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SYFY WIRE Super Mario

Charles Martinet, Longtime Voice of Super Mario, Retires from Iconic Nintendo Role; New Actor Announced

Martinet has voiced the beloved plumber for over three decades.

By Josh Weiss

Charles Martinet, the voice of Super Mario (as well as a number of other Mushroom Kingdom mainstays like Luigi, Wario, and Waluigi) for over three decades, is officially retiring from the iconic role, Nintendo confirmed on X, formerly known as Twitter.

He has been replaced with Kevin Afghani, who will voice Mario and Luigi in the upcoming Super Mario Bros. Wonder (on sale for the Nintendo Switch next Friday — October 20). "Thanks to Nintendo for inviting me into the Flower Kingdom!" he wrote on X, referring to the game's new setting. Afghani's previous voice-over credits include Genshin Impact and Dragonball R&R. As Variety notes, it is unclear whether the actor will continue voicing Mario & Co. in future titles, or if his involvement with Wonder is a one-time gig.

With that said, Martinet won't be giving up the overalls and mustache that easily. Instead, he'll now occupy the job of "Mario Ambassador," reads the official announcement. "With this transition, he will be stepping back from recording character voices for our games, but he'll continue to travel the world sharing the joy of Mario and interacting with you all! 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."

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The company also released a special video message from Martinet and Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto

"I am deeply grateful for your thoughtfulness when bringing our characters to life with your voice," Miyamoto said. "I look forward to seeing you enjoy the moments with Nintendo fans at events all around the world."

"For many years, it's been a privilege to bring your amazingly wonderful characters to life," added Martinet, cheerfully referring to Miyamoto as "Papa!" He continued: "I am completely and joyed. Thank you."

Nintendo announces retirement of longtime Super Mario actor Charles Martinet

Is Charles Martinet voicing Mario in Super Mario Bros. Wonder?

No. Charles Martinet will not be voicing Mario in the Super Mario Bros. 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," Nintendo said in a statement provided to GameSpot. When asked who would be replacing Martinet, the company replied: "Character voice actors will be credited in the game credits, so please wait for the game to be released."

This means that Martinet's final in-game performance as the plumber was in last year's Mario + Rabbids Sparks of Hope.

Super Mario Bros. Wonder — which has been described as "the next evolution of 2D side-scrolling" — promises a number of whimsical power-ups never before seen in the Mario canon, including an elephantine transformation.

How did Charles Martinet land the role of Nintendo's Super Mario?

Speaking with Great Big Story in 2017, Martinet recalled how he nearly missed the audition that would change his life.

"I was walking in as they were walking out, finished for the day," he said. "And I said, 'Can I read for this?' The guy looked at his watch and he goes, 'Ugh, alright. Come on in. You're an Italian plumber from Brooklyn, a character in a video game for Nintendo called Mario. So make up a voice, make up a video game, start talking.' And I thought to myself, 'Video game? I don't know anything about video games.' All the sudden I hear 'Action!' and I go, 'Hello, I'm-a Mario! Lets-a make-a pizza pie together!'"

The actor continued in that vein until the casting official ran out of tape and said they'd be in touch. His hopes of landing the gig, however, weren't very high. "I thought that was, 'Okay, there's the door. We'll see you later.' He calls Nintendo [and says] 'I found our Mario! I got him!'"

Martinet debuted via Mario Teaches Typing in 1992, before solidifying the character's legendary voice several years later in the groundbreaking Super Mario 64. In 2018, he set a world record for "Most Video Game Voiceover Performances as the Same Character.

Martinet recently enjoyed two minor roles in The Super Mario Bros. Movie as Mario and Luigi's father and a cheerful Brooklyn native named Giuseppe who uses Mario's Italian accent from the games. Stream the film on Peacock right here!