Mario Kart 8 is the game that just keeps going. Despite releasing on the Wii U almost a decade ago, the Switch version of the popular kart racer is still going strong with heaps of DLC in the form of the Booster Course Pass. When Nintendo announced the Booster Course Pass would contain eight waves of brand-new tracks, fans were ecstatic. Then, with Wave 4, something incredible happened: Nintendo dropped the first new character since the Wii U version received the Link and Inkling racers.
Birdo, the recurring Mario series enemy, returned as a playable driver with the most recent wave of Mario Kart DLC. She offers a new medium-heavy class character for racers to pick, increasing the game’s replayability and strategic depth. Moreover, Birdo’s appearance coincided with the addition of five new question mark symbols on the racer select screen, making it clear that Nintendo has plans to bring even more characters into the fold.
In a recent video, Nintendo announced that the five additional characters would be returning racers from past Mario Kart titles. With that in mind, let’s count down the five most likely DLC characters that could be arriving in Mario Kart 8 Deluxe in the subsequent Booster Course Pass waves.
Wii DK Summit – Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: Booster Course Pass pic.twitter.com/XI29LQmgMO— Daily Mario Kart Music (@DailyMKMusic) March 26, 2023
The most glaring omission from Mario Kart 8’s roster on release was Diddy Kong, Donkey Kong’s adorable chimp sidekick. Diddy once starred in his own beloved racing game, Diddy Kong Racing, and made subsequent appearances in games like Mario Kart Wii.
Fans speculated that Diddy Kong might be a DLC character all the way back when the game was still a Wii U exclusive, but newcomers like Link and Inkling took up the first DLC slots. Now that Nintendo is giving older characters a chance to return, though, Diddy Kong feels like a no-brainer. He could occupy the Lightweight class, helping to balance out the roster of playable DLC characters.
There’s a bit more speculation regarding the upcoming characters–some fans have looked at the returning tracks that are likely to appear in the future Booster Course waves as signals for forthcoming characters. Birdo, for example, was marketed alongside the Yoshi’s Island tracks. Diddy Kong, then, would make sense to release in a wave with the recently data-mined course “Mob DK.”
Everyone’s favorite NES peripheral (and Nintendo roster-filler) ROB could be the next Heavy-class racer for Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. ROB was a playable driver in Mario Kart DS, filling the role of a heavy bruiser with a goofy 80s-style design and an unmistakable silhouette. This was around the same time that Nintendo started putting the long-forgotten toy peripheral into several of its rosters, like his appearance in Super Smash Bros Brawl.
ROB would check a few exciting boxes for Mario Kart 8. For one thing, he’d provide a much-needed boost to the Heavyweight class, as well as offering another non-humanoid racer in a roster full of bipedal characters. For another thing, he’d help Nintendo bring back one of its numerous toy-themed race tracks.
There are still a few “real-world” inspired tracks in Mario Kart’s history that haven’t made their way to MK8. ROB would be a perfect fit alongside one of these tracks. Alternatively, Nintendo could just give the big guy his own new track–maybe an NES-style throwback track?
GBA Riverside Park – Mario Kart 8 Deluxe: Booster Course Pass pic.twitter.com/NlgFdGXOA5— Daily Mario Kart Music (@DailyMKMusic) March 23, 2023
Nintendo has been using Pauline a lot more recently in their newer Mario games. She featured prominently in Donkey Kong back in the 80s as the “damsel in distress” that Mario had to save from the titular ape. These days, she’s been the Mayor of New Donk City in Odyssey and even a playable driver in Mario Kart Tour for mobile devices.
Pauline would likely be a Medium weight class character in MK8. This would help balance the roster of DLC drivers out considerably, and she’s one of the few humanoid Mario characters that hasn’t appeared in the game yet.
Naturally, Pauline could appear alongside a track themed after New Donk City. That would let Nintendo synergize the Booster Course wave with Odyssey–and incorporate that game’s absolutely outstanding musical score into Mario Kart 8.
Petey Piranha, who last appeared as a playable driver in Mario Kart Double Dash, could be the game’s next Very Heavy-class driver. Currently, MK8 only has four Very Heavy drivers, which makes Petey an obvious contender for a slot. Petey was one of the heaviest playable characters in Double Dash, owing to his first appearance in Super Mario Sunshine presenting him as an enormous boss monster.
The character is also a beloved fan pick because of his goofy personality. Interestingly enough, Piranha Plant was the first DLC expansion character for Super Smash Bros Ultimate, lending a bit more support to the idea that Nintendo might have him high on their radar for updates. Beyond this, there’s ample evidence that the next Booster Course wave could include a very thematic course for the big plant monster.
Piranha Plant Cove hasn’t been updated for MK8 yet, and, as such, it could be just around the corner. The Cove has numerous statues of Petey and features NPC Piranha Plants in the background, which would make it the perfect marketing opportunity for a Booster Course wave. That is, of course, assuming that Nintendo wants to put another highly competitive Very Heavy character in the game.
🏁The checkered flag has dropped!🏁— Nintendo Versus (@NintendoVS) March 26, 2023
With a dominating performance Kevo is your #MarioKart8 Deluxe Championship Cup 2023 winner! pic.twitter.com/KpegKfkkOX
Bowser’s wizard pal Kamek could also make an appearance as a DLC character for MK8. He’s often spotted flying around on his broomstick in mainline Mario games, serving as a secondary antagonist and acting as Bowser’s hype man. The character will also play a role in the upcoming Super Mario movie, making him a more obvious pick than he might already seem.
Interestingly enough, Kamek was likely meant to be in Mario Kart 64 before getting cut for time. He also might have been planned for Mario Kart 8 before the game’s release, as data miners found evidence of an emblem for the character in the game’s files.
Kamek could appear alongside a track like Bowser’s Castle. While the iconic Bowser’s Castle is already in the game, Nintendo could feature the character alongside a course made to resemble the upcoming movie!