The new voice of Mario has been revealed: Kevin Afghani is the actor behind Mario (and Luigi) in Super Mario Bros. Wonder, Nintendo confirmed on Friday. Afghani replaces actor Charles Martinet, who provided Mario’s chipper wahoos and it’s-a-mes for more than 25 years.
Afghani announced his involvement in Super Mario Bros. Wonder on X, formerly known as Twitter, tweeting, “Incredibly proud to have voiced Mario and Luigi in Super Mario Bros. Wonder. Thanks to Nintendo for inviting me into the Flower Kingdom!” Nintendo confirmed the role in an email to Polygon.
On his social media and personal website, Afghani describes himself as a “voice actor and big nerd.” He said he “decided to become a voice actor for a single reason; my absolute love for animation and video games. They are some of the most genuinely exciting forms of art that I have ever seen. Characters that exist only within the context of their media allow this art to transform into a beautifully immersive experience like no other. Whether that experience is fun, bubbly, dark, or moving, this art form is truly amazing and I absolutely had to become a part of it.”
Afghani’s IMDB credits include voice work on Genshin Impact (as Arnold) and in animated shorts for the YouTube channel Mashed. In other words, he’s a relative newcomer to the business of video game voice acting, despite his major new gig.
Nintendo announced in August that Martinet would no longer serve as the identifiable voice of Mario beginning with Super Mario Bros. Wonder. Martinet will still work with Nintendo in the role of “Mario Ambassador,” in which he will continue to “travel the world sharing the joy of Mario,” Nintendo said in a statement at the time.
Mario fans first noticed a change to the voices of Mario (and Wario) in trailers for Super Mario Bros. Wonder and WarioWare: Move It! released this summer. Martinet, 67, had been the exaggerated Italian-flavored voice behind Mario since 1991, when he first started performing 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.
Earlier this year, actor Chris Pratt voiced Mario in The Super Mario Bros. Movie, with Charlie Day providing the voice of his twin brother Luigi. Martinet cameoed in the Mario movie as Mario and Luigi’s father, and as an original character named Giuseppe.