For over 25 years, Charles Martinet has provided all the “wahoos” and “mama-mias,” among other lines uttered by quite possibly the most influential mascot in video game history. His role as Super Mario’s voice dates back to a piece of edutainment software known as Mario’s FUNdamentals in 1995. Many of us were first exposed to his (now iconic) talent in the legendary Super Mario 64. The game paved the way for platformers to make their way into the third dimension and solidified Martinet as the voice most commonly associated with the character. With the Super Mario movie from Illumination Studios on the horizon, you would think Martinet would be closely involved. Considering just how synonymous he is with the character, it would be common sense at this point…right?
Neither Illumination nor Nintendo has reached out to him regarding the film at the time of this writing. I wish I could tell you that this was some crazy, incredibly early April fool’s joke- but it’s not.
As reported by NintendoLife, Martinet had this to say on the Super Mario movie, which is set to hit the big screen as soon as next year.
“Well it sounds like a marvellous thing, it sounds like great fun and if they invite me to play (Super Mario), I’ll go in and play with great joy and happiness.”
Even though Nintendo’s business decisions have been controversial for the past few console generations, this is a tough pill to swallow. Although it’s entirely possible that casting decisions just have not been made yet (somehow), it’s still somewhat concerning. Personally, that concern is even more significant when taking into consideration that Hollywood has opted for celebs over original voice talent for video game-to-movie adaptations. After all, Ryan Reynolds wound up as the voice of Pikachu in Detective Pikachu as opposed to Ikue Otani, and Jack Black was recently cast as Claptrap in the upcoming Borderlands movie.
I do not doubt that Illumination will knock it out of the park with the art direction and storytelling. I (and many others- take a peek at the comments on Nintendolife’s story) can’t see anyone else pulling off Mario’s voice. Martinet and the late Lou Albano are the only two voices I can see myself associating with the iconic plumber. The latter passed away in 2009.
If Martinet doesn’t end up being involved, I believe one of two things will happen:
A-Mario will be mute for most of the film, just as he has been in the games save for grunts and concise lines. (I’m sure Nintendo has an archive chock full of Martinet’s voice samples they could send over)
B- They’re going to get a Hollywood icon to voice him
Fingers crossed that hunch A is correct, or that Martinet will be the voice of Mario, but as for now, all we can honestly do is wait and see.
What are your thoughts on this concerning bit of information? Is there any actor, major Hollywood celeb or otherwise, that you believe can pull off a believable Mario should Martinet be missing from the final credits?