After it was announced that legendary voice actor Charles Martinet would no longer portray Mario in future Nintendo games (starting with October 20's Super Mario Bros. Wonder) but would become a “Mario Ambassador,” fans were confused. What is a Mario Ambassador? Why isn’t Martinet voicing the Italian-American plumber anymore? Now, Nintendo and Martinet have tried clearing the air with a cute video, but the results are somehow more confusing.
In a video posted to X (formerly Twitter), Martinet and game director Shigeru Miyamoto briefly talk about their past together and their friendship. We learn that Martinet used to call Miyamoto “Papa!” in his signature Mario voice, and that he also nearly banged his head walking into a Kyoto restaurant because he’s reportedly 6-foot 3-inches tall. The short video isn’t just cutesy personal anecdotes, however, as it tries to provide some clarification of just what Martinet’s new role as “Mario Ambassador” is. It still sounds vague, though.
“You traveled the world visiting events, joyfully performing the voice of Mario for fans, and putting smiles on people’s faces,” Miyamoto said of Martinet. “You always place a priority on spreading joy, and I am sure that you will be a great Mario Ambassador. For all of you watching, please know that Charles will continue to travel around the world and meet fans, performing the familiar voices at events, signing autographs, and enjoying interacting with you all.”
We still don’t know who will voice Mario going forward, as Miyamoto said to wait until October to see who’s portraying the mustachioed plumber in the upcoming platformer Wonder, or why Martinent is no longer voicing the character after almost 30 years, but will still be “performing the familiar voices” at fan events. It certainly seems like Nintendo is aware of just how iconic Martinet as Mario is, and wants to hold onto that magic in any way possible–just not by casting Martinet in future Mario games.
We don’t have long to figure out who the hell is portraying Mario now, since Super Mario Bros. Wonder comes out on October 20. October is a crammed month for video games, but for Mario fans, it’ll also be one of both nostalgia and reinvention as the franchise goes in a new gameplay direction with a new voice actor at the helm, whoever that may be.