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Super Mario voice actor Charles Martinet retires

It’s-a no longer gonna be him.

Image: Nintendo / Charles Martinet's first major role as the plumber was Super Mario 64.
Image: Nintendo / Charles Martinet's first major role as the plumber was Super Mario 64.

During production for The Super Mario Bros Movie, it was announced that Chris Pratt would take the role of the titular plumber. While many fans decried that Charles Martinet should have just taken the role, likely for much cheaper than a Hollywood actor, it was brushed off by Nintendo and by fans that “Hollywood gonna Hollywood”.

However, when the trailer for Super Mario Wonder came out, long-time Nintendo fans took note that Mario sounded slightly different in the Nintendo Direct as well. It didn’t sound like Martinet’s voice in the trailer. People were suspicious, but most just shrugged and joked that at least it wasn’t Chris Pratt.

Cut to today and Nintendo posted a short message on their social media accounts about Charles Martinet. After having the role for over three decades, the Mario, Luigi, Wario, and Waluigi voice actor is finally retiring.

Martinet’s first major role as Mario came during the launch of Super Mario 64. But, many fans already know that he was playing Mario’s voice years before that at trade shows and for smaller marketing projects.

As mentioned, he didn’t just voice Mario. In addition to the title character, he played Mario’s scaredy-cat brother, Luigi, as well as their evil counterparts Wario and Waluigi (wah!).

While he’s been prolific with Nintendo, he’s also done various other roles for other game studios and anime. He was Magenta in Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, for instance, as well as the dragon Paarthurnax in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

In their social media post, Nintendo said that Shigeru Miyamoto and Martinet would be putting out a “special video message” at a future date.

But, it’s not all tears and goodbyes. Charles will still be part of Nintendo as the “brand-new role” of Mario Ambassador. This means that, even though he won’t be the guy recording his voice behind the scenes anymore, he gets to travel the world and continue to delight fans with his voice and infectious personality.

No word yet on who will be taking over the role of Mario officially yet. But, we will likely find out here soon.

I say this from the bottom of my heart, likely on behalf of a lot of people from my generation. Thank you, Charles Martinet, for being such a positive, inspiring part of my childhood. Your voice is iconic and as beloved as Mickey Mouse, Optimus Prime, and Pikachu. Let’s-a go!

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