Nintendo announced that Charles Martinet will be stepping away from being the voice actor for Mario, a role he has been the primary steward of for over three decades.
Charles Martinet first took the role of Mario in the early 1990s, where he’d voice the character as part of interactive exhibits at trade shows. Nintendo loved his performance, so the now 67 year-old-actor went on to voice the character in games like Mario Teaches Typing, Mario’s Game Gallery, and most famously, Super Mario 64. After that, Martinet’s lighthearted performance became inseparable from the character, and he went on to voice Mario — as well as many other characters in the Super Mario Bros. universe, like Luigi, Wario, and Waluigi — in over 120 games.
While Chris Pratt voiced the titular character in The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Charles Martinet still cameoed in the movie as Mario and Luigi’s dad and an original character named Giuseppe. Because Charles Martinet is so closely tied to the Super Mario Bros. series, this announcement from Nintendo is quite shocking. The company says he’s taking a new role as a “Mario Ambassador,” but that “with this transition, he will be stepping back from recording character voices for our games.”
Digital Trends reached out to Nintendo to see if Martinet will still be portraying the character in this October’s Super Mario Bros. Wonder and will update the article when we get a response.
While this is a sad announcement for Super Mario Bros. fans, it’s not the last we’re going to see of Charles Martinet. The fact that he’s now a Mario Ambassador means that “he’ll continue to travel the world sharing the joy of Mario and interacting with you all,” according to Nintendo, and he’ll also appear in a video alongside Shigeru Miyamoto that’s releasing sometime soon.