In some modern Super Mario games, our favorite ex-plumber and Mushroom Kingdom savior tends to pair up with quirky new sidekicks. In Super Mario Sunshine, it was the animate water-sprayer F.L.U.D.D. In Super Mario Galaxy, we meet the space princess Rosalina and the Lumas. This time, in Super Mario Odyssey, we get Cappy, a ghost-hat that grants Mario the ability to possess — “Capture” is the official term Nintendo is using — other creatures and inanimate objects.
Sure Cappy looks fun and harmless enough. But we know so little about him, it’s actually quite terrifying.
What Is Cappy, Exactly?
We don’t definitively know what Cappy is. Is he a ghost hat — the ghost of a dead hat — or is he a hat that is possessed by a ghost? Given how the hat seems to be the main feature of his body and takes the place of any head, it seems like it could go either way. If he’s the ghost of a dead hat, well, then we need to clarify what exactly makes a hat dead. If he’s a ghost wearing a hat, then why is he carrying something physical around with him that undoubtedly prevents him from doing more ghosty things like floating through walls?
But if he is a ghost wearing a hat, it doesn’t explain this: This hat-ghost can also transform into different types of hats. This begs the question: are his transformations only limited to hats? If he can change his corporeal being so easily than what’s to stop him from taking, say, a human form, or something scarier? Like a clown, perhaps? Why only hats? What is his connection to hats? If he is carrying around a physical hat, and he can alter the molecular structure of the hat to be another kind of hat, then Cappy must be incredibly powerful given he can bend matter to his will.
Can Cappy Read His Victims’ Minds?
In Super Mario Odyssey, Mario can throw Cappy at other creatures, people, and objects to “Capture” them, a.k.a. possess and control their being for some amount of time. This kind of power alone is sinister enough, but we can’t help but wonder just how much control Cappy has once he’s “Captured” someone. Can he read their thoughts? Discover their darkest secrets? Given Mario gains complete control over whatever he throws Cappy at, can Mario also read the minds of his victims?
Like the Sorting Hat of Harry Potter fame, Cappy would be an asset to any police investigation. We could just put him on a suspect’s head and Cappy will know whether or not he’s guilty. Cappy could do so much good. Why then is he working with Mario, using his powers to get Mario access to blocked-off areas, complete complex tasks, and in general assist him in bending the world to suit his needs?
Instead of chasing Bowser all over creation, why can’t Mario line up a shot, throw Cappy onto Bowser’s head, and have him control Bowser? Or better yet, wipe the nastiness from Bowser’s head and make him into a good guy? If Cappy can forcefully lead a horse to water, he can definitely scramble a brain to ensure this nonsense doesn’t happen again.
What Happens When Cappy Captures You?
If Cappy — and by extension, Mario — doesn’t have access to the thoughts and memories of his victims, then what happens to the victims’ spirits during Capture? If Cappy grabs them and inserts Mario into their bodies, then what happens to them? Are they flung unceremoniously into the astral plane? Do they fly into limbo and wait there until Mario is finished shambling around in their bodies? Or do they simply go away, never to fully return, reducing a once full life into a shame led by a hollowed shell?
Where do these things go when Mario is in their bodies? And who decides when they return to it — does Cappy? Is Cappy secretly some sort of Grim Reaper, picking and choosing who gets to keep their existence once Mario has discarded them?
What Does This Mean for Boos?
If Cappy can possess both living beings and inanimate objects, and he is most definitely a ghost of some kind, what does this mean for Boos? Boos, you will remember, are the rotund, tongue-wagging ghosts featured in nearly every Mario game. What separates Cappy from them, what makes him special? And if ghosts in Mario’s world have these powers of possession and persuasion, do Boos have them as well?
Think of the ramifications this would have on the Mushroom Kingdom. Some Boos are downright HUGE — how would they fit in someone’s body? — and all are menacing. Have the Boos just not discovered they can possess people yet? What will happen to Mario or poor Luigi the next time they encounter a ghostly Boo horde? Will the Boos pull a Cappy? Or do they not have the same abilities because Cappy is some super-powerful anomaly? Again, we return to the idea that Cappy is more than just a fun hat-ghost, but a being of unparalleled and immeasurable power, and that is just plain terrifying.
How Does Cappy Have a Sister?
Cappy has a sister — a tiara named Tiara. At the start of the events of Super Mario Odyssey, Tiara sits on Princess Peach’s head as a part of her wedding ensemble. Both Peach and Tiara are currently being held by Bowser, and it’s Cappy’s goal to rescue his sister just as Mario is trying to rescue Peach.
Back it up here. How do you establish family in ghost world? What makes Tiara Cappy’s sister — were they ghost siblings, or siblings in real life that died and became ghosts, or as they both bred from the same otherworldly line of demonic hats? Does this mean Tiara can transform into other hats or Capture other objects, too? Why doesn’t she just Capture Bowser and end the whole ordeal — what’s stopping her? What silly ghost-hat rules are holding her back? If she can move independently, can’t she just fly off Peach’s head and return to her brother?
But also, if Cappy seemingly has this crazy power, does that mean Tiara has it too? Unleashing these two hats on the world could spell doom for everyone in them. Nintendo may have created the most quietly horrifying partner for Mario yet.
In the end, signs point to Cappy having the potential to be one of the most powerful, destructive forces in the Mario universe. What a thought. Hopefully we’ll learn more about this heinous headgear when Super Mario Odyssey launches for Nintendo Switch on October 27.