Nintendo of America recently announced that Charles Martinet would be hanging up his cap as the voice of Mario, a role he's occupied the goomba-stomping boots of since 1996. Nintendo of America announced the transition via a post on Twitter/X last month, revealing he'd be "moving into the brand-new role of Mario Ambassador."
Thanks to a report from Nintendoeverything, however, we now know that he's still finding out what that entails. Martinet spoke on the role during Galaxycon Austin 2023: "I am now a Mario Ambassador. I don’t know what that is yet. I’m not retired as it were, but I’m an ambassador. As we step forward into the future, we’ll all learn exactly what that is … I'm always an ambassador of Nintendo and Mario at all of these events, because I just cherish every moment of it."
The president of Nintendo of America, Doug Bowser, also spoke with IGN recently about the role: "Well, Charles has obviously been a voice actor with us for quite some time, and as we look for ways to keep Charles involved in Nintendo's business, we thought this was a very nice transition for him. And Charles is very excited about it … we look forward to having him continue to represent Nintendo and importantly the Mushroom Kingdom as we go forward."
It does feel like a vague title with an appropriately vague description. We can probably rule out the typical governmental duties of an ambassador, as the Mushroom Kingdom is not an officially recognized nation, and Mario isn't the head of state. If anything, that'd be Princess Peach. Still, as Martinet says above, it'll probably involve much of what he's already been doing—going to events, praising the gospel of Mario and his fun little wahoo's, and being an all-round ray of sunshine.
While Martinet's known for voicing Mario, Luigi, and Wario among others—he also has a beefy portfolio behind him from over 30 years of work in the industry. He's lent his talents to Skyrim as beloved dragon bro Paarthurnax, and I'm just now finding out he was in Jet Set Radio Future as Gouji Rokkaku—his chops are beyond question at this point.
I'm relieved that his reduction in Super Mario responsibilities doesn't mean he'll be retiring entirely, though. Hearing him talk about his favourite experiences from his career, it's clear he has a deep love of acting that won't be lets-a-going anywhere soon: "every time I'm [voice acting], it's been so much fun—being in the studio, working with people I love, having a great time, creativity and joy … to me, any time I'm in a studio is like a blessing in life."