The motion poster for Sonic the Hedgehog offers a small taste of Sonic's super-speed in the movie. While the Sonic character has been around for almost thirty years, he's only now making the jump to the big screen... not counting his cameos in the Wreck-It Ralph series, that is. Ben Schwartz of Parks & Rec and DuckTales fame is lending his voice to Sonic for the film, with James Marsden costarring as the small town cop-turned Sonic sidekick, Tom Wachowski. Meanwhile, Jim Carrey will step into the role of Sonic's arch-enemy, Dr. Robotnik, for the live-action and CGI hybrid.
While the Sonic the Hedgehog video games typically take place across a variety of worlds, the movie adaptation will unfold primarily on earth, according to the film's producers. Sonic, who has been described as a "juvenile delinquent" in the movie, will be very much out of his element when he makes his way to our planet, all while trying to stop Robotnik and whatever wicked plan he's set in motion this time. Now, fans are getting a sneak peek of what the character will look (and move) like in live-action.
IGN has the exclusive on the Sonic the Hedgehog motion poster, which you can check out below. The poster doesn't offer a clear look at Sonic's face, but it does reveal his outline and photorealistic blue fur. As the film's executive producer (and Deadpool director) Tim Miller explained to IGN:
“[Sonic's blue fur] was always Stage 1 of adapting it to what the real world is and what a real animal would be like. It would be weird and it would feel like he was running around nude if he was some sort of otter-like thing. It was always, for us, fur, and we never considered anything different. It’s part of what integrates him into the real world and makes him a real creature.”
Both the Sonic the Hedgehog movie and next year's Pokémon: Detective Pikachu are bringing video game characters who were distinctly 2D in their original forms to life as three-dimensional creatures. The changes to Pikachu's designs in the latter have already taken some getting used to for Pokémon fans, and Sonic's supporters will no doubt have to do the same once his movie look is fully revealed. Miller has already confirmed one such change in the form of Sonic's eye(s) - namely, he will clearly have two eyes at all times during the film. That's specifically a change from the original Sega Genesis games, where he often only seemed to have one eye as a result of the games' 2D perspective. As Miller explained:
"I don’t think SEGA was entirely happy with the eye decision, but these sorts of things you go, ‘It’s going to look weird if we don’t do this.’ But everything is a discussion, and that’s kind of the goal, which is to only change what’s necessary and stay true to the rest of it. He’s not going to feel like a Pixar character would because I don’t think that’s the right aesthetic to make it feel like part of our world.”
As for Sonic's speed: the motion poster offers an idea of how he will move in the film, but not much else. According to Miller, he, producer Neal Moritz, and Sonic the Hedgehog director Jeff Fowler developed a test video for Sonic's movement early in the project's development, and even had Schwartz do the voice work for their pitch (leading to him being cast in the actual role). Miller teased that Sonic's super-speed will be relatively grounded, explaining that "If you can do anything, nothing is special". He went on to reveal that Sonic's speed will evolve over the course of the story "because he can’t do everything at the beginning of the movie. It’s finding the visual language and figuring out how it’s going to evolve over time.”
All in all, it sounds like Miller and his team have put a good deal of thought and and consideration into how to bring Sonic to life in a live-action world. It also sounds like their movie will strike a playful tone that's similar to the Detective Pickachu trailer that released last month, which is similarly encouraging to hear. Who knows: after all these years and failed attempts, it may be Sonic the Hedgehog and Pokémon that finally break the video game movie "curse" in 2019.
- Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) release date: Feb 14, 2020