Sonic the Hedgehog runs incredibly fast, collects gold rings, and can spin into a ball of energy. He has been immensely popular since 1991 and has served decades as the mascot for video game publisher Sega. He has vanquished more foes than we can count, and now he is ready for his biggest challenge: Being the star of a movie.
Video game movies are more difficult to make than you might think. Films featuring classic gaming characters have always faced unique challenges. Old-school console games don't often have a lot of story to adapt. So filmmakers have to come up with plots that work as standalone movies, while also making sure that a character like Sonic still runs and spins. All of which is to say that the brass (or gold) ring of success has been out of reach for some video game movies.
Now, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG is racing to beat the video game movie curse. With a great filmmaking team and some excellent actors — not to mention a commitment to getting the character right which has taken the production in unexpected directions — SONIC looks like a whole new kind of video game adaptation. We can't wait to see the blue hero on screen. Here's everything we know about SONIC THE HEDGEHOG.
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG was once set to open in November of 2019. The poster above, for example, still has the November date. But something really interesting happened after the first SONIC trailer went online. After fans gave their input on the design for the title character, Paramount accepted the audience notes and agreed to rework the movie. So the SONIC THE HEDGEHOG release date was pushed back to February 14, 2020. There isn't a new poster yet, however. We expect to see one soon!
You can see the first SONIC trailer above, but keep in mind that it features the original Sonic character design, which caused fans to speak out about changes. On May 2, director Jeff Fowler tweeted "The message is loud and clear... you aren't happy with the design & you want changes. It's going to happen." That's a bold statement that we can't ever remember seeing from a filmmaker before. For Sonic fans, it was a blessing.
Because those changes take time, there haven't been any new promotional materials for the movie since April. We expect a new SONIC THE HEDGEHOG trailer, featuring the new Sonic design, any time now.
Interestingly enough, SONIC is produced by Tim Miller, who knows a thing or two about how fan demands can affect a movie. He created test footage for his film DEADPOOL, and when the footage was released online, the positive reaction helped convince Fox to make the movie. Miller is only producing this time, as he's working with first-time feature filmmaker Jeff Fowler whose 2004 short, GOPHER BROKE, was nominated for an Oscar. He also worked on Spike Jonze's ambitious film, WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE (Meanwhile, Tim Miller has been directing TERMINATOR: DARK FATE, but his animation and effects company, Blur Studio, is working on SONIC.)
In video games, Sonic's biggest enemy is one Dr. Robotnik, a mad scientist and inventor with delusions of grandeur. His grand plans to take over the world have been the narrative kickoff for many Sonic games. In the SONIC movie, Robotnik is played by the professionally manic Jim Carrey. The actor seems like a perfect choice, and his over the top energy is a highlight of all the SONIC movie footage seen so far.
With Carrey playing the villain and an ultra-fast moving furry animal hero like Sonic, it's probably smart to keep the story simple. In SONIC THE HEDGEHOG, small-town cop Tom Wachowski (James Marsden, above) encounters Sonic — and to the movie's credit, he seems as confused as we would be. The two of them end up battling Robotnik, and the stage is set for some explosive video game shenanigans that seem like a clever way of creating a narrative framework that allows Sonic to act like Sonic.
Once the new Sonic movie design is unveiled, the next big question will be how much like the video games this film will be. Sonic always had to grab gold rings to keep gameplay going. That's a mechanic that works for a game, but might be difficult to work into a film story. But with Carrey's exaggerated turn as Robotnik, and the suggestion that Sonic isn't actually from Earth, the filmmakers have plenty of options to work in a lot of video game inspiration — and to allow the fleet-footed blue hero to finally break the video game movie curse.
All images courtesy of Paramount Pictures.