Paramount is ready to go big on the Sonic the Hedgehog universe! We haven’t even seen the theatrical release of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and already the studio has announced that another sequel and a Knuckles-based TV show are in the works. If these folks are ready to go the full (hedge)hog on this Sega gaming legend, then there’s going to be a need for a deep bench of stories. As luck would have it, I can think of seven games from the Sonic universe that could be adapted, ranging from fun-loving classics to some bad ideas with fantastic promise.
The Sonic Adventure Duology
For the setting of Station Square alone, the Sonic Adventure games should be considered for adapting into the overall universe. A hub that offers tons of adventure, and eventually a conflict with Sonic’s evil counterpart Shadow the Hedgehog, the setting offers so much potential. Also, since we now have Tails (voiced once again by Colleen O'Shaughnessey) as part of the Sonic the Hedgehog movies, his jungle base/airstrip would come in handy for future stories.
More importantly, the wide array of Sonic characters would be opened further when bringing in Sonic Adventure’s two games. Throughout this narrative, returning characters like Sonic’s “girlfriend” Amy Rose and Knuckles, as well as debuts of Big the Cat and E-102 Gamma, broaden out the cast of characters. Though this might need to be adapted further down the line, as Amy and the villainous Metal Sonic need to be introduced in another storyline, but we’ll discuss that later.
Shadow The Hedgehog
Let’s just get this one out of the way, as Shadow the Hedgehog’s name has already been invoked. Spinning off from the Sonic Adventure duology, Shadow’s a bit of an anti-hero that initially comes off as a full blown villain. While the game itself was watered down, redemption could be found in a darker more PG-13 approach that restores some of the edge removed from the game. It also lightens the load for another character with similar potential.
If there’s to be any experimental arm of the Sonic series, it would have to be through Shadow the Hedgehog’s adaptation. Through a darker story, some big swings can come from this exercise, especially with a character who, except for some appearances in later games, has largely been left to obscurity. The big catch is thanks to Knuckles’ story walking a similar path of heroic/anti-heroic ambiguity, there needs to be a clear division between that character and Shadow. Otherwise, it’ll be easy to lose both in the shuffle of the overall universe at hand.
Idris Elba’s Knuckles is clearly being sold as a breakout character in Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and why wouldn’t he be? The red echidna had the same trajectory when introduced in Sega’s Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and it even led to his own spinoff game, Knuckles Chaotix. Introducing a new batch of friends known as the Knothole Freedom Fighters, Knuckles played the heroic lead to this splinter group of Sega’s franchise.
Mayhem and merriment mix dangerously in a colorful theme park setting, and it’s the sort of thing that could make for a great limited series. Though continuity will need to be carefully considered, as the Archie Comics adaptation seems to provide details that the 32X game doesn’t. Knuckles’ solo adventures seem to branch out from this point, meaning that another very important story needs to happen before we can see that TV spinoff.
Sonic And Knuckles
To get to Knuckles Chaotix, you need to first go through Sonic and Knuckles. That’s just the way things work, at least that’s the story told by the Japanese game manual for Chaotix. It would still be a natural fit to have our two leads teaming up in the adaptation of the game which bears this name. Once Sonic and Knuckles establish themselves as heroes, Knuckles can go find the Knothole Freedom Fighters and Sonic can face other dangerous foes.
Admittedly, this seems to be the frontrunner for the storyline to be adapted into Sonic the Hedgehog 3; as this is the game that completes the arc started for these two former foes in the third Sega Genesis game. We might even see a Sonic the Hedgehog 2 cliffhanger where the fate of Knuckles’ home of Angel Island is uncertain, complete with further conflict between Sonic and Knuckles. More importantly, if the second movie is only going to feature one Chaos Emerald, this could be the installment where Sonic finally gets to go Super Sonic. Provided, of course, that the challenges previously preventing this plot point are solved in Sonic 2.
Just as multiple worlds exist in the world of Sonic the Hedgehog, time travel also exists as a story device that opens up all sorts of madness. Running through time and space due to the presence of Time Stones, Sonic CD sees our blue blur facing off against the evil Robotnik and his creations in the past, present and future. Admit it: once multiple universes become a concern in any fictional universe, the walls of time tend to be another issue waiting to be breached.
Perhaps the greatest contributions this game has to offer, besides time travel, are Robotnik’s nefarious creation, Metal Sonic, as well as Sonic’s biggest fan and “girlfriend” Amy Rose. If Sonic the Hedgehog 2 sees Sonic and Knuckles even remotely starting to become friends, you can almost bet that Metal Sonic will rise shortly after that friendship is forged. Come to think of it, that’d be the perfect mid-credits tease for the upcoming sequel to hang its hat on.
More time travel shenanigans can be had through an adaptation of Sonic Generations, which sees the fabric of spacetime warped once more. However, the unique angle that comes from this later generation game is the fact that Sonic the Hedgehog is able to come into contact with someone he knows rather well. Thanks to this story, the modern 3D version of Sonic gets to team up with his 2D side-scrolling self.
While this isn’t as much of an issue in the Sonic the Hedgehog cinematic universe, there’s a clever story to be told here. If the meta-humor that permeates the first 2020 film continues to be present through the sequels, there’s someone that the movie version of Sonic could absolutely team up with. That’s right, the finished Sonic the Hedgehog could team up with the original design of the cinematic creature that horrified the internet, in a play for redemption. Even better, James Marsden could team up with one of his alternate universe counterparts, pitting him against Chris Pratt or Paul Rudd, as both actors were once rumored to play the role of Tom Wachowski.
Redemption is a concept I’d like to leave everyone with as we wrap up this Sonic the Hedgehog cinematic universe road map. As you can see by the title, the extremely-panned Sonic Unleashed is on the block for a potential theatrical adaptation. I submit this game for two very important reasons: it’s another potential for improving a story that didn’t work so well the first time, and it also has a Werehog.
Even if you just play this as a straight comedy, Ben Schwartz’s Sonic turning into a Werehog at random has the potential for a lot of prime laughs. Plus, Werehog Sonic would presumably need a different voice to distinguish that character from our regular blue speedster. This is just another avenue to potentially rope Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson into the Sonic-verse, since the presidency isn’t happening and that fancasting as Knuckles is definitely off the table.
Since the canon of Sonic the Hedgehog games seems to be a loose suggestion rather than a 1:1 adaptation, ideas from the storylines above could be used to create a firm and exciting cinematic universe. Though that planning may seem a bit advanced, if Paramount is currently developing Sonic the Hedgehog 3 and a Knuckles series, these are the sorts of decisions that need to be made when advancing such efforts. For the rest of us, we’ll just have to wait until Sonic the Hedgehog 2 debuts on April 8th, as part of the upcoming movies that will potentially delight us in 2022.
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CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.