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Papa (as referred to by his children, Mario and Luigi) is a very minor fictional character in the Super Mario series and its spin-offs. He has made at least four one-time appearances throughout a variety of media, one of which, Yoshi's Island: Super Mario Advance 3, was a re-release of one of his earlier appearances, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. While Papa was living with their mother, Mama Mario, in all these appearances, it has never been confirmed that the two were ever married. However, The Super Mario Bros. Super Show episode "Fake Bro" revealed that Mama Mario had a maiden name, implying that she had been married at one time, and currently shares the last name "Mario" with her boys. Papa's real name has not been revealed.
Papa's personality remains relatively unestablished, having but one speaking role: Super Mario Issun-bōshi. Here, he was shown to be a caring and understanding father figure, cautious for Mario's safety, yet recognizing of his son's need for independence. Across his three unique appearances, his physical features have varied slightly. With the exception of Issun-bōshi, he is portrayed as a skinny man, and in all of his appearances where the color of his clothes are visible, he wears blue and yellow. While his face has always been concealed or obscured (apart from an unconfirmed appearance in merchandising), what could be seen of it in Super Mario Issun-bōshi shows that Papa's face resembles Mario's, as does his mustache. In the documentary about the Super Mario Bros. movie, The Making of... Super Mario Bros., it is said that Mario and Luigi come from a long line of plumbers. Then, in the film itself, it is revealed that the Mario brothers' tools had been passed down from their father's side of the family.
Super Mario Issun-bōshi
Mario and Luigi's father first appeared in the short anime video Super Mario Issun-bōshi, a retelling of the Japanese fairy tale Issun-bōshi with Super Mario characters. Though he is not given a name, Mario refers to his father as "Papa". Through the camera angles used, the father's face is obscured at all times, although what can be seen is similar to his son's: pudgy with a large nose and identical moustache. Also like his son, Papa wears his brown hair in the same style and wears blue overalls. However, his undershirt is yellow instead of red, and he does not wear gloves or a hat.
He and his wife lived in a futuristic house on top of a hill. One day, they were magically granted a son, Mario, who was small enough to fit in his father's hand, even after he had reached adulthood. When Mario grew up, he asked Papa for permission to explore the world on his own. Agreeing that Mario was capable, Papa fashioned his son a motor boat made out of a kitchen bowl, a spoon to row the boat, and a sword made out of a needle. Mario's father saw him off on his first trip, carrying him in the boat to the river's edge.
"Family Album 'The Early Years'"
The character had a small role in the Nintendo Comics System publication, "Family Album 'The Early Years'." In the third photograph, a young, concerned Mario is being chased by his father, who is shaking his fist and holding a smoking pipe with bubbles coming out of it. The caption of the photograph reveals that Mario "fixed" his father's pipe. Mario and Luigi's father appears slightly skinnier than in Super Mario Issun-bōshi and is wearing a light yellow shirt, blue pants, and dress shoes. The father's face is hidden, cut off by the pictures edge.
Super Mario Bros. film
In the Super Mario Bros. film, Papa died when Luigi was still a baby. He was then raised by his older brother Mario, and joked about how Mario was like his father (and his mother). During the film, while Luigi worked to disable the heating in Koopa's tower, Mario told him that his tools were a gift from "Papa," who in turn received them from "Grandpapa." Luigi mockingly repeated what Mario said, indicating that he had heard the same story on many previous occasions.
Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island
At the end of Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island, Mario and Luigi's father made his first video game appearance. The video game's artists portrayed him as a skinny man in a nightshirt of indeterminate color. Only his lower half and hands are seen. Once Yoshi rescued the stork and Baby Luigi, the stork took Baby Mario and Baby Luigi and continued on his way to deliver them to Mama and their father. The video game's narration states that the boys' delivery has been, "long awaited." Flying to a small, unnamed town surrounded by mountains where "mom and dad live", the stork leaves the bundles on the doorstep of a house, which resembles a Mushroom. The parents awake, turn on a light, open the door, and are pleasantly surprised to see their twins have arrived. Luigi is picked up by his father and Mario by his mother.
However, it is revealed in Yoshi's New Island that the parents seen here are not their parents, and the stork made a mistake.
Yoshi's Island DS
The introduction to Yoshi's Island DS features a short retelling of Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island. Baby Mario and Baby Luigi are seen in the hands of one of their parents. Additionally, the introduction shows various children from around Mushroom World being kidnapped by Kamek and his Toady minions. Mario and Luigi are taken from their parents, who are not shown, during the night. The lights are on and red marks indicating commotion emerge from the house during the kidnapping; it is likely, yet unconfirmed that Mario and Luigi's father is one of the people making this commotion.
A Mario-themed food tray depicts a painting of a man implied to be Mario's father. This is the only time his face is shown. His blue overalls and a yellow shirt are consistent with his appearance in Super Mario Issun-bōshi. He is shown having a white moustache and a blue cap similar to Mario's, as well as a white beard.
In the games, Mario and Luigi are Papa's only children, and their mother, Mama Mario, is presumed to be his wife. Earlier sources (such as Family Album "The Early Years" and the game Super Mario Bros.) implied that Mario was older than Luigi, however as of Yoshi's Island, they are usually recognized as twins (however in Japan even twins are divided into older and younger siblings, even if they're only minutes apart). The Super Mario Bros. film also mentioned Mario and Luigi's paternal grandfather, "Grandpapa", who passed down his tools to his son.
The Super Mario Bros. Super Show! introduces many more members of the Mario family. Papa has a pair of nieces named Marianne and Luigeena, and two nephews called Mario Joe and Luigi Bob. As it is not revealed which sides of the family any of the relatives hail from, it is unknown whether Grandma Mia or Grandma Mario is Papa's mother, and whether Aunt Luigeena is his sister or sister-in-law. The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 mentions a second sister/sister-in-law named Aunt Maria.
Names in other languages