Sounds like an enemy who’s been a thorn in Mario’s side since before he ever set one foot in the Mushroom Kingdom is coming back.

It’s been years since Nintendo and U.S.-based Illumination let it be known that they’re working on a Super Mario Bros. movie. Aside from the fact that it’s a CG animated feature, though, there hasn’t been any information on what to expect from the video game icon’s return to the big screen following the disastrous 1993 live-action Super Mario Bros. film.

Now, though, comes a surprising revelation from an unexpected source. On a recent episode of Bert Kreischer’s podcast/YouTube show, the host asked guest Sebastian Maniscalco what he had planned for the rest of his day. The American actor/comedian nonchalantly replied that he had a recording session for voice work for the Super Mario Bros. movie, and while he’s not playing the titular hero, the role he has landed is arguably even more surprising.

“I’m in a movie, Super Mario Bros. An animated movie, so…I’m playing, um, Spike, their boss. So I’m gonna do that at 12.”

Don’t feel bad about your Super Mario super fan credentials if the name Spike doesn’t ring a bell, because the character is from so deep in Nintendo’s history that he predates Mario becoming “Super.” Foreman Spike, to use his professional title, hails from Wrecking Crew, a game starring Mario and Luigi that came out for the NES all the way back in 1985, several months before the release of the first Super Mario Bros..

▼ Spike was completely absent from the results of the Super Mario series character popularity poll, which even Mario couldn’t win.

At this point in time, Mario had only been portrayed as a plumber in one game, the non-super Mario Bros., and was still in a phase of trying out different jobs with just about every game he appeared in (though he’d already fought gorillas twice, in Donkey Kong and Donkey Kong Jr.). Wrecking Crew was a unique action/puzzle game in which Mario has to demolish all the target items on screen while avoiding enemies and other hazards. Instead of helping Mario, Spike, as one of the worst bosses in video gaming, smashes support structures and knocks Mario around with his hammer in order to trap the lower-ranking employee or hurl him into the path of monsters trying to kill him.

Alternatively, if your encyclopedic knowledge of the Super Mario franchise is of the unabridged sort, you might be ready to point out that Foreman Spike isn’t the only Spike in the series. None of the other ones completely fit with the description Maniscalco gives, though.

For example, the enemy introduced in Super Mario 3 has “Spike” as the name for the species, so if this is who Maniscalco is playing, it’d be “a Spike,” not just “Spike.”

Likewise, the extra-large Spike the Piranha, from Yoshi’s Crafted World is a boss, but not the Mario Bros.’ boss.

And the Spike from the live-action Super Mario Bros. was so inept he could barely manage his own tasks, let alone anyone else’s. The only other pre-existing Mario-related Spike would be a character from Mario Tennis for the Game Boy Color, but again, he’s got no professional authority over Mario or Luigi, so it really does seem like it’s the Wrecking Crew Spike who we’ll be seeing in the movie.

Neither Nintendo nor Illumination have confirmed Maniscalco’s casting, but Spike is obscure enough that it doesn’t seem at all like a role he’d pick if he were faking involvement in the film, since there are at least a dozen other characters in the series that people would more readily believe are going to be included in the film. It’s a long reach back into Mario lore, and arguably one that shows a lot of respect for the franchise’s roots. On the other hand, it might rub some fans the wrong way for Mario long-awaited cinematic comeback to portray him as anything other than a plumber, but even Nintendo itself hasn’t always been 100-percent committed to that part of his backstory, and if Detective Pikachu could win over audiences showing its star with a new a different profession than he’s usually portrayed with, maybe some Wrecking Crew inspiration will do the new Mario movie good.

Source: YouTube/Bert Kreischer via Twitter/@Eponge2L via IGN
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Follow Casey on Twitter, where he’s now got the Wrecking Crew stage clear music stuck in his head.