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For some reason I thought the Koopa Paratroopa's wings were the result of some kind of magic spell or effect (like from a Super Leaf or Cape Feather or something), but looking for a specific reference to it I haven't been able to find one. I've tried various Google searches to no avail. I also looked through old instruction manuals where I thought I originally saw something to that effect.

The closest thing I found was a small section referencing Koopa magic in the Super Mario Bros. instruction booklet: "the Koopa, a tribe of turtles famous for their black magic."

I checked out Legends of Localization's translations which gave me a little more information but not what I was looking for. A search on YouTube found me this video about Koopa Troopas which didn't cover where the wings came from just when they first appeared.

Mario Wiki didn't really help either, though there is a reference to the "P" Wing in SMB3 being "Paratroopa" Wing. Although there is also a P-Acorn that seems to call that theory into question.

There are Magic Wings appearing in a few episodes of the Super Mario World animated series but those seem to be the same as the Yoshi's Wings from the Super Mario World SNES game.

The closest information as to wing origins I found was a segment in Peach-Hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen! where a Koopa Paratroopa is bringing food to babies that appear to be greenish birds but might be implied to be baby Paratroopas. It's not much to go on, and probably not canon.

I'm falling back on the power of the internet and diverse knowledge of SE users for a superior working collective knowledge of Mario Bros. lore. Can anyone give me any reference or example of where or how Koopa Paratroopa's get their wings? I'd especially appreciate examples from in game text or dialog, but I'll take whatever I can get at this point.

  • I'd +1 your post, but then you'd loose you nice and neat score of 111 rep. :/ – RedCaio Dec 8 '16 at 8:51
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    ... lore? There's Mario lore? We can't just blame it on Japan, or Miyamoto? – Radhil Dec 8 '16 at 13:15
  • I think most of my difficulty stems from the fact that it wasn't really considered important to explain things in a video game when the Koopa Paratroopas showed up. But there are still interviews or historical data in other games that explain some of the quirks of those old games. (Or just establish contradictory details.) – InternetHobo Dec 8 '16 at 16:55
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    P-Wings being "Paratroopa" wings? Seems a little odd. Will have to do some checking, but it seems more likely that the name come from the fact that the "Run Power" meter that enabled you to fly in Super Mario Bros 3 was a gauge ending with a "P". Since the item basically worked by locking the gauge so that it was always full, it seems appropiate to think that the name was linked to that? – Hitodama Dec 8 '16 at 18:38
  • Yeah, that P-Wing thing seemed a bit flaky to me too. I don't know what the "P" on that meter really stood for either. The P-Acorn seems to make that theory a little less tenable but I was trying to include all my research. – InternetHobo Dec 8 '16 at 21:43
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To my knowledge, there isn't any canon scene either in the old animated shows or in the games that shows a normal, wingless Koopa turning in a Paratroopa either from using an item or getting struck with a magic spell, but there are some clues that may indicate that the wings should be considered a "toggle-able" effect.

  • Paratroopas loses their wings when damaged. This is coherent with what happens when Mario gets damaged: he loses his powers. This may indicate that the wings are an item effect just like Fire/Fierce mode is for Mario.
  • Starting with Super Mario World on SNES, the Koopa shell is shown to be removable, to the point that a shell-less koopa may even decide to jump in an another shell if given the opportunity. Unless we are to assume that shell-less winged Koopa Troopas exist, it is probable that the wings are an attribute of the shell and not of the Koopa using it. The winged spiked shell item in Mario Kart seems to reinforce this idea.
  • Parabones - the winged variant of the original Dry Bone enemy - are a rather odd curve ball. They are the only type of "Paratroopa" that doesn't lose its wing upon being damaged: they just collapse like regular Dry Bones. It is worth noticing though that their wings are made of feather and not bones like the rest of their body - something odd if the wings were an actual part of the Koopa body
  • While in the original game only Paratroopas existed, later games introduced new winged enemies, like the Para-Goomba, the Para-Beetle and so on. Most of them share the same "lose wings on damage" trait the Paratroopas have. It would seem logical to think that all the "Para" kind of enemies were given their powers the same way.
  • Mario Maker has an actual item that can be used on any enemy (and even some vehicles if I remember correctly) to turn it in a winged versions of itself. This makes wings being an item effect canon, at least at a "level design" time. I will have to check if the wings can only be used while editing a level or if it is possible to use leave them on a block and having an enemy get them during the normal gameplay (which would make the item completely canon).
  • there is at least one canon case of a "winged" Koopa that you may fight multiple time and that will grown its wings back "out of the scene" if you had them removed. Paper Mario: The Thousand Years Door has you fight Paratroopas during the Glitz pit arc of the story, and when you fight your way back to the first place again after your records gets erased it is strongly implied that the fighters are all the same since they seem to remember about you.

Also worth noticing that when Mario 64 was about to be release, some rumors where spread about the new power-ups the game included. The feather cap was sometime described as a "pair of wings" that would enable Mario to fly. Sadly, I don't have any of the videogame magazines from that time at hand now but it could indicate that the winged cap was supposed to have another design at some point, something more similar to the item Mario Maker introduced.


UPDATE: after doing some more research, I think that we can safely say that canonically Paratroopas gets their wings from P-Wings powerups.

P-Wings powerup

The original name for the item is パタパタの羽根 - "Patapata no Hane". This translates to "Paratroopa's Wing" (Patapata is the original Japanese name of the Koopa Paratroopa enemy). Considering that the first appearance of the P-Wings item is in Super Mario Bros 3 (1988) and that previously a similar item called just Wing was featured in Super Mario Bros. Special (1986) the naming choice seems rather deliberate.
What is still unclear though is what comes first: the egg or the chicken the item or the turtle? Considering how Whacka Bump are made in Paper Mario (hitting a mole on the head with a big hammer) it is very plausible that P-Wings are just wings that were stolen from a Paratroopa by stomping it. That said it is also worth noticing that there are some minor references in both the comics and the rpg games of regular Troopas wanting to become Paratroopa, so it is more probable that the wings are just an item that Koopas use.

As a final notice, it is worth mentioning that in the spin-off game "Puzzle & Dragons: Super Mario Bros. Edition" promotion of regular Koopa Troopas to Paratroopas is actually possible canonically in-game. All it takes is giving two P-Wings item to a regular Koopa to turn it to its winged variant.

  • A lot of this follows the same lines of my own reasoning. I knew about the wing adding item in Mario Maker but hadn't considered it as a canon item effect. That's probably the closest I've seen so far. Also the "regrown off-screen" wings happens as far back as Super Mario World. If you make a Paratroopa lose their wings, but don't kill them their wings come back and they return to their original position if you walk far enough away. We also see a similar effect happen with blue Super Koopas in that game, which can lose Cape Feathers when damaged. – InternetHobo Dec 9 '16 at 20:18
  • Now I wonder if there's a romhack where you play with a Koopa and the wings are the powerup. – melissa_boiko Apr 9 at 3:36
  • @melboiko I have done some more research based on your idea. Turns out we probably can consider the power up canon. – Hitodama Apr 10 at 9:40
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I don't have the clips, but in the Super mario bros. 3 show, there are scenes that show magikoopas arming the goombas and koopas. I may be speculating, but since some were given armor, and others wings, it seems that the wings were just a magical tool provided to designated members of the koopatroopa army.

  • I'll try looking into that. But it strikes me as odd that the SMB3 show would have Magikoopas since they didn't appear as enemies until Super Mario World. Maybe you were thinking of the later cartoons? – InternetHobo Dec 8 '16 at 22:54

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