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Mario voice actor Charles Martinet is stepping back from the role

Martinet will remain Mario’s public face
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Charles Martinet, who has voiced Nintendo’s iconic video game character Mario since the 1996 title Super Mario 64, has been announced to have stepped back from the voice acting role. He’ll take on a new position as Nintendo’s Mario Ambassador.

“With this transition, he will be stepping back from recording character voices for our games, but he’ll continue to travel the world sharing the joy of Mario and interacting with you all” Nintendo has communicated.

The statement continued: “It has been an honor working with Charles to help bring Mario to life for so many years and we want to thank and celebrate him.” To this end, a special video with Martinet and Nintendo’s Shigeru Miyamoto will be posted “at a future date.”

A screenshot from Super Mario RPG remake showing Mario holding up a star while various party members from the game look at it

Mario's friends and fans will have to get used to a new voice for him in the future.

This announcement came as a surprise to fans and might be a preparatory measure ahead of gamescom 2023, which is happening this week in Cologne, Germany. Nintendo attends the big gaming convention and will likely show new material from upcoming Super Mario Bros. Wonder – perhaps the difference between Martinet’s voice work and his replacement will be noticeable enough for Nintendo to prevent any debate or controversy by frontloading this information. Keep in mind that this is just a guess: Martinet might well have done the voice work for Wonder as his final mission and the timing might be purely coincidental.

Martinet seemed excited about the development, posting: “My new adventure begins! You are all Numba One in my heart!”

There is no word on his replacement at the moment. Obviously Chris Pratt played Mario in the recent movie, but that should not be an indication that the Hollywood star is taking over fulltime.

Maybe the movie did convince Nintendo to have its characters be a bit more talkative, though, which could have figured into this change.