Actor Charles Martinet, known as the voice of Mario, Luigi, and Wario in Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros. games for three decades, will no longer voice those characters, Nintendo announced Monday. Martinet will segue into the role of “Mario Ambassador,” in which he will continue to “travel the world sharing the joy of Mario,” Nintendo said in a statement posted on the social platform formerly known as Twitter.
“It has been an honor working with Charles for so many years and we want to thank and celebrate him,” Nintendo added, saying it would post a video message featuring Martinet and Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto “at a future date.”
Martinet confirmed the news on social media writing, “My new Adventure begins! You are all Numba One in my heart!”
Nintendo fans first noticed a change to the voices of Mario and Wario in recent trailers for Super Mario Bros. Wonder and WarioWare: Move It!, two new games coming to Nintendo Switch this fall. In an email to Polygon, Nintendo confirmed Martinet would not appear in Wonder: “While Charles is not involved in the game, we’re excited to honor his legacy and contributions, including looking ahead to what he’ll be doing as a Mario Ambassador.”
Martinet, 67, has been the identifiable voice behind Mario since 1991. He first started performing Mario’s chipper, exaggerated Italian-flavored voice for Nintendo at trade shows. He went on to record the character’s voice, for the first time in a Nintendo game, in Super Mario 64, released in 1996. Since then, Martinet has been the voice of Mario in dozens of games, expanding his vocal range to include voices for Luigi, Wario, Waluigi, Baby Luigi, and Baby Mario.
But for The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Nintendo and Illumination enlisted Chris Pratt as the voice of Mario. For Luigi, Charlie Day stepped in. Martinet himself appeared in the film in two charming cameos: Giuseppe and Mario’s dad.
Update (Sept. 7): Nintendo released its promised video message featuring Charles Martinet and Shigeru Miyamoto, in which the pair mostly reminisce about the voice actor’s decades-long stint as the voices of Mario, Luigi, Wario, and Waluigi. Miyamoto notes that in the upcoming Super Mario Bros. Wonder “the voices of some Mario characters have become new,” but Nintendo is not yet revealing who will be taking over for Martinet as the voice of those Mushroom Kingdom characters.