Charles Martinet, the voice actor who has portrayed Mario since 1991, is stepping down, Nintendo announced Monday morning. Besides voicing the world’s most famous plumber, the 67-year-old Martinet also portrayed Luigi, Wario, Waluigi and the baby versions of these characters in more than one hundred titles across the Mario video game franchise.
“Charles Martinet has been the original voice of Mario in Nintendo games for a long time, as far back as Super Mario 64,” Nintendo wrote. “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.”
Nintendo says that Martinet will stay connected with the Mario universe, taking on a brand new role as “Mario Ambassador.” It’s not super clear what that means, but that’s one hell of a job title.
For the most dedicated Mario fans, Martinet’s departure didn’t come out of left field. In the recent Super Mario Bros. Movie, Martinet relinquished his Mario duties to Chris Pratt, which struck some fans as a weird choice — he did make a cameo as Mario’s father, though. According to Polygon, fans also noticed that Martinet’s iconic voice was missing from trailers from two upcoming Nintendo Switch games, Super Mario Bros. Wonder and WarioWare: Move It. Now, these super Super Mario fans have closure.
“It has been an honor working with Charles to help bring Mario to life for so many years,” Nintendo wrote. The company will soon post a video message from Martinet and Shigeru Miyamoto, Nintendo executive and Mario creator, as a final send off.