Charles Martinet, the iconic voice behind everyone’s favorite mustachioed plumber for over 25 years, has transitioned from playing the character into being a “Mario Ambassador” instead, Nintendo recently announced. But there’s one problem: Martinet still doesn’t know what his new role at Nintendo entails.
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Toward the end of August, Nintendo revealed that Martinet would be stepping back from voicing Mario, effective immediately. “He’ll continue to travel the world sharing the joy of Mario and interacting with you all,” the company said in its announcement that Martinet was shifting into the role of “Mario Ambassador.” However, what this new role involves was under wraps as neither Martinet nor Nintendo shared details of exactly what Mario’s former voice actor would be doing, aside from sharing joy and traveling the world. Well, it turns out Martinet also has no clue what he’ll be doing—though he hasn’t retired.
During a panel at the anime and comic event GalaxyCon in Texas over the Labor Day weekend, Martinet spilled the tea on all things Mario and Nintendo. He talked about his career and what he’s getting up to now. The topic of “Mario Ambassador” came up and, behind audience laughs and through minor ramblings, he was pretty candid about what does and doesn’t know.
“You might’ve seen the news, [I’m] a ‘Mario Ambassador,’” Martinet said. “I don’t know what that is yet. I’m not retired, as it were, but I’m an ambassador. And as we step forward into the future, I will learn—we’ll all learn—what exactly that is. But in the meantime, you know, I’ll be ambassading as I always have. I’m always an ambassador of Nintendo and Mario at all of these events because I just cherish every moment of it, and I hope that, you know, your love of the game continues and grows the way mine does. So, thank you so much.”
Folks had an inkling that something was afoot when the first gameplay footage of upcoming platformer Super Mario Bros. Wonder had fans feeling that Mario’s exclamations didn’t quite sound like the Martinet “Wah-ha!”s and “Yahoo!”s we’re so familiar with. I guess this is why: because Martinet has transcended the role, evolving from simply portraying Mario to speaking on behalf of Marios everywhere—or whatever he’ll be doing.
Kotaku reached out to Nintendo for comment.
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It’s unclear who will voice Mario going forward; if Martinet does know something, he certainly didn’t share any deets during his GalaxyCon Austin talk. Nintendo has indicated that we’ll have to wait until Wonder comes out to learn just who has stepped into the old overalls and workboots. So, for now, the jury’s still out on who’s “wahoo-ing” in Wonder. Do you have any theories?