Charles Martinet, the voice of Mario, to step back from the role

A nearly 30-year run comes to an end.
By Alex Perry  on 
Charles Martinet posing with a Mario question block
End of an era! Credit: Suzanne Cordeiro/Corbis via Getty Images

This is kind of like when it's time to choose a new Pope, except arguably more important.

The voice of a generation has stepped down, as Mario voice actor Charles Martinet will be "stepping back" from the role that made him famous, according to a statement posted by Nintendo of America. In the statement, Nintendo said Martinet will transition into a new role called "Mario Ambassador," in which he will "continue to travel the world sharing the joy of Mario."

"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," Nintendo's statement read.

While Martinet was not the first person to voice Mario, he was easily the longest-lasting and most iconic. Prior to Martinet's debut in 1994's Mario Teaches Typing on CD-ROM (Nintendo's statement erroneously claims he started with Super Mario 64), Mario had often been given a gruff Brooklyn voice in various TV shows and cartoons. Shout out to Captain Lou. Once Martinet took over, the high-pitched version of Mario with a thick Italian accent who says very little besides his own name became the canonical Mario.

Of course, that could change going forward. It's not yet clear what Nintendo plans to do with Mario's vocal identity, and we don't know yet if Martinet laced up the plumber's boots one final time for the upcoming Super Mario Bros. Wonder. Chris Pratt's take on the character (which was mostly just Chris Pratt talking in his normal voice) made so much money that Nintendo might opt to replicate that in some form or another. Or, they could just find a Martinet sound-alike.

Whatever happens going forward, at least we got nearly 30 years with Martinet's classic Mario voice, and at least it seems like he's going out on his own terms.

Topics Nintendo

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