Three Shadows

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Three Shadows
Group artwork of the Three Shadows in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (Nintendo Switch)
Beldam, Marilyn, and Vivian of the Three Shadows
First appearance Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (2004)
Latest appearance Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door (Nintendo Switch) (2024)
Leader Beldam
Members
“Let's go, my lovelies! Marilyn! Vivian! Come! We've got a job to do!”
Beldam, Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door

The Three Shadows, originally known as the Shadow Sirens, are three ghostly witches in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door and its Nintendo Switch remake who serve the Shadow Queen. They consist of Beldam, Marilyn, and Vivian, who is later replaced by Doopliss once Vivian splinters from the group and becomes one of Mario's party members. The Three Shadows aid Sir Grodus and the X-Nauts in their quest for the Crystal Stars, and attempt to retrieve the Magical Map from Mario and his party to free their queen, though their help to Grodus and the X-Nauts is only out of convenience of using their resources rather than a true loyalty. They manipulate Grodus into believing he will control the queen upon her release; however, once the queen is free, they betray Grodus to serve the queen directly.

Beldam, the leader of the Three Shadows, is often forgetful and on more than one occasion blames Vivian for her own faults. Despite this, Beldam appears to have the strongest affinity for magic among the group. Marilyn is the biggest and physically strongest of the sisters, though she appears to lack communication skills and generally only grunts "Guh". Unlike Marilyn, who is happy to follow Beldam's every command, Vivian is more independently minded. The youngest of the sisters, she eventually defects from the group due to their mistreatment of her and instead joins Mario to help him stop the queen's revival. After Vivian's departure, Doopliss, a Duplighost with a knack for disguising himself, offers his skills to the group and joins them as the third member.

History[edit]

Paper Mario series[edit]

Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door[edit]

In the Prologue, Beldam disguises herself as a merchant in Rogueport and convinces Princess Peach, who has stopped in Rogueport with Toadsworth on her vacation, to open a box containing the Magical Map. Beldam explains the box can only be opened by one "pure of heart", like Peach. When Peach's curiosity gets the better of her and she opens the box, Beldam kidnaps her and sends her to Sir Grodus at the X-Naut Fortress on the Moon.

The Three Shadows in the Boggly Woods

Mario's first encounter with the Three Shadows come in Chapter 2, when they attempt to take the map, which has come into his possession, from him in Boggly Woods. Initially, Beldam loses the sketch the X-Natus gave to them to identify Mario, which leads to Mario and his party walking by them without them realizing who he is. Beldam blames Vivian for the loss of the sketch, though she protests and explains it had always been in Beldam's possession. Beldam asserts that Vivian was too focus on the Necklace she found and that is why the sketch was lost. Mario remembers hearing this argument when Flurrie asks him to find the Necklace after she lost it on a stroll through the woods. Once Mario returns to reclaim the Necklace, the Three Shadows identify him as the one they're after and attack him. Before their battle, the Three Shadows formally introduce themselves, though Vivian calls the trio the "Three Shadow Sisters" ("Shadow Beauties" in the original), much to Beldam's chagrin. After Mario and his party defeat the witches, they flee, with Vivian dropping the Necklace. They return to the X-Naut Fortress, where they explain to Grodus that they lost to Mario but have a new weapon that will ensure their victory on their next encounter.

In Chapter 4, the Three Shadows plan to attack Mario and his party in Twilight Town using an explosive item called the Superbombomb. Unfortunately for them, the group loses the explosive and Beldam again blames Vivian for losing it despite it never being in her possession, and forces her to look for it. After Mario has his identity stolen by Doopliss, he encounters a distraught Vivian, who fruitlessly searches for the Superbombomb. Mario finds it for Vivian, resulting in her joining his party in gratitude, though she is unaware of his true identity. This is especially helpful given the other party members have all abandoned Mario, thinking Doopliss is the true Mario and Mario himself is an imposter. Mario and Vivian head to the Creepy Steeple to confront Doopliss and reclaim Mario's identity; however, once Doopliss reveals Mario's true identity, Vivian abandons him, feeling betrayed after learning she teamed up with her enemy. After a brief self-reflection, Vivian decides to stay with Mario and rejoins the battle. The two defeat Doopliss, gaining the Ruby Star and winning back Mario's identity. With his party members back on his side, Mario explains Vivian's situation to the rest of his party, who are glad to welcome her. Following his defeat, Doopliss joins the Three Shadows to seek revenge on Mario for defeating him.

The Shadow Sirens stealing the Garnet Star in Poshley Sanctum.
Beldam, Marilyn, and Doopliss stealing the Garnet Star

When Mario and his partners board the Excess Express in Chapter 6, Mario's partner notices a Threatening Note on the floor in their room. After reading it, they wonder if Beldam is the one behind the threat of a "sticky, yummy doom". On the morning of the second day, the Businessman's Briefcase containing the prototype of Nitro Honey Syrup is stolen, along with Toodles' Gold Ring and the waitress' Shell Earrings. The culprit is initially thought to be fellow passenger Zip Toad, though it is ultimately revealed that the thief was Doopliss disguised as Zip Toad. After being exposed, Doopliss flees to train while it is stopped at Riverside Station. The train continues to its final destination, Poshley Heights, after the stop at Riverside, though it is attacked by Smorgs along the way. There, Mario finds that the Three Shadows have infiltrated Poshley Sanctum and stolen to Garnet Star. Pennington, however, explains that the star they stole was actually a decoy and guides Mario to finding the actual star, hidden within the sanctum.

While Mario and his party venture through the Palace of Shadow in Chapter 8, upon opening the secret path to the Shadow Queen's lair, the Three Shadows ambush them again and fight them one last time. After Mario and company defeats them, they lay on the ground dazed. While all of Mario's other party members will comment "Let's leave these..." followed by some sort of insult ("doofuses", "louts", "idiots") upon speaking to them, Vivian will say "I'm sorry, Sis..." Once Grodus awakens the Shadow Queen from her eternal rest only to be attacked by her, Beldam takes full credit for awakening the queen. She reveals that she has been orchestrating the Shadow Queen's revival from the very start, and explains how Three Shadows manipulated Grodus into thinking he could control the queen.

In Goombella's letter to Mario after defeating the Shadow Queen, she mentions that Vivian has reunited with her sisters, who have agreed to stop being evil, and Beldam has promised to be nicer to Vivian.

Super Paper Mario[edit]

Unused graphics for Vivian, along with the other partners from previous games, exists with in Super Paper Mario, suggesting she was intended to have a role in the game. In the final game, however, she only appears in a group picture with the other partners and as a Catch Card, which mentions Beldam and Marilyn.

Super Smash Bros. Brawl[edit]

Though neither Beldam nor Marilyn appear in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Vivian serves as a sticker. The sticker increases the attack power of energy-related attacks by 5 points and can be used by any fighter.

Super Mario Run[edit]

The Three Shadows had a minor cameo in Super Mario Run (ver. 3.2.0) on promotional artwork in the game during its celebration of the release of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door for Nintendo Switch, though their presence on the in-game alert for the event was their only appearance in the game.

Physical appearances[edit]

The Three Shadows are purple ghosts with a wisp-like tail that appears to have infinite length in place of legs. Although their tails are connected to the ground, it is shown that they can be disconnected from the ground in their defeated animations. Being sisters, the Three Shadows have similar designs, with the main difference being their body types; Beldam is short and thin, Marylin is large and portly, and Vivian is medium-height with a pudgy belly. Beldam also has a long, pointy nose, which the other two do not have, and has a toothy grin in place of her sisters' small mouths. The Three Shadows also wear white gloves, and have differently designed hair; Beldam has light-purple hair tucked behind her, Marilyn has an orange bang, and Vivian has pink, swirly hair. Marilyn and Vivian both have pink and orange blushes on their cheeks, while Beldam does not.

They each wear white-striped witch hats of a different color, covering their eyes. The color of each of the Three Shadows' hats is a reference to their attacks. Beldam's hat is blue; she can use blizzard to freeze Mario and his partner in the second battle. Marilyn's hat is yellow; she can use thunder to attack in the second battle. Vivian's hat is red; she can use many fire attacks as Mario's partner. Concept art included in the remake reveals that the trio were also planned to have tassels at the ends of their hats corresponding to these elements; one relic of this can be found in the GameCube version's data, as an early, unused sprite of Vivian still depicts her with a flame tassel on her hat. The concept art in the remake reveals that the Three Shadows were originally designed as bedsheet ghosts before being redesigned as black, blob-like humanoids. Their skin would be changed to purple by the time the early Vivian sprite was created.

Gallery[edit]

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese カゲ三人組
Kage Sannin-gumi
Shadow Trio

Chinese (simplified) 影子三人组
Yǐngzi Sān Rénzǔ
Shadow Trio

Chinese (traditional) 影子三人組
Yǐngzi Sān Rénzǔ
Shadow Trio

Dutch Schaduwsirenes
Shadow Sirens
French Obscur Trio
Dark Trio
German Schattentrio
Shadow Trio
Italian Trisdombra
Three Shadows
Korean 그림자삼인조
Geurimja Saminjo
Shadow Trio

Spanish (NOA) Las Tres Sombras
The Three Shadows
Spanish (NOE) Trío de las Sombras
Shadow Trio

Trivia[edit]

References[edit]