The secret of Princess Rosalina

This post is a copy from my old blog at kinsmangames.com.  It was the most popular post there by far; so, while I decided this blog would mostly start fresh, for this one post I decided it would be best to save a duplicate.

In an interview with Yoshiaki Koizumi, the game director for Super Mario Galaxy, he once talked about how Shigeru Miyamoto, the project’s godfather, wanted him to take the storyline of the game and scale back its presence – make it more minimalist and background.

He did – the story of Princess Rosalina, the Lumas, and the Comet Observatory in the final game are background elements, touched briefly upon at the beginning and end of the game, with a optional small story in the game’s “library” that you can unlock as the game progresses.

But when he did that, he buried a secret deep inside the game, about Princess Rosalina’s true origin.

The storybook in the library tells a fairy tale; about a girl who saw a spaceship crash one day, that contained a Luma who was looking for his lost mother.  She joins him on his search, and eventually, the two of them become lost in the universe together.  They promise to take care of each other, and build a new life in a castle on a blue comet; other Lumas join them, and soon the girl is the foster mother of a whole crowd of Lumas.

Most players slowly figured out that the story of the girl was actually the origin story of Princess Rosalina as they watched the story unfold, and the last two chapters of the storybook, accessible when you complete the game, more or less prove it.

But inside that storybook is something odd.  Chapter Four, “The Dream”.  The girl – young Rosalina – has a dream that’s also an omen about her losing her mother back on Earth.  We only get to see her mother’s face once, the lower half only –

Is that Princess Peach?And looking at her earrings and hairstyle, it’s obvious Rosalina’s mother is Princess Peach.  But – it’s just as obvious that this couldn’t be Princess Peach; in the main game, her and Rosalina are the same age, and Peach never had any children anyway.  (Not even Bowser Jr. in Super Mario Sunshine.)

So, players seeing this for the first time will either shrug and forget about it, or never even notice the resemblance in the first place.  It’s a piece of trivia that goes nowhere, until the end of the game, when the second strange thing happens.

Well, actually, the “strange thing” is the whole ending itself.  Super Mario Galaxy’s ending is pretty spectacular.  Bowser’s huge lava planet at the center of the universe implodes, creating a massive black hole that threatens everyone there – Bowser’s army, the Comet Observatory, Peach’s castle, and all the main characters.

They’re rescued when all the Lumas pour themselves into the black hole, transforming it into something resembling the Big Bang.  They all come out as newborn stars, and Rosalina explains: stars turn to stardust, and then form again as new stars.  “But the cycle never repeats itself in quite the same way…  So.. you’ll see.”

Mario, Peach, and Bowser all wake up back on their home planet and the Mushroom Kingdom, to find that it’s been transformed and “remixed”, with all the characters they’ve met on the journey taking up residence in the Mushroom Kingdom.  The voice of Rosalina explains that all life, not just planets, come from the essence of stars, and Mario joyfully shouts, “WELCOME!  WELCOME NEW GALAXY!” as the camera zooms out of the atmosphere to show the newly created galaxy the Mushroom Kingdom is now a neighbour to.

But the cycle never repeats itself in quite the same way..Nice ending, and surprisingly heavy for a Mario game.

But did you remember that single page in Chapter 4 of the storybook?

If the cycle of the universe repeats itself in mostly the same way, Princess Rosalina’s origin becomes clear…

She’s the daughter of Princess Peach from a previous cycle of the universe.

That Princess Peach was the loving mother of a family with two children, and she died sometime after her daughter disappeared, following a lost Luma around the universe.

In another interview with Koizumi about Super Mario Galaxy, he explained that Princess Rosalina was originally intended to be related to Princess Peach, but they changed her to be an unrelated character later in development.

This, it turns out, is only half-true.  She’s not related to the current Princess Peach, true; but here, we see the remnants of the previous idea, turned into a secret that’s been buried deep into the game’s minimalist story.

When Miyamoto asked Koizumi to scale back on the game’s storyline, I wonder if this is the effect the two of them intended?

And when Princess Rosalina says, “So.. you’ll see..” what did she mean by that..?

There's something I'd like to give you..