Mario is back in Super Mario Bros. Wonder, but longtime fans don’t think the Italian plumber sounds like his old self. They’re now listening to a one-second clip of Mario saying “Wonder” over and over again to try and decipher if it still sounds like longtime series voice actor Charles Martinet.
Martinet has been doing all of Mario’s “wahoos” and “mama mias” for years now. His voice has been an integral part of the iconic character’s personality, so much so that some fans were aghast when it was revealed he wouldn’t voice Mario in the Super Mario Bros. Movie (though he did have a cameo). Now, Nintendo has revealed the first new Super Mario game in five years, and some fans think it doesn’t sound like Martinet anymore, at least in certain parts.
Update 8/21/2023 12:40 p.m. ET: Nintendo confirmed that Martinent was not involved in Mario Wonder, announcing on August 21 that the veteran voice actor is retiring from the role. “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,” the company wrote in a statement.
Original story follows.
Super Mario Bros. Wonder looks like a traditional 2D side-scrolling platformer with a few important twists, one of which is a new Wonder Flower that fills the world with trippy effects. When Mario grabs it, he says “wonder.” But does he say it how Martinet would say it? Some fans aren’t so sure:
Even Mario just grabbing a mushroom power-up and saying “ha-ha!” is throwing people off.
Martinet also does the voice of Wario, but some fans are also skeptical that he voiced the newest lines in WarioWare: Turn It! Here’s Mario’s rival saying “excellent”:
It seems like one of two things is going on here. Either Nintendo quietly and unceremoniously ditched one of the most popular voices behind one of the most popular characters in gaming, or it’s been so long since Martinet has had to record new lines that people just forgot what it was like to hear him say other stuff.
“Nintendo has been more or less recycling the same clips of Charles Martinet for years now,” tweeted DrAwesome_x. “It’s beyond hilarious that because we’re all so used to the same shit, when he finally does record new lines, people seriously think it’s a new guy entirely LMAO.” Another person suggested it was just Martinet getting older. “I don’t think they recast Charles Martinet here,” tweeted ilikprimus. “I love him but maybe, just maybe, he’s getting old and that’s why Mario sounds slightly off.”
Other fans came out of today’s Nintendo Direct unconvinced somethough truly foul was afoot. “The amount of people not speaking up about Charles Martinet’s absence, or catching these knockoff voices is very upsetting,” tweeted MZpaul. “His cameo sounded great in the movie and he’s still actively [voice acting]. He doesn’t deserve to be tossed aside as something so disposable, just real sad.”
There are a couple of other possibilities. Maybe Martinet was simply unavailable for the dates needed to record the handful of lines in the new games, or maybe he recorded them remotely and then sent the recordings via copper wire across the Pacific Ocean like a 1920s telegraph. It’s been months since Martinet tweeted anything new. Hopefully all will be revealed soon.
Martinet and Nintendo did not immediately respond to requests for comment.