Yes, You May Need An Explainer For The Kong Family Tree In The Super Mario Bros. Movie

"The Super Mario Bros. Movie" is finally in theaters, and it's on like Donkey Kong! (Look, we were never going to make it through this article if I didn't use that line, so I got it out of the way early.) Donkey Kong is one of the main characters, and he's voiced by Seth Rogen. As you've likely seen in the trailers, DK is a bit of a blowhard and a goofball, but what he really wants in life is to impress his dad Cranky Kong (Fred Armisen). When Princess Peach (Anya Taylor-Joy), Toad (Keegan-Michael Key), and Mario (Chris Pratt) set off to rescue Luigi (Charlie Day) and beat Bowser (Jack Black) once and for all, they need the help of the Kongs and their army to do so. To convince them, Mario has to beat DK in an arena battle. 

The Kongs (they're not all related, despite that last name, but then again, all Toads are Toads, but also, one of them is named Toad) is a bit complex, and if it's been a while since you played the games, or it was just all too much to keep track of, /Film is here to assist. Let us give you a bit of a rundown on the Kongs, from the bigger characters in the film to a few you might not remember at all. 

Cranky Kong, who didn't always have that name

In the film, Cranky Kong is ruling Donkey Kong Island. He's got a long white beard and a fancy crown. You might think of him as the grandpa of the game, and you're not wrong, though in the film, he's Donkey Kong's dad. Let me explain. 

Cranky was the original Donkey Kong from the game of the same name in 1981. He's sometimes called Donkey Kong Sr. This grumpy guy escaped from a circus in Big Ape City, and in more recent games, he acts as a sort of guide. He loves his son DK Jr. but can be a bit surly towards his grandson DK III. Yes, friends, like trying to keep track of someone named William or Edward in British history, these guys all have the same name, and it's confusing. Basically, in the games, he's the grandpa now. In the movie, he's the dad of Rogen's Donkey Kong, so we're dealing with the first and second generations here, despite some of the clothing cues, which I'll talk about. 

This will get more confusing later because of another appearance, but hey, no one has explained how long the Kongs live. Cranky was once married to Wrinkly Kong (and one assumes that she had a previous name as well because otherwise, her parents were just jerks), who first appeared in "Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest." She has since passed away and appeared as a ghost in "Donkey Kong 64." RIP. 

Donkey Kong Jr. and Donkey Kong III

Donkey Kong Jr. first appeared in "Donkey Kong Game & Watch" in 1984. It appears that he is the son of Cranky Kong and the father of the modern Donkey Kong (the Third), though there are no Kong birth certificates to look at. This version of the character often wears a white leotard of sorts with a "J" on it for Junior. 

In "The Super Mario Bros. Movie," however, the Donkey Kong character wears a red tie with a "DK" on it (as seen in the picture above), which is what his son Donkey Kong III wears in the games. (Later, as you can see from some of the trailers, when he uses a fire flower power-up, he has a white tie instead.) The thing is, he calls Cranky "Dad," and they clearly have a father/son relationship. 

So he's dressed like DK III (mostly) but named simply Donkey Kong in the credits, so I think it's being implied here that this is the second generation, not the third. That gets confusing because of the appearance of Diddy and Dixie Kong during the stadium scene. In the games, DK III is the uncle of Diddy, and DK Jr. is his grandfather (meaning he had more than one kid). 

My personal guess here is that they sort of smooshed Jr. and III into one person, but we'll have to wait and see if any sequels appear and if they give him a kid or not. (By the way, a baby version of DK III appeared in "Yoshi's Island DS" and "Mario Super Sluggers." He has a girlfriend named Candy Kong, though I didn't catch her in the film.)

Diddy and Dixie Kong

Diddy Kong is Donkey Kong Jr.'s grandson, and Donkey Kong III's nephew. He's clearly a different species with his tail and smaller body shape, but as I am no expert in primate genetics, that is just a guess. He often wears a red Nintendo cap and a red tank top. He first appeared in "Donkey Kong Country" (along with DK III's first appearance) in 1994. Diddy always sort of appeared to be a goofball and pretty inexperienced as far as video game heroics when he first shows up. Diddy has a single line in the film during the stadium scene. Again, I assume the studio sort of lumped DK Jr. and DK III together for this because if the Donkey Kong we see in the film is Diddy's grandfather, that brings up a whole lot of questions about primate skin care and aging. 

Next to Diddy in the film is his girlfriend, Dixie Kong (no relation). Her first appearance was in 1995 in "Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest." She was the first female playable Kong character. She usually wears pink and has a blond ponytail. (Again, I have questions about the beauty routines here.) Her younger sister is Tiny Kong, though, in later games, Tiny shows up with an older appearance because these Kongs have mastered the concept of aging ... or maybe they're time travelers? Wizard monkeys? The mind boggles.

The Kongs

There are a few other relatives that it's worth mentioning, even though they're not featured in the film. That is a huge stadium, and they could certainly be there somewhere.

There's Kiddy Kong ("Donkey Kong Country 3"), who is a baby in blue pajamas, and the younger brother of Chunky Kong ("Donkey Kong 64), who wears a blue vest. They're the cousins of Dixie and Tiny.

I mentioned Candy Kong earlier, who has a sort of human body and some blond hair (and might be DK III's mom if she did end up marrying DK Jr.). Swanky Kong and Funky Kong have been rumored (because primates gossip, I guess) to be the other sons of Cranky Kong, aka Donkey Kong Sr. That is not confirmed, but if it's true, one of them might be Diddy's dad.

Finally, there is Lanky Kong, who appeared in "Donkey Kong 64." He's a cousin of Cranky, maybe, and also called "a twisted twig on a distant branch of the family tree" in the instructions for "Donkey Kong 64." He appears to be related in some way to the Manky Kongs, who are villains that appear sort of like orangutans. He's on the side of the good guys, though.

There are a zillion minor characters in the Kong family tree, but that should get you up to speed for "The Super Mario Bros. Movie."