‘The Super Mario Bros. Movie’ Has a Whole New Meaning in Light of Nintendo’s Recasting Announcement

The Super Mario Bros. Movie may have been a box office smash when it came to theaters earlier this year but the film now has a new meaning that was hidden in plain sight this whole time in light of a key casting change in the video game franchise.

Ever since Nintendo’s announcement of the video game Super Mario Bros. Wonder back in June, speculation has been rampant among fans that longtime voice actor Charles Martinet was replaced in the role of Mario due to the character sounding a bit different in the trailer. This turned out to be true when Nintendo of America announced Monday that Martinet was indeed stepping back from voice acting duties in the games, which have included the voices for Mario, Luigi, and Wario. Martinet himself re-posted the announcement on X (formerly Twitter) with the message: “My new Adventure begins! You are all Numba One in my heart! #woohoo !!!!!!!”

Nintendo clarified that Martinet will continue working with the company in “the brand-new role of Mario Ambassador” and will “travel the world sharing the joy of Mario and interacting with you all!” The Japanese video game giant also said Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto and Martinet will be posting “a special video message” together in the near future.

For The Super Mario Bros. Movie, Mario was played by Chris Pratt, who uses an American accent. However, we all understood this was just for the purpose of the film and that the casting change did not necessarily reflect how the character would be portrayed in games moving forward. After all, whoever does the voice in Super Mario Wonder clearly still has a faux-Italian accent, just like Martinet’s version. Because of this, Martinet’s cameos in the movie felt like cute Easter eggs at the time of its release rather than the older generation bestowing the newer generation with the mantle of Mario, per se.

However, what has changed since The Super Mario Bros. Movie‘s debut back in early April to today has retroactively changed the meaning of the film. Now that we know Martinet is indeed hanging up the denim overalls, the movie can be seen as a swan song to his version of the character. After all, Martinet plays Mario’s father in the movie, making it a kind of passing-of-the-torch role akin to Sean Connery in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Martinet also plays Giuseppe in the movie – a background character who does speak in an Italian accent in the classic Mario fashion while also sporting a mustache, red hat, and suspenders. The character, who is seen playing a Donkey Kong arcade game in the film, is clearly a nod to the older inception of Mario — back when he was known simply as “Jump Man” — from that first game in the franchise. He even takes the time to compliment Mario and Luigi (Charlie Day) on their excellent commercial for their plumbing business.

Perhaps Martinet’s retirement was actually in mind during the development of the film this whole time and we just didn’t know it. That would certainly explain why his cameos feel especially appropriate as a sendoff to a new generation, like Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky in Creed as a mentor for Michael B. Jordan’s Adonis.

You can currently watch The Super Mario Bros. Movie on Peacock and it is returning to theaters for National Cinema Day on August 27.

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