A popular video game fan theory that has gained a lot of traction is the theory that Luigi is actually dead in his first ever solo game Luigi’s Mansion.
In the Nintendo 64’s Super Mario 64, the first Mario game in the main canon to not feature the word “Bros.” in its Japanese release title, Luigi makes no appearance as a playable or non-playable character. Mario, Bowser, Peach, Toad and even Yoshi all appear in the game. You don’t even find any pictures of Luigi in Peach’s castle. Video game players wasted countless hours scouring every inch of the virtual world, hoping to find the green plumber with no luck. They did find something quite gruesome though: a monument dedicated to Luigi in what can only be described as a graveyard in the castle courtyard. The courtyard is infested with Boos, with Luigi’s monument at the centre of a fountain. In the middle of the fountain is a plaque with a statue of a star atop it, and the plaque reads some jarbled text. Although there is much controversy what this text reads, the general consensus is that it says “L is Real 2401”, obviously a reference to our green friend. This monument is a tombstone, and Luigi is arguably buried in the courtyard. We should note that Luigi didn’t make an appearance in Nintendo’s follow-up game Super Mario Sunshine on the Gamecube either.
Image credit: Nintendo
Then we get the Gamecube’s next game in the Mario series, Luigi’s Mansion. This featured Luigi in a strange turn for the Mario series, as the titular character explored a dark, rotting and abandoned mansion, hunting ghosts and spectres. Why was Luigi’s first solo game so morbid, depressing and all about death? Luigi starts the game thinking that his brother Mario has been kidnapped by King Boo and is being held hostage in the mansion. He then enters the grand, ghost-infested mansion with his Poltergust machine, invented by scientist E. Gadd. Rumour has it that the beta version gave Luigi just 24 hours to find his brother before Mario would be lost forever. During the game, when Luigi is attacked or startled by ghosts, his shadow disappears, even if the room is well-lit. His shadow only returns once his ghostly encounter is over and he regains his composure. You may be asking, if Luigi is a ghost then why are the other ghosts after him? Well, when the ghosts chase after him they look quite jovial; these ghosts are simply the playful dead, inviting Luigi to accept his fate and join their legion of the dead. Luigi must be in denial or is ignorant of his own death. When he feels safe, everything appears as it should, but when he gets startled things start to fall apart and he loses the thought of his shadow.
The most damning and infamous piece of evidence suggesting Luigi’s death is discovered by lighting up the Telephone Room on the top floor of the mansion. If you do so and wait long enough, lightning will strike outside and show a flash of truth on the wall … a shadow of a dead Luigi suspended in mid-air.
We must mention that Luigi returned in the Nintendo Wii’s Super Mario Galaxy. We believe that Nintendo back-tracked on the whole ‘Luigi is dead in Luigi’s mansion’ thing. They couldn’t leave him dead forever. After all, there’s too much money involved in Luigi and the Mario franchise.