Sonic the Hedgehog is one of the most famous video game characters of all time, and he's finally getting the big screen treatment - though with a redesign. However, instead of releasing on Nov. 8 as scheduled, the film was delayed to February 14, 2020. One major thing is being reworked on: Sonic's design.
The first official look at Sonic's movie design was shown on a shadowed poster. Although some of it appeared accurate to the character, it was bashed by many fans. Things did not get better from here. The first Sonic the Hedgehog trailer premiered at the end of April to massive fan negativity and ridicule. As it stands, the trailer has almost 300,000 more dislikes than likes. A primary focus of the reception was on Sonic's design. Gone were the recognizable eyes and gloves. Instead, the design changed many of the aspects that made Sonic an icon. The idea, it seemed, was to make Sonic appear as a real-world animal, but it may have backfired.
Just a few days after the trailer launched, director Jeff Fowler announced the movie team would be redesigning Sonic because of fan feedback. Many fans were happy with the decision, and speculated the film could be delayed - especially because the VFX artists on Sonic the Hedgehog would have to work overtime on the redesign. Those predictions turned out to be accurate, because Fowler took to Twitter again and said the film would be delayed to February. He tweeted the announcement with a very intriguing image:
There are a couple of things to note here. First, we have to remember that a lot of the bashing of the new design was on how drastically different it was than the games. Now, looking at the image, you'll notice Sonic is sporting his classic white gloves. Secondly, you will note the Sonic logo under the new release date. It is a perfect replica of the logo from the games. However, the picture shows that Sonic's arms are still blue. In the core games, his arms are beige. But, the Sonic Boom redesign for Sonic does feature him with blue arms, and it works there.
While Fowler hasn't directly confirmed these changes outside this image, it does seem like the team at Paramount is making sure the design is more faithful to the games. Many are probably wondering why this wasn't the route to begin with. Sonic appearing more realistic isn't technically bad, but it becomes controversial when you differ greatly from the source material. Sonic Boom's redesign was also somewhat controversial, but it still retained the core aspects of the character. The film's redesign could be mixing Sonic Boom's with the core games' design, along with some aspects from the film's original design.
Movie companies may be worried that certain designs don't translate well to live-action. There is, of course, nothing wrong with putting a new spin on a design for a new audience. But, it's also important to remember that changing a beloved character so drastically is going to result in criticism. For many, the engagement for a film redesign comes from looking at something that is instantly recognizable, something retaining the features that make the character iconic. Hopefully that's the case with Sonic the Hedgehog.
- Sonic the Hedgehog (2020) release date: Feb 14, 2020