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With an expected release date of September 2022, Nintendo fans have been wondering how Nintendo and Illumination’s Super Mario movie is progressing. So, it’s not surprising to find fans searching through LinkedIn profiles to map out a production timeline. Nintendo has been tight-lipped about the project and the biggest piece of news concerning the movie slipped out in a podcast earlier this month. If comedian Sebastian Maniscalco randomly mentions he’s recording lines for Foreman Spike for the project, it’s not a wild theory that there could be other details hidden in plain sight. That’s why a “new discovery” is making the rounds today — and it names the film’s supposed directors.

Tweeted out by Mevans2703, a screencap of an animator’s LinkedIn profile was shown to name Aaron Horvath and Michael Jelenic as the directors for the movie. While the animator’s name is omitted from the image, a LinkedIn profile matching the details (position at Illumination’s Mac Guff studio and dates) still exists. It’s just missing the details about it being directed by Horvath and Jelenic. Yet, this isn’t the first time this screencap has been passed around — it’s been discussed since April 2021.



Back in April, the image appeared on Twitter, Reddit, and in a video published by Marc Lovallo. Why it didn’t “take off” and “trend” at that time is a mystery. Regardless, how likely is it that Horvath and Jelenic are, in fact, directing the film?  

IMDB and LinkedIn profiles for the two don’t include any mentions of the Super Mario movie or working for Illumination. The only project that the two are publicly listed on as being in “pre-production” is a live-action film adaptation of Naruto that was announced in 2016, where Horvath and Jelenic were part of a screenwriting team that drafted the initial script. Both are known for their work on Teen Titans Go! (both the show and the film, the latter they co-directed), yet their credits for the ongoing TV show ended in 2020. Horvath and Jelenic have extensive experience in the animation industry combined — working in roles as writers, producers, directors, editors, and more — and aren’t publicly attached to any productions.

Still, given that this news was found via a screencap of a LinkedIn profile that is months old, it’s best to treat this as a rumor. The movie has been “in the works” since talks began between Nintendo and Illumination in 2015/2016 according to a Wall Street Journal report that revealed the movie’s existence in late 2017, plus Nintendo commented in January 2020 that the film’s production “moving along smoothly.”


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Written by Jennifer Burch

Illustrator, designer, writer and big Nintendo geek, you can find Jennifer with an N3DS within reach 24/7. As the oldest of three, she has survived many Mario Party, Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart sessions intact in addition to getting her brothers hooked on some really weird games. (Cubivore anyone?)