixed, and today these shows are mostly known for the memes they spawned. Eventually, Nintendo decided to stop making TV shows altogether. However, at one point Nintendo was considering an even bigger partnership — and it involved a strange take on Metroid.
Nintendo and DIC once made plans for something called the Super Mario Bros. Power Hour. We don’t know much about the canceled program, but concept art recently surfaced at an online auction. A former DIC employee is selling concept art of four scrapped TV shows that would have aired during the Power Hour. The concept art depicts ideas for Double Dragon, California Games, and a rather silly-looking version of Castlevania.
Most surprising of all, the Super Mario Power Hour also planned to include a Metroid TV show. The lone piece of concept art shows Samus battling a space pirate near an airlock. It’s not a bad look overall, but there’s something seriously strange about Samus. In place of the blonde-haired female bounty hunter that we all know and love is a man with a dark brown military haircut. This is made even more apparent by the fact that he’s wearing a more traditional space helmet instead of the familiar visor of the Chozo Power Suit. [Warning: The following source contains some strong language.]
What might have been…
Holy shit. Someone just put up promo art for The Super Mario Bros Power Hour on eBay! These were concepts for other video game based cartoons to run along side Super Mario Bros 3. None of these ever got past the concept phase. pic.twitter.com/eIFft21T3u
— Tanooki Joe™? (@TanookiKuribo) May 7, 2019
What a huge change! Why would DIC alter such an iconic Nintendo character? When the original Metroid launched, Samus’ true identity was kept a secret. The game’s manual even used male pronouns, so many players were surprised to learn they’d been playing as a woman all along. However, DIC made this pitch years after Metroid made its debut on NES. Either they somehow remained ignorant, or they just thought a male lead would sell better. Either way, it never made it past the conceptual stage. There’s probably a good reason for that.