After weeks of wonder (heh) and speculation, Nintendo is finally giving longtime Mario voice actor Charles Martinet a proper send-off. Nintendo released a short video featuring Martinet and Nintendo executive Shigeru Miyamoto in which the pair take a fond look back at Martinet’s time in the role.
It’s a short, sweet video, Martinet is his typical enthusiastic self, dropping iconic lines from the Mario characters he voices. He also finally explains exactly what the hell a Mario ambassador is (something he apparently wasn’t too clear on himself not that long ago, based on comments he made at a convention.)
“I’m stepping into a new role as the Mario ambassador, woo-hoo,” Martinet said. “Traveling around the world sharing the joy of the Mario family and being able to continue meeting with all of you wonderful fans who I absolutely cherish the most.”
Back in August, Nintendo announced that Martinet, who has performed in its games as Mario since 1996, would be stepping away from voicing the character and into a new role as a Mario ambassador. The announcement confirmed fan speculation that the voice in the new Super Mario Bros. Wonder was someone new. Though we now know Martinet will not be performing in Wonder, Nintendo has steadfastly refused to say who is picking up the plunger. In an interview with IGN, Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser said that Nintendo has no plans to announce who’s taking the role, leaving it instead for fans to find out once they roll credits in Wonder.
This seemingly odd preference for extreme secrecy has led some to suspect that Martinet and Nintendo had some kind of falling out. That theory was bolstered a bit when Martinet said at a Texas convention that he didn’t know what a Mario ambassador was, either, suggesting that this new role was something he was unprepared for or perhaps forced into. But from Nintendo’s video, you wouldn’t get the sense anything was amiss. And while it’s sad that a voice many gamers have literally grown up hearing will no longer perform his iconic role, it does seem pretty sweet that he still gets to be Mario for fans all over the world — just in person, not in a game.